Spring Breakers and the Gen Y Gender Journey

Today's post comes from General Manager, Jake Katz. 

We've been covering all things Spring Break lately. We interviewed MTV about how they’re turning Spring Break into Spring Fix, and our YAB member, Nathan, a Bahamian native, reported on how this American ritual is expressed in his hometown. Today we'll cover Spring Break in all it's glory with a review of the highly anticipated film, Spring Breakers, reminding you that what you think Spring Break is, isn't what you should expect from this film. 

 

Spring Break Y’all!

James Franco Spring BreakersBetween the Spring Break beach bikini clichés, Skrillex’s music, and the hilarity of Franco with cornrows, I don’t think we were quite sure what to make of Harmony Korine’s recent exploration of youth culture that is Spring Breakers. It piqued my curiosity enough to watch the trailer multiple times, pass around the link to friends, and then see it. If you haven’t, holy crap, go see it. It was amazing, and not in a cool ironic-because-it’s-so-ridiculous way. Spring Breakers is actually a 92-minute analysis of shifting gender roles and a captured moment in Millennial evolution. 

Without giving too much away, the joke is on us. The trailer is a bait and switch for anyone that went to see Spring Breakers for one-dimensional female eye candy. It’s entirely the opposite. Frankly, I think that was over people’s heads and the result has been a soft response. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 68%. While a ridiculous reel of former Disney stars partying may have gotten America in to theatres, one must contrast Spring Breakers with Korine’s previous film, Kids circa 1995. Side by side, the two are a crystal clear comparison between Generation X and Y.

Spring Breakers is so neon drenched it's nearly a digital music video, and it's no coincidence its characters are college…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“As a graphic designer, without the arts being available to me in school I would have been lost as a child and where to take my career path. The fact that schools are cutting art programs is heartbreaking.”—Female, 24, NJ

Applebee’s is putting down the sriracha and giving up on trying to appeal to Millennials. The brand has decided their newer menu items—like a “triple pork bonanza” sandwich—and attempt at a “modern bar and grill” reinvention has “alienate[d]” Boomers and Gen Xers. They’re shutting down more than 130 restaurants and bringing back initiatives from before their attempted “pendulum swing towards millennials,” all-you-can-eat specials and 2-for-$20 deals. Other brands are creating new spin off chains to appeal to fast-casual lovingMillennials, that “[lack] the associated baggage of the old.” (Inc, NPR)

Adults-only ball pits, bouncy houses, and giant slides are sweeping the U.K. Millennials seeking a break from adulthood are flocking to places like Wacky World’s “massive bouncy-castle obstacle course,” which started out as a children’s event. The founder received so many requests that now every event has an 18-and-over slot, and has expanded to 19 cities. This “trend for arrested development activities” is caused by nostalgia, but the influx of marketing and branding leveraging the emotion could be popularizing these playgrounds for adults. (The Guardian)

Facebook is responding to the trend of asking for birthday charitable donations by integrating it right into the platform. Users in the U.S. can now trade in all the “HBD”s they get on Facebook for donations to the cause of their choice: well-wishers will be notified of the birthday along with the selected non-profit, and get the chance to donate. Facebook will ask users which charity they wish to dedicate their day to two weeks in advance, allowing them to choose from 750,000 organizations. (TNW)

Appear Here is the Airbnb of pop-up shops, giving brands their perfect temporary store for the new era of retail. The company finds short term retail space, and has worked with big-name brands like Nike and Net-a-Porter to open “experimental activations” or “test new products.” As brick-and-mortar continues to suffer and long-term stores close, Appear Here says physical retail is still needed, but to “tell a story.” The pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. (Glossy)

Millennials & Gen Z are turning a profit online and on mobile by re-selling their retail. Thredup, Poshmark, and Depop are just a few of the most popular brands cashing in on the resale economy’s $18 billion market, and some shoppers say they are making $300 a week on the platforms. Some are also using social to sell, often in conjunction with apps or sites, including Snapchat, Facebook Groups, and Instagram. College students on a budget are reportedly especially drawn to resale, thanks to convenience, value, and access to luxury at a lower price. (FN)

“Adult means being entirely independent. I pay my own bills, make all decisions in my life, and feel very in control.”—Male, 20, NY

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