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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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “When a brand can adapt to all shoppers, it makes me trust them more.”

—Female, 24, MI

A startup is leveraging angry tweets to let brands find new consumers, and engineer some incredibly personalized marketing. Customer service listening tool SocialRank Realtime allows brands to view a dashboard of tweets from consumers “who might be fans of theirs in the future.” For example, after viewing a tweet from a potential consumer about a flight delay, an airport restaurant might send over a cup of coffee to their location. The tool touts its ability to let brands to create “real relationships” with consumers and has already signed on Juicy Couture and Aéropostale. (Business Insider)  

Teens are watching influencers on YouTube, but what are the teen influencers watching? According to an Influenster survey of 14-51-year-old “tastemaker consumers,” 93% of 14-18-year-old influencers are watching product reviews—compared to 86% of overall respondents. Haul videos came in next in popularity at 76% (24% more than overall), followed by unboxing videos at 71% (19% more than overall). Seven in ten teen influencers are also watching YouTube videos at least once a day, and 42% say they can watch between six to 15 per sitting. (eMarketer

Pokémon Go is still going. The revolutionary game, which attracted 500 million users in eight weeks last summer, has made an estimated $1 billion in the last seven months and reports “a very large level” of users. The second version of the game will soon be released, with 80 new monsters to catch—which is good news for brands. According to the CEO of Niantic Labs, the game will soon be integrating ads that fit in organically to the platform, and the game’s partnership with Starbucks on a Pokémon Go beverage “opened a lot of people’s eyes to start imagining other cool things that you can do.” (Adweek

Wattpad is the latest company getting into storytelling via text messages. The social publishing platform has launched mobile app Tap, where readers can discover “chat-style” stories across genres like horror, romance, drama and more. Although fiction app Hooked and kid-targeted Amazon Rapids takes a similar approach, Tap is the only one that takes a “voyeuristic” angle, giving readers the feeling that they’re reading through someone else’s chat messages—a move that can appeal to teenagers and young adults. (TechCrunch

Nordstrom is going above and beyond the “typical department store” offerings to reach young consumers. Earlier this week, the retailer launched the Lab—an incubator venture that showcases indie, new designers with “completely different audiences, messages, and points of view.” Each season will bring a new crop of designers, and according to the retailer, new stories: “It's the full package — who is the designer, what is their story, what do they stand for, why are they doing what they are doing, who is it for. There’s an authenticity [in that].” (Racked

Quote of the Day: “For my engagement ring, I want a tattoo. No ring.”—Female, 30, AZ

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