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 like going to eat out because I like supporting local businesses.” –Female, 31, WA

Millennials are foodies, but brands might be missing the opportunity to target their plate obsessions. Only 11% of 18-29-year-olds feel like food advertising is aimed at them, according to a recent survey in the UK. If brands want to change that number, they’ll likely have to take a different approach: 47% of this age group uses social media for recipe inspiration (#foodporn) and they reportedly share pictures of food around three times a week. Ypulse’s own research has also found they are adventurous eaters, with 89% of 13-32-year-olds open to trying new foods. (Marketing Magazine)

Should students be learning while standing? Standing desks are becoming more common in the workplace, and now an elementary school in California is swapping out traditional desks for standing desks after the founders of San Francisco CrossFit discovered their own children were sitting for up to six hours a day. Studies have shown that using standing desks correlates with increases in both concentration and daily calories burned, and could dramatically help in the battle against childhood obesity. (Fast Company)

A new kind of hotel is attracting young consumers in droves by going minimalist and offering more affordable, interesting places to stay. These “select service” hotels are the fastest growing segment of the industry and big brands’ answer to Airbnb. The hotels accommodate Millennials’ travel preferences by cutting out amenities like room service, offering more social spaces, and incorporating local elements in food and design. (BuzzFeed)

Sometimes sex doesn’t sell. Abercrombie & Fitch has been known for pushing the boundaries of sexualized marketing, but have now announced that they’ll be stopping the use of shirtless models and sexy images on bags, in-store photos, and other marketing materials. The retailer will also be ending their policy to hire sales staff based on “body type or physical attractiveness.” The changes are a part of the brand’s focus on becoming more customer-friendly after falling out of favor with young consumers. (WSJ

The story of a 5-year-old’s transition from girl to boy has gone viral, sparking conversation around transgender children. The segment, “Jacob’s Journey,” has been viewed over 11 million times on the show’s Facebook page, and is a piece of NBCNightly News’ six part series examining how families raise transgender kids. Jacob Lemay was born female, but his family has embraced his male identification, saying, “He's a different person, he's becoming himself." (Business Insider)

By searching Ypulse.com, you can quickly find the Millennial and teen stats you need to get you up to speed on young consumers. Silver and Gold subscribers have access to thousands of insight articles, curated up-to-date Millennial news items, a live mobile and social Q&A network, and thousands of statistics of Millennials drawn from our monthly national survey of 13-32-year-olds. Your search can begin and end with us. (Ypulse)

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