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: “You want me to list every concert I’ve been to in the past year? Are you nuts? I've been to like 30 so far this year.”

—Male, 29, NY

Forget the ping pong tables and free food, Millennials really want a tech-smart workplace. A new study from Dell and Intel has revealed that 80% of 18-34-year-old workers prefer tech-forward perks like augmented/virtual reality than other low-tech perks at their workplace. They are so driven by digital capabilities that 42% say they wouldn’t hesitate to leave their jobs if the environment wasn’t up to par with what they consider “smart.” About three in five say they expect technology to become advanced enough to longer need face-to-face interactions in the future. (Parent Herald)

Branded content is not only a way to reach the ad-skipping generation, it’s also producing results. A recent Nielsen analysis found that branded content generates 21% more brand recall than a pre-roll ad, and is giving brands a boost in perception: affinity for branded content averages 28% in comparison to 18% for pre-roll, and purchase intent is 14% for branded content compared to 11% for pre-roll. The analysis also found that 40% of consumers say they “probably will” or “definitely will” view branded content on future TV/video episodes. (MediaPost

Victoria’s Secret is making a not-so-subtle play to attract Nike consumers to their brand with Victoria Sport, their new athleisure division. The brand has been slowly shifting its image from sexy to athletic to coincide with Millennials’ preference for “being fit [and] strong,” and buying clothes that reflect that. On the new line’s website, Victoria Secret calls out Nike with a quote from one of their Angels saying, “When I tried these, I threw out all my Nike bras." (Business Insider

“Brand love is alive and well with the Dew nation." After Mountain Dew asked fans to vote on which limited-edition flavor should become a permanent fixture in stores, Baja Blast or Pitch Black, a three-month long voting campaign inspired crazy stunts and drew in nearly 5.8 million votes. To encourage votes, the brand hosted an event inspired by ‘90s favorite GUTS Aggro Crag, and challenged fans on social media to bathe in or dye their hair the color of the beverage they wanted to win. Fans complied, and in the end Pitch Black was the ultimate winner with 50.5% of the votes. (Adweek

Millennial small business owners (SBOs) are “in it for the long haul.” A study from Wells Fargo revealed that 80% of 19-35-year-old SBOs plan to grow their business for many years and eventually pass them along to their children, and nearly 60% say that being passionate about their work is what drove them to start their business, compared to about half of older SBOs. Millennial SBOs are also more willing to put it all on the line: 67% are willing to take financial risks to get them there, while only 54% of older SBOs said the same. (Entrepreneur,The Street

“I like Beyoncé, because she's a force to be reckoned with in most aspects of her life. She shows how to be a strong female.”—Female, 26, CO

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