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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The Newsfeed

"I play [games] constantly until 4 in the morning. When I’m not on my game I’m checking my phone. And the whole time I’m doing all of that my desktop is on the internet.”—Male, 22, OH

Twitch is airing every episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, in celebration of the late Fred Rogers’ 90th birthday and the show’s 50th anniversary. The esports streaming service is expanding to nostalgia entertainment (which young viewers can’t get enough of), but they have a unique twist. The show will be available for co-viewing, with popular Twitch streamers chiming in from time to time. (Mashable)

Over one-third of 18-34-year-olds have stopped using a brand after hearing negative news about them, more than any other generation. Among the brands that most consumers said they gave up on were Wells Fargo, Target, Papa John’s, and Uber. However, Critical Mix and kNOW also found that young consumers are more willing to forgive a brand for bad press: While only 30% of consumers overall would use a brand again after a scandal, 41% of 25-34-year-olds would. (MediaPost)

Alamo Drafthouse is bringing back VHS—offering free rentals for Millennials that wax nostalgic for analog products. Their first store, Video Vortex, is opening in North Carolina. Not only are they “fostering a movie-loving community” with the extensive gratis collection of 75,000 titles, but they’re making money off of the added “beer, food, and merchandise.” No VHS player? No problem. They’re renting those as well. (BoingBoingEW)

Researchers were surprised to find Gen Z students were “relieved” to ditch their smartphones for a few weeks. Screen Education’s study of 62 12-16-year-olds found that 92% thought “it was beneficial” to disconnect from their smartphones while they were at camp. And even though 41% admitted they felt frustrated at times, 35% were able to cut down their use after camp and 17% convinced a friend to curb their time spent on smartphones, too. (PR Newswire)

Beauty brands love augmented reality, but an app can’t replace in-store experience. Not only did Ypulse found time and again that young consumers expect Experiencification and flock to marketing activations (like pop-ups), but brick-and-mortar locations build loyalty. People think they’re scamming Sephora when they re-do their makeup gratis, but that time-spent-in-store is really “turning the ‘scammers’ into buyers.” (Quartzy)

"I love my smart phone. It is just like my best friend [and] I just can't do without my smartphone...”—Male, 27, CA

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