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: The emoji I most send is 100, because I'm 100% real.”—Male, 15, TX

Brands are now #adulting in an effort to relate to Millennials. In 2014, our Chasing Neverland trend reported Millennials’ desire to escape grownup responsibilities and indulge their inner-kid. Since then #adulting, which comically references the so-called adult struggles like paying rent or “showering beforenoon,” has blown-up online, getting mentioned 642,000 times just last year. Now brands are joining on the trend, tweeting out #adulting tips and jokes—but beware of adopting Millennial-speak. According to one social media expert, “if a brand can legitimately talk like a millennial or even a teenager, they can get away with using #adulting. Otherwise, it comes up as fake.” (Digiday

Fox’s Empire Snapchat lens not only garnered 61 million views, it also upped brand awareness for the series. Snapchat has officially released a few stats on their sponsored content in an effort to bring more marketers onto its platform, and reports that the Empire lens ramped up brand awareness by 16 points and increased tune-in intent by 8% when it ran in March. The lens, which “overlaid a graphic of a pair of headphones and sunglasses over Snapchat users' faces with a microphone that they could pretend to sing into,” was played 33 million times and used for an average of 20 seconds before snapping. (Adweek

Millennials may be the key to redefining beauty standards in the fashion industry. Despite criticism, fashion has been slow to diversify, and 80% of models booked for the Fall 2015 season were white. Tony King, a CEO of an advertising agency that works with luxury brands, believes the way Millennials consume content can spark change: “There used to be all these layers between what brands put out and what the consumer saw. Now with the rise of social media and the accessibility of platforms like Snapchat you see a true authentic voice.” While young consumers “are totally clued into a diverse voice,” many brands haven’t recognized their preferences. (Forbes

Millennials without college degrees could be “stuck renting for a long time.” New research is revealing significant hurdles for 18-34-year-olds without diplomas: college graduates without student debt will need on average five years of additional savings to afford a down payment for a starter home, those with student loans will need 10 years, and those who haven’t graduated college will need 15.5 years. Lower incomes are one of the main drivers for the trend, but Millennials without college diplomas are also less likely to get financial assistance from friends and family. (Wall Street Journal

Virtual reality is “inventing a new way to tell a story." A 360-degree app that tells the story of Cirque du Soleil's traveling Kurios show, has been referenced as evidence of how VR is poised to become a revolutionary tool for storytelling. The app puts users “in the center of the action,” spotlighting how the technology could be the “closest to teleportation we will ever have in our lifetime." Experts also claim that consumers will “actually create the greatest amount of [virtual] content for themselves and their friends,” because of VR’s power to let users relive important experiences like birthdays and weddings. (Recode

Quote of the Day: “I can’t live without my desktop computer because it can replace most of the other devices (media streaming, music playing, getting directions, staying in contact with friends, gaming...).”—Female, 25, SC

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