This Is One of The Top Things That Brands Can Do to Win Over Young Consumers

To reach young consumers, some brands are taking a stand and aligning themselves with progressive causes. But how much do woke and diverse ads actually appeal to Gen Z and Millennials?

When it comes to reaching young consumers, brands don’t have it easy these days. While we’ve said it before, it bears repeating: Millennials and Gen Z are more sensitive to ads now than ever—and are exceedingly adept at ignoring them. A recent study from the McCarthy Group found that 84% of Millennials say they don’t like traditional marketing and 69% of Gen Z already avoid ads, according to Millward Brown. YPulse keeps tabs on the types of ads that young consumers avoid, and we've found that nearly half of 13-36-year-olds use an ad blocker. But more than simply not wanting to see ads, Millennials and Gen Z expect ads to reflect a brand’s values—and those values had better align with their own. As we told you in our trend From Causes to Crises, young consumers are living in a post-woke world, and when brands wake up with them, they can win the difficult-to-obtain loyalty of Millennials and Gen Z. But it can be a tricky marketing path to take. Many brands who align themselves with a progressive cause with the hope of getting young consumers’ attention can also find themselves in the middle of online backlash. Just look at Nike’s controversial Kaepernick campaign or Gillette’s The Best Men Can Be” spot—both ads stirred up ire, even as they succeeded at further reeling in their core demographic. And while the Nike spot was generally heralded as a success, some accused Gillette of trying too hard to appear “woke.”

Of course, brands can try a little too hard to appeal to young consumers’ social sensibilities, which can be worse than not trying at all. Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner marketing miss, for example,…


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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “I think we’re already seeing alcohol lose its health halo. Next, the assumption that alcohol is essential to a good, sophisticated life will fade.”—Joy Manning, Deputy Editor, Edible Communities (Medium)

“The doofus dad” TV stereotype is being remade for role-resisting Millennial parents. Inept at care-taking and almost everything else, the tired stereotype is saying its last “D’Oh!” as The Simpson’s Homer Simpson and Peppa Pig’s Daddy Pig get replaced with a new wave of capable fathers like Bluey’s Bandit. The switch could have a real impact on the way kids understand family life, with one research fellow explaining, “The media reflects reality and also constructs reality.” (SMH)

Apple's new subscription gaming service Arcade will cannibalize its own App Store downloads—and that’s a good thing. Downloads in the App Store are on the decline, despite mobile gaming maintaining popularity and raking in revenue. If Apple can turn Arcade into young gamers’ go-to for mobile play, they’ll be poised for success that could outstrip even Apple TV and Apple Music. (The Motley Fool)

Gen Z music artists are “post-genre.” Mixing several influences into one song has become a way for rising artists to set themselves apart, and thanks to self-upload services like SoundCloud, they don’t need music industry exec’s approval. Meanwhile, the Genreless Generation can curate blended playlists via Spotify to fit moods and occasions rather than “rock” or “pop” and are streaming has also globalized their content consumption, so U.S. genres are no longer a limit. (Vice)

Carl’s Jr. has a CBD-infused burger that costs exactly $4.20. The chain restaurant is giving fast food a Cannabis Infusion, but only at one Denver, Colorado location, and only for one day. The Rocky Mountain High Cheese Burger Delight packs 5 mg of the chemical that won’t get you high. CBD is the trendy ingredient du jour, with 57% of 18-36-year-olds telling us they’re interested in trying it, and the chemical has made its way into everything from lotion to La Croix-like beverages. (LAT)

Axe is challenging masculinity with “bathsculinity.” The brand has been blurring gender lines for the Genreless Generation for years now, and their latest series of YouTube spots is showing that men can take baths, too. They’ve enlisted comedian Lil Rel Howery, who takes bubble baths surrounded by candles in the humorous videos. And they couldn’t be more on-trend: bath time is seeing a surge as a salve for Millennial anxiety. (Marketing Dive)

Quote of the Day: “I think for a cohesive strategy and for really helping to build awareness as well as grow the market size for new things, there's definitely digital and social media. But also, there has to be this in-real-life element.”—Alicia Yoon, Founder, Peach & Lily (YPulse)

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