Sneakers, Astrology, and Magazines: 3 Unexpected Marketing Trends To Know

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

Brands are betting big on some unexpected marketing approaches to get in front of young consumers (and it’s working)…

From scouting major events like SXSW and Beautycon keeping tabs on brand efforts (and scandals) each week, we’re always on the lookout for the marketing to know. As we’ve said before, young consumers are in the habit of tuning out traditional campaigns, so the more creative brands can get, the bigger the chance of getting their attention. (After all, three quarters tell us that brands rarely do something that surprises them.) Lately, we’ve seen brands jump into marketing on Fortnite, and others launch buzzy headline-making stunts involving CBD, AI influencers, and plant-based meat. But today, we’re looking at three marketing efforts that are standing out as genuine trends, as multiple brands jump into seriously unexpected territory to get Gen Z and Millennials’ attention:

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing1. Sneaker Collabs

Young consumers are obsessed with their sneaker brands, with sneakerheads and hypebeasts scouting for the latest drops, and news of exciting limited-edition lines making headlines. But we doubt many could have predicted just how hot sneaker collaborations from everyone from restaurant chains to major media brands would become—but here we are. Having an exclusive sneaker lab is major cultural currency for brands, and news of new, often surprising pairings seems to hit every week. Last year, Allbirds gave a minimalist nod to Shake Shack with bright green accents and a tiny burger on the tongue, while PUMA and Pepsi came together to create a retro-looking line, appealing to young consumers’ taste for nostalgia. Saucony and Dunkin’ Donuts created a pair of limited-edition sneakers adorned with sprinkles and the chain’s logo. It sold-out three days into pre-order, prompting them to


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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “Retail should be a facilitator for experience, rather than just selling product.”—Sharmandean Reid, Founder, Wah Nails London (YPulse)

Millennials seeking portable booze are cracking open canned wine. Even though the category still only accounts for less than 1% of the Millennial-favorite alcoholic beverages’ market, Nielsen reports it spiked 69% last year and continues to gain ground. An exec at Delicato Family Wines explains, “Millennials have grown up in a world where consuming wine outdoors—or any location outside of the traditional table—is more acceptable than generations past.” (Wine Spectator)

Summer camps are cropping up to teach kids how to become YouTubers. At I-D Tech Camps, Level Up, and Star Camps, kids can learn all about how to, as the latter puts it, “Become an Internet sensation.” They offer courses in how to create and post videos, from shooting clips to editing audio, and how to build their personal brand. But don’t worry, most are framing YouTubing as a hobby, not a career, and setting kids’ expectations accordingly. (WSJ)

A new bill could change the free-to-play profit model that’s made games like Fortnite top earners. Senators have proposed the official ban of “loot boxes,” or items that players can buy (and sometimes must buy) to win a video game, often gambling on what’s inside. Senator Ed Markey explains that “Inherently manipulative game features that take advantage of kids and turn play time into pay time should be out of bounds.” For some, this will eliminate a key revenue stream and open the door to review other in-game purchases.  (The Verge)

A social media overhaul upped Corn Nuts’ sales by 12%—with no paid support.The snack’s sales were stagnant before a new exec took over their Twitter, infusing it with the personable tone food brands have become known for (and sometimes notorious for). Since then, followers spiked from 650 to 21,000, and what they’re calling a “scrappy” strategy “absolutely translated to sales,” reporting that retail sales spiked 12% and Millennials’ repeat purchases rose the same percentage. (Marketing Dive)

The retail apocalypse continues, with 7,000 more stores closing their doors in 2019. CoStar Group estimates that the square footage of retail space closed has topped its own record each year since 2017, and this year they’re “predicting more of the same.” PayLess ShoeSource, Gymboree, Dressbarn, and Charlotte Russe lead the list of number stores planned to shutter this year, as retailers learn to scale down size and up Experiencification for young shoppers. (Business Insider

Quote of the Day: “It’s a really interesting time at the moment in catalog [music]…Sometimes, it’s a question of how we make something out of nothing.”—Tim Fraser-Harding, President, Global Catalogue, Recorded Music at Warner Music Group (Rolling Stone)

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