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: “It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without some family drama.” –Male, 23, MA

The Butterball Turkey Talk-Line has found their anthem, and it’s a Millennial hit. The brand has famously helped home cooks with their turkey efforts for 30 years, allowing anyone to call to get their bird questions answered. This year, the Butterball Twitter account is filled with references to Drake’s “Hotline Bling” and its viral video. Sample parody lyrics: "'You always call me on my landline, from the kitchen when you need my help." #TalkLineBling #HotlineBling’” (Digiday)

Though Black Friday mania is still high, there is a burgeoning backlash to the day, and according to Ypulse’s holiday shopping survey, 68% of 13-33-year-olds support companies that close their retail locations that day. E-tailer Everlane did shut down their site for two Black Fridays in protest of the commerce chaos, but this year the site will instead donate all its Black Friday profits to its factory workers to create a wellness program that includes free groceries, English lessons, and health care. The brand hopes to raise $100,000 in their Black Friday Fund. (Racked)

Millennials are growing up, and for many that means they’re starting to host their own Thanksgiving dinners—and they aren’t necessarily following every tradition. A Yahoo Food survey found that 44% of 18-34-year-olds say they’ll be serving ham instead of the traditional turkey, 10% are adding a meatless entrée to their feast, and Millennials are twice as a likely not to serve cranberry sauce, but more likely to deep fry or smoke their turkeys. (Washington Post)

It’s a struggle for a brand that only gets attention once a year, and Stove Top is ready for a stuffing revolution to reverse their fate. The brand has introduced a new campaign starring an “Artisanal Hipster Pilgrim,” a Millennial character who is out to convince everyone to eat stuffing all the time with lines like “I’m sorry, I just thought you might like to enjoy delicious things all the time instead of one day a year. My mistake.” The effort includes four comedic online videos and a hipster pilgrim Instagram. (Adweek)

Since more are hosting their own turkey day gatherings, Millennials are also spending more on Thanksgiving, with an Allrecipe survey reporting that 42% plan to spend more this year than they did in 2014. Vice president of consumer and brand strategy at Allrecipes explains, “’(Millennials) are more likely to be buying more artisan, local-crafted products. They pride themselves on being tastemakers and trendsetters.’” Millennials are also more likely to have multiple Thanksgiving dinners to attend…perhaps including a Friendsgiving or two. (Time)

Quote of the Day: “It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without my cousins' annoying kids running in front of the TV.” –Male, 30, MA

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