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: “The most important part of prom is the honor of being asked by an upperclassmen.”—Male, 15, NY

What does Clearasil know about teens? According to them, nothing. The teen-focused anti-acne brand is fessing up to being mystified by their target market in a series of comical ads with the tagline "We know your acne. We just don't know you." Expressing how their employees, or “the lame old people,” are “pathetically out of touch with youth culture,” a voiceover asks teens if they like pizza, skateboarding, cool cars, ripped jeans etc. The campaign was inspired when the brand posted memes that only made them look “out-of-touch.” They hope the ads will be “refreshing” to the generation that is “tired of brands pretending to know them.” (Adweek

We’ve noted that VR has the potential to impact many industries beyond gaming, and now eBay used the tech to launch the world’s first virtual reality department store. In partnership with Australian retailer Myer, they’ve created a virtual store app that allows users to browse and buy Myer products in a virtual space. Shoppers can hold their gaze at an item to choose it for their cart, while an algorithm tracks activity to adapt and display items that might be of interest to users. (Mashable

Millennials are embracing wines more than ever, and they aren’t “drinking their parent’s wine.” Twenty and thirtysomethings accounted for 42% of wine consumed in the U.S. last year. This new generation of drinkers is looking for “authenticity,” and to “discover new wines.” They use apps to learn more about their options, and are reportedly sharing their wine interest online: 50% of Millennials who drink wine talk about it on Facebook, and 30% share on other platforms. They’re not picky about their wine preferences, and are open to drinking red or white, and lately rosé, the market for which is rising 13% a year. (Forbes

Wattpad is proving that Millennials and teens “still crave longform content.” The story-sharing site reports that 45 million 13-34-year-olds spend 15 billion minutes on their platform reading and writing stories. According to the Wattpad, Millennials will read longform stories, as long as it’s mobile, interactive, and relatable. They experience 300,000 uploads daily and claim that users spend about 30 minutes on the site on average. Brands like Coca-Cola, GE, and Target have taken notice, creating sponsored reading lists, paying Wattpad’s top writers for content, and hosting writing contests. AT&T’s Hello Lab has YouTube influencer Grace Helbig co-writing a novel with her fans on the site. (Digiday

Long gone are the days of Game Boys. A recent study revealed that portable game consoles have fallen in popularity as kids get smartphones at a much younger ages than the generations before them. Today, the average age to get a first smartphone is 10.3 years old, and more than six out of ten kids also have access to the internet via laptop or tablet. The smartphone effect has pushed consoles to fourth place In popularity, behind tablets, phones, and DVDs. Nintendo has taken notice and made the smart move to join the mobile gaming space. (UbergizmoGamasutra

Quote of the Day: “A prom trend I’ve noticed is lots of cheesy cute ways of asking. Often involving food or a game/sport.”—Female, 16, WY

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