The Safety Zone Generation

Playing It Safe: Gen Ys and the Caution Effect

The statement that Gen Ys grew up coddled and protected has been used so much by generational experts that it almost feels cliché saying it. But the less-discussed flip side to this over-protection incubation is that Millennials were raised in an environment of high anxiety that taught them from a very early age that there is always something around the corner that could hurt you or go wrong. After all, there was a reason that you couldn’t walk down the street to school by yourself; stranger danger was everywhere. They could very well be called Generation Amber Alert. Add to this early-age hyper-awareness of personal danger the fact that the media they have been surrounded by has essentially been a non-stop loop of terror and highly dramatized fear-mongering-for-ratings and it is understandable that Millennials tend to be an anxious bunch.

Then, when this group of high-risk guarded youth were just starting out on their own, the recession hit and they watched friends and family who had bet big on houses, stocks, and high-stakes careers lose everything. Put all together, you have the perfect equation for a generation with a healthy fear of risk taking. Today, this risk-averse mentality affects how they are living their lives in a major way, from delaying major life decisions to approaching their futures with extreme caution.

Never a generation of rebels (why break the rules when you’re friends with your parents and could break any law you wanted in video games), Millennials today are moving forward in their lives with extreme caution. This general fear of taking big leaps could help explain the fairly drastically delayed ages at which Millennials are choosing to get married and have children when compared to other generations. In some…

 
 

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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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