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 want to work for myself so that I can have more flexibility and be my own boss. I have an online business.”
—Female, 16, FL

Fast fashion is only getting faster as Asos & Boohoo outpace industry front-runners, Zara and H&M, moving clothes from concept to sales floor in less than four weeks. These up and comers’ fast paced supply chains, coupled with millennial-minded tactics and strong social media presences, are driving a 30-35% expected sales growth for Asos and 50% for Boohoo. A major contributor to Boohoo’s profit margin is its army of celebrities, bloggers, and other influencers who promote its clothing across Instagram. Zara and H&M, meanwhile, saw slowing YOY sales growth; H&M has admitted its need to speed up and announced plans to change its supply chain accordingly. (QuartzThe Guardian)

A new Doritos bag will be loaded with the entire Guardians of the Galaxy 2 soundtrack, via a built-in cassette player. A limited number of the “Awesome Mix” soundtrack bags will be available on Amazon tomorrow, and influencers will be activated to take the bag to surprising locales and sing a song of their choice. Fans will also be invited to go to custom pop-up recording booths, record their track, and upload it to social media for a chance to win prizes. Thanks to social media posts and unboxing trends, packaging has the potential to become a spotlight stealer, and brands are thinking outside the box to make packaging as interesting as the product. (Creativity)

Apple wants to be Gen Z’s Starbucks. The brand is reimagining stores to encourage teen hang out sessions, rebranding the Genius Bar as the Genius Grove, and aptly adding some foliage to the space. The start of a series of educational sessions next month will also bring in photographers, artists, and musicians to teach lessons and in some cases, perform concerts. Apple’s head of retail says of the effort: “I’ll know we’ve done a really, really great job if the next generation, if Gen Z says, ‘Meet me at Apple. Did you see what’s going on at Apple today?’” Ypulse’s Experiencification trend explored the fact that more retailers are looking to turn stores into social spaces to attract young shoppers. (QuartzApple)

Coachella has become a profit powerhouse, with earnings of $94 million last year, and nearly half of all attendees are 18-34-years-old. Brands have been looking for any way to activate their spending power through the event—including influencer marketing, which reportedly earns an estimated $6.50 for every $1 spent. This year, American Express became the first official credit card of the prodigious festival, using influencers to spread their message on-site instead of signage and “overt product messaging.” One AMEX executive emphasizes, “You can’t deny the power and reach of influencers today.”(Forbes)

Mars’ new ad has gone viral with Gen Z, thanks to the power of online celebrities. The video, promoting popular U.K. candy bar Maltesers as it launches in the U.S, features social media and YouTube stars Caspar Lee, Andrew Huang, and Dytto and has earned almost 2.8 million views in the last few weeks. The campaign encourages positivity in the face of typical “teen crises” as the influencers are shown turning #FML moments into “Fun Maltesers Life” moments. The spot is part of a larger effort, which will include distribution across social media channels, custom content creation with BuzzFeed, and a tour featuring an experiential photo-op, game play zone, and 10 million free samples. (MediaPost)

Quote of the Day: “I don't drink on a typical night, but my choice when I do have a drink is often red wine.”

—Female, 34, FL

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