The Serious Faux Pas: Celebrities

This week, we’re delving into a cultural shift we’re calling The Serious Faux Pas: the tendency of Millennials to reject those who aren’t able, or willing, to make their flaws a part of their public persona; the modern misstep of celebrities, athletes, and brands who take themselves too seriously; and how idolizing perfect icons has become a thing of the past.

Because Millennials have grown up in the age of tabloid culture and the 24-hour news cycle, they are a generation with a heightened awareness of flaws, moments of weakness, and the fact that any public figure potentially has a scandal looming around the corner. They have begun rejecting any attempted “public displays of perfection” as inauthentic. Those individuals who take themselves too seriously, carefully guarding their “realness” behind a mask of flawlessness, may be doomed to be mocked and un-liked, while Millennials embrace self-effacing and imperfect personalities.

Perhaps the clearest example of the rejection of serious can be seen in current celebrity culture, where actresses, actors and musicians are no longer idolized for being faultless, but instead looked down on if they appear too calculated or unable to exude a “down-to-earth” personality. In this category, taking yourself too seriously comes in the form of not allowing the world to see you off-balance and spontaneously imperfect.

This year, a takedown of too-earnest actress Anne Hathaway has played out online in contrast to the complete adoration of self-effacing Jennifer Lawrence. In February, NYMag published an article entitled “Why Do Women Hate Anne Hathaway (But Love Jennifer Lawrence),” citing Lawrence’s frequent mentions of taking shots, eating junk food, and wearing Spanx on the red carpet as part of her appeal. Hathaway on the other hand, was said…

 
 

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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “I follow the news because I want to be aware of the world.” –Female, 15, OH

Today in “food chains trying to appeal to young consumers” news: TGI Fridays is trying to “woo Gen Y" with free burgers and pay-it-forward marketing. Customers who buy a burger will get a code they can use to share a free burger with a friend via social media or email. The digital campaign is designed to draw in Millennials, who Friday’s CEO notes need "something worthy of a conversation” to interest them. (MediaPost)

Native advertising is still controversial, and some believe truly misleading, but a recent study finds younger readers are “significantly less likely to feel deceived by native ads.” Twenty percent of 18-24-year-olds and 15% of 25-34-year-olds actually say they feel more positive about brands that have native ads. Growing up with branded content is likely influencing their more positive POV, but Ypulse research has also found that 82% say “everything I see or read I take with a grain of salt.” (Skyword)

Think Millennials are lazy? What if we told you they don’t even stop working when they’re on vacation? A new survey reports that 35% of Millennials say they work every day of their vacations, and feel less productive when they get back. It’s clear that entering the workplace at a time when they are always accessible via mobile has made an impact. (Time)

Minecraft is hugely popular with young consumers, its influence is growing, and the game is spawning a new kind of celebrity. The Minecon convention in London over July 4th weekend was the largest ever event for a single video game, selling 100,000 tickets. The convention featured Minecraft players with millions of followers, who signed autographs, took pictures with fans, and enjoyed a new era of fame. (Business Insider)

Young consumers might be more willing to give out their data online, but beware: they “will ditch brands” that use it to spam them. Millennials are reportedly 44% more likely than Xers and Boomers to fall into the “sensitive consumer” bracket, and research has found that if annoyed by marketing, 80% of Millennials will block cold callers, 84% will unsubscribe from emails or close accounts, and 82% will delete apps. (Marketing Magazine)

Quote of the Day: "I follow the news so I can make fun of the GOP presidential candidates..." -Male, 30, KN 

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