Scandal in the Age of Acceptance

This Monday, we took a look at how Millennial attitudes are shifting their views on just what can be deemed scandalous in The End Of Scandal As We Know It. We also told you that though they may be changing, scandals will not become extinct and that new issues that matter to Millennials will rise up to take the place of the traditionally taboo public behaviors. For this generation, scandals will be made up of those things that Millennials find socially unpalatable, like corporate discrimination and cover-ups. In this world, there is such a thing as bad PR — because while Millennials are quick to forgive personal missteps and brand product and marketing failures, publicly aired opinions that don’t fit into their worldview are scandal igniters. Here’s a look at some recent scandals that signify the shift:

 

1. A&F’s “Cool Kids” Comments

Abercrombie & Fitch has had a serious branding problem and PR scandal on their hands since comments that CEO Mike Jeffries made that the youth retailer does not produce plus-sized clothing because they “go after the cool kids” were publicized earlier this month. The comments incited a wave of anger and reactions from consumers online and off. Interestingly, the interview in which these comments were made is seven years old, a fact that is significant in a few ways. First, the public perception of what brands are responsible for, how they should act, and the plus-sized clothing acceptance movement has changed significantly in that time. Second, Millennials have aged up and become more economically and culturally influential since 2007. Finally, the internet means that everything a brand puts out into the public can affect their reputation—even if years have past since the gaffe. Millennials, a generation that has been taught that acceptance is the…

 
 

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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “A wedding trend I have noticed is not having a photographer, and just having friends take all the pictures.”—Female, 18, CO

For Millennials, buying coffee is “an emotional experience.” A recent study by custom coffee roaster S&D Coffee & Tea also found that for 18-34-year-olds sustainability can elevate that experience. Though only 22% of Millennials say they know what “sustainability” means when it comes to coffee, 45% said they think highly of coffee brands that sell sustainably sourced products, and 25% said they would go out of their way to get it. But coffee brands are warned not to just slap on a label: “Use of coffee terms as mere labels will render them powerless to sharp-eyed Millennials who are increasingly skeptical of unsupported language.” (MUNCHIES

The body positive movement has empowered teens to embrace the plus-size industry. Purchasing of plus-sized clothing by 13-17-year-girls has nearly doubled over the past four years as more options have been made available by brands, according to an NPD study. But popular plus-size blogger and designer Gabi Gregg says there is still room for the market to grow: “I’m always hunting for styles that are a bit more fashion-forward and trend-driven, but that encompass classic silhouettes. I cannot find them easily at this point.” Forever 21, ASOS, and Eloquii have all expanded to plus-size lines, and Target’s curvy collection Ava + Viv drove the retailer’s plus-size offerings by 30% in 2015.  (Teen Vogue

Millennials are leaving anti-wrinkle creams in the dust, and sending the beauty industry scrambling. The rise of selfies has motivated Millennials’ desire for immediate results from natural or clinical products, driving an increase in the cosmetics category by 13% for 2015. But prestige skin care, which includes products for fighting lines and wrinkles, only grew 3% in 2015, and is no longer appealing to the generation that is embracing a “a beauty-from-the-inside-out approach.” While their younger age is a factor, experts say there is also a shift in attitude, and the new generation is more likely to embrace “who they are”—including lines and gray hair. (WWD,POPSUGAR

Millennial dads are the future of retail, according to a recent report from Mintel. The stereotype that men dislike shopping has led brands to look past them and towards the coveted Millennial mom demographic. (Something we’ve warned against.) It turns out, however, that young dads enjoy shopping with their children. About eight out of 10 Millennial dads surveyed said they prefer to shop with their kids, and 74% said going shopping is an opportunity to bond. They also see it as a chance to pass along lessons to their children: 74% said their kids know the value of a dollar. (Business Insider

MIT students have created a robot chef. Spyce Kitchen, a fully automated restaurant that cooks and prepares food in under five minutes, has won a food technology contest and is currently in place at MIT’s dining hall. The robotic system can run on its own—other than needing ingredients to be restocked by humans—and is able to measure ingredients, monitor food temperature, cook the ingredients, and then serve the meal in a bowl.  Students can order meals like mac and cheese, stir-fry, and jambalaya, via touchscreen or mobile app. (Eater)

Quote of the Day: “There's been a resurgence in the home cook, and that's been my biggest interest. There's increasing amounts of high-quality, interesting produce and recipes to use.”—Male, 29 ,NC

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