The Serious Faux Pas: Athletes

In today’s segment of our Serious Faux Pas series, we’re looking at the modern misstep of athletes who take themselves too seriously and how the age of the hyped up self-aggrandizing sports icon has ended.
 

Growing up, Xers (and older Millennials) had a transcendent sports icon to look up to: the great and powerful Michael Jordan. Jordan gave rise to the idea of the icon athlete as an endorser, and even recently was called “the endorsement king of all ages” by Forbes. Almost all of his endorsements celebrated his prowess as an athlete. At the height of his stardom, kids across America were inundated with the call to “be like Mike” thanks to his Gatorade commercials. He was someone to aspire to become, but always maintained a safe distance from his fans and teammates—an untouchable hero. ESPN has called him “the archetype of the hero athlete and the living embodiment of success.” Jordan took himself seriously, was not humble, and didn’t mind coming off as arrogant and self-aggrandizing. In his Hall of Fame induction speech, he infamously ran through a list of all the individuals who had not believed in him or held him back in some way by name to emphasize how much he had succeeded despite them. 

But a serious shift has occurred since the age of Jordan and the athlete hero-on-a-pedestal. Millennials aren’t looking for hero athletes, but athletes who can joke, banter, and create irreverent material— even at their own expense. Sports stars today who commit the Serious Faux Pas risk having their fan bases turn on them. That lesson was exemplified in the aftermath of the publicity circus surrounding LeBron James' decision to join the Miami Heat. After he and his marketing team created a television special to announce "The Decision," fans vilified him, and it has taken years to rebuild his…

 
 

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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “I share my selfies by making it my profile picture.” —Female, 23, IL

It’s time to let go of the stereotype that men hate shopping: men are actually spending about $10 more than women on clothing and accessories each month, according to a new study. Menswear is expected to expand by 8.3% in the next year, 4.1% more than womenswear. Not surprisingly, Millennial guys are approaching their fashion and shopping differently, with males under 35-years-old more likely to purchase athletic and athleisure styles. Younger male consumers are also 27% more likely than those over 35-years-old to be influenced by sales staff. (The Muse)

Second screen marketing was one of the big trends of this Sunday’s big game, and Instagram reports that 38 million users engaged with Super Bowl content 155 million times that day. Social media vendor Engagement Labs looked at likes, comments, and clicks to see which brands were the event’s Insta-MVPs and declared Pokémon, Disney’s The Jungle Book,Squarespace, SoFi, and Acura the top five performers. Pokémon asked viewers to call out all the Pokémon references their ad in the Instagram comments, and The Jungle Bookposted a link to the full movie trailer on Instagram right after airing it on TV. (Adweek

Blend is a texting app “built for Gen Z,” with plans to use their popularity on college campuses to grow into competition for WhatsApp and iMessage. The app was created by two college drop-outs who secured $3 million in funding after the release of a controversial promotional video made the app go viral on the former students’ Michigan campus. Their biggest challenge will be retaining Millennials and teens in the crowded messaging space, and Blend is relying on their “snappy design” and focus on photos and video sharing to get them on top.
(San Francisco News

Millennials know you think they’re narcissistic—and they think so too. New research shows Millennials agree that they are more self-involved than older generations: 18-25-year-olds rated themselves a 61.4 (on a 100-point scale) for narcissism, and rated those 60 years or older at 38. However, older respondents “in particular piled on Millennials for their narcissism, while absolving their own age group,” and those 60 and older ranked Millennials as 65.3 on the narcissism scale, and put themselves at 26.5. Unsurprisingly, the study notes that Millennials don’t appreciate constantly being told they’re narcissistic. (Mental Floss

Millennials are looking for something to talk about on social media, and IfOnly is providing the exclusive experiences they can be proud to broadcast. When we first wrote about the site their target users were those with a lot more to spend, but over the past few months they’ve been adding “amazing but highly accessible” offerings—like playing with pandas at a zoo—for a broader audience, priced at $50-$125 per person. IfOnly believes that Millennials on social media will pave the way to their success: “they’re on social media channels, where it’s not fun to post about a belt but it is fun to [post a picture, saying], ‘Check me out backstage.’” (TechCrunch

Quote of the Day: “I am planning to give an iPhone 6s as a gift for this Valentine’s Day.”

—Male, 31, NY

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