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: “I really want to visit Tokyo, Japan to see the culture behind the growth of video games, and to eat the food.”—Male, 29, MA

Millennials are ruling music streaming when compared to Gen X and Boomers. A new survey by U.K. streaming service Electric Jukebox shows that 16% of 14-34-year-olds have active subscriptions, compared to 6% of 35-55-year-olds, and 3% of 55 and older. Although they have far more time and spending power, streaming services may currently be too complex for older consumers. In fact, 40% of young Gen X, 42% of old Gen X, and 49% of Boomers choose CDs and radio as the easier option over streaming, while almost half of 18-24-year-olds chose streaming over radio and CDs. (Music Ally

A mom of two has gone viral for her happy Chewbacca video, which has become Facebook Live’s most-watched clip ever. Last week, Candace Payne utilized the platform’s new live feature to show off her latest purchase from Kohl’s: a Star WarsChewbacca mask. Her enthusiasm and infectious laugh generated about 101 million views and got the retailer’s attention. Kohl’s teamed up with social agency Huge to deliver piles of Star Wars toys and $2,500 in Kohl’s gift cards to the micro-famous mom as thanks for her loyalty. (Adweek

In an effort to attract Millennial investors, Starbucks has issued a $500 million U.S. corporate bond for sustainable projects. The sustainability bond is the first for the coffee brand, and will go towards supporting programs for farmers in coffee-growing regions. Last year, Starbucks promised to plant up to one million trees for every coffee bag purchased, which drew in a new group of socially conscious investors. Their latest strategy will continue to strengthen their bond with 18-24-year-olds consumers, who account for 40% of the company’s sales. According to Accenture, Millennials will accumulate some $30 trillion from the generations before them, making them a target market for investors. (Fortune

What’s the secret to beauty box subscriptions’ success? Millennials. Services like Birchbox and GLOSSYBOX have resonated with curious young consumers who are looking for new beauty products and “love the idea of self-indulgence.” Subscription brands have attracted Millennials through social media social influencers. Vloggers’ “unboxing videos” pull in a substantial audience, with one such video receiving 100,000 views in a few days. Male-focused subscription boxes like Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club have also found success with Millennial men for their value and convenience. (Mic

The Great Recession may have caused financial instability, but it didn’t stop “foodie” culture. While dining-out expenditures dipped slightly between 2007 to 2008, they quickly rebounded in 2012, even though income levels had not. Although Millennials especially felt the effects of the recession, they have been linked to the “sustainability of the ‘foodie’ ideology.” To get through the financial crises, Millennials opted to consume experiences instead of expensive material goods like houses or cars. As a result, food has become part of the new status symbols and acts as a form of “social currency.” (Eater

Quote of the Day: “The most important part of prom is the honor of being asked by an upperclassmen.”—Male, 15, NY

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