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: “My favorite app is Snapchat, because it offers quick messaging with a time limit that ensures privacy while being highly entertaining.”—Female, 20, FL 

If you want to know what teens are doing online, don’t ask their parents. A survey by the National Cyber Security Alliance found that 60% of 13-17-year-olds have a secret online account they say their parents know nothing about, while only 27% of parents suspect their kids have one. This statistic will likely worry parents who are increasingly monitoring online behavior. About 67% of parents say they have a rule in place for kids to be open with them about any “sort of uncomfortable or scary incidents that occur online,” however only 32% of teens surveyed say that such a rule exists in their household. (CNET)

Millennials around the are not only passionate about global issues, but ready to take them on. A World Economic Forum survey found that seven in ten 18-35-year-olds see abundant opportunities for themselves and their peers to tackle global issues, and half believe they have decision making power in their home countries. When the WEF asked about the three most serious issues affecting the world today, Millennials had the same response as the year before: religious conflicts came in third with 33.8% of responses, large scale conflict and wars came in second with 38.5% of responses, and climate change and destruction of natural resources was the top response with 45.2% of respondents. (Business Insider)

Outlet malls are thriving, and it’s all thanks to men and thrifty Millennials. According to Cowen & Co.’s latest Consumer Tracker Survey, outlet visitation by 18-34-year-old men reached a new peak of 44% in July, most likely due to male preference for brand stores over department retailers. Overall Millennial visitation is also up: on average, 31% of 18-34-year-old women and 35% of 18-34-year-old men say they visited an outlet mall every month between December 2012 and July 2016. An analyst of NPD Group attributes the trend to frugal Millennials who would rather save their cash for experiences. (MarketWatch

Teenage girls with depression or anxiety “are less alone than ever.” The Department of Education has revealed that these mental illnesses are a slowly growing epidemic among teen girls in England: about one third report having depression or anxiety, a 10% increase over the last decade. Social media pressure, bullying, and unrealistic body expectations are all cited as factors, which have especially effected young girls all over the world. In America, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that teen girls are three times more likely to be depressed than their male counterparts. (Teen Vogue)

Instagram has made connecting with consumers even easier for brands. The platform’s new “contact” button allows users to call, text, or email brands through their profiles. According to a social media specialist, “social…is a brand’s first line of defense—both for reputation management and customer service,” and the new button eliminates the hassle of having to respond to each individual comment. Brands like Nordstrom, Delta, and Denny’s are already utilizing the new feature. (Digiday

Quote of the Day: “My favorite app is Pokémon Go, because it's kinda a big deal for those of us who've been dreaming about it for over a decade.”—Female, 21, NJ 

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