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 to keep updated about what’s happening in the world, but not out of obligation, to talk [about it with] someone else or for entertainment.” – Female, 25, MA

“Sexts, hugs, and rock ‘n roll.” That’s how BuzzFeed describes DigiTour, an 18-city bus tour bringing some of the most popular teens on social media to meet crowds of their screaming fans around the country this summer. Most of the digital celebrities involved don’t have traditional talent—but that doesn’t seem to matter. In 2014 the tour sold 120,000 tickets for 60 shows, and they are set to double that number this year. DigiTour could be the “clearest sign yet that the entertainment industry’s star-making apparatus is being turned upside down.” (A topic we explored in depth in our hot-off-the presses trend report.) (BuzzFeed)

As if that wasn’t evidence enough that young consumers are not like you…A recent poll on the American Dream revealed that Millennials’ views of success in America are not the same as older generations. Respondents under 30-year-olds were the most likely to say that having a job that paid well was crucial to attaining the American Dream (47%), and placed more importance on luxury items—travel and the latest technology—than other age groups (32%). (CNN Money)

Are you ready for some fireworks? Fourth of July spending is reportedly up, and 64.4% of consumers plan to celebrate the day. When we surveyed 13-32-year-olds about their plans, only 8% said they weren’t planning to celebrate. We also found that spending for Independence Day shows signs of increasing among Millennials and teens. In 2014 they estimated they would spend an average of $70.21—this year that number went up to $85.56. (MediaPost)

Watching and sharing video content is huge part of Millennials and teens’ online activity—and their mobile behavior. According to Ypulse’s February monthly survey, 50% of 13-32-year-olds say they watch videos on their phones once a day or more. So it makes sense that apps focused on viral video content are a growing category. Minute is a startup video app “for the ADD generation.” The platform finds the most viral parts of online video and turns them into short “Vine-like” clips. (TechCrunch)

Inclusion is becoming increasingly important to young consumers, and the Girl Scouts has made their stance on being an inclusive organization clear this week. The group returned a $100,000 donation after being told the money could not be used to support transgendered girls. To make up the funds, they set up an IndieGogo campaign on Monday, and launched a #ForEVERYGirl campaign to get the message out. The crowdfunding page has raised over $300,000 in three days. (Fast Company)

Want to know more about how young consumers will be spending for the holiday? Our 4th of July Infographic Snapshot has been opened to all our readers—you can click through to see a break down of the red, white, blue, and green in our coverage of what Millennials & teens are buying, and doing, for Independence Day this year. 83% of 14-32-year-olds say they are proud to be an American, and they’re planning to celebrate. Happy 4th everyone! 

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