Lena Dunham Re-shapes the Meaning of Mainstream

Today's post comes from Ypulse General Manager Jake Katz.

Lena Dunham Re-shapes the Meaning of Mainstream

GirlsIn 2010, The New York Times published an article called “What Is It About 20-Somethings?” This identification of the “emerging adulthood” Millennial phenomenon serves as the creative seed from which HBO’s “Girls” has grown.

“Girls” has sparked as much discussion in the marketing/media community as it has among its viewers. Thematically, the show brings to life many Millennial concepts. In particular, the growing complexities of dating (it’s no coincidence an article titled "The End of Courtship?" ran the same week as “Girls’” premiere). Additionally, the show’s exploration of navigating one’s post-college path to success mirrors much of what our research here at Ypulse shows about how Millennials are realizing their dreams in a post-recession economy.

While much of the discussion around the show has been quick to point out its misses (a lack of diversity in the cast, arguably skin deep analyses of life from Dunham), stepping back and examining it from a few levels higher brings up a more important discussion. The media industry should quickly be decoding what it means for our perceptions, visions, and assumptions of “mainstream America”, that a show set in the most notoriously niche and infamously marketing trapdoor of Williamsburg is as relatable to 20-somethings as the more obvious “The Carrie Diaries.”

The elephant in the room has now been recognized. For every big brand that has learned to assess new ideas, talent, trends, and marketing through a lens of mainstream versus leading edge, could this be the moment we realize the gap between leading edge and mainstream has nearly dissolved? Maybe.

Let’s think about this for a moment. We know this generation of youth…

 
 

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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “Adventure Time is the show that best represents my generation because we like the nostalgic aspect of watching cartoons but we also like off-the-wall plots.” –Male, 21, MI 

Snapchat is ready to take over another space: teens’ faces. The app is introducing Spectacles, a new wearable that combines sunglasses and a camera, allowing wearers to capture video of their point of view and share it immediately to their Snapchat Memories. Though comparisons to Google Glass are inevitable, these specs come in bright colors and cool designs, making them more aesthetically appealing—a vital element for wearables’ success. While some might be skeptical of Spectacles, if they are as popular as Snapchat’s other efforts, “the youth will have made wearables cool in the blink of an eye.” (The Next Web)

Campaigns encouraging young consumers to vote are a hallmark of election season—but in 2012, 62% of young Americans reportedly didn’t cast a vote. So this year Rock the Vote has partnered with Doritos to spread the voting message in a unique way. The brand created a limited edition pack of “no-choice” chips with no flavor, no crunch, and boring packaging to show that not voting allows someone else to choose for you, and you might not get what you want. For a spot promoting voting registration, Doritos created a vending machine that dispensed the flavorless chips to any not registered to vote. (Creativity Online)

According to Alton Brown, Millennials have forever changed food entertainment. Ten years ago, cooking shows were all about simple instruction, but the generation’s “preference for bolder, edgier programs” and cooking savvy has changed the content and expanded the “food media landscape” beyond the TV screen. Those Millennial foodies, who might have watched Brown’s “kid-friendly” Good Eats growing up or on Netflix, are the audience for his new web series, designed specifically for mobile. For these viewers, all content will be under five minutes, and “f it doesn’t work on a phone, [he’s] not going to do it.” (Business InsiderFast Company)

Cheetos is bringing their museum back for Halloween. The brand’s summer contest asking consumers to submit their uniquely shaped Cheetos for cash prizes was reportedly one of their most “successful digital engagement programs of all time,” generating over 100,000 stories and photos. Thanks to that success, the brand is rebooting the effort, asking fans to build a Cheetos Monster with the snacks for a chance to win $50K. Turning brands or products into an experience a major marketing trend to attract young consumers. (MediaPost)

Millennials might use more apps than older generations, but they’re also spending more time on their top ranked apps than anyone else. According to comScore data, there are 20 apps that 25% of 18-34-year-olds are using monthly, compared to just 15 among those over 35-years-old. But the top 10 apps among the group are receiving 50% of Millennials’ mobile time, indicating that while younger mobile users have a more diverse range of apps they’re using, their few favorites are still getting the majority of their attention. (comScore)

Quote of the Day: “Bojack Horseman was my favorite show last year because it was funny and real. Maybe too real, just beautiful.”–Male, 23, AZ

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