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,…

 
 

Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?


The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day:  Millennials have grown up in a world where consuming wine outdoors—or any location outside of the traditional table—is more acceptable than generations past.”—Kate McManus, VP of Marketing, Delicato Family Wines (Wine Spectator)

Young consumers are “killing the shopping spree.” Whether they’re signing up for the growing number of clothing subscription services (Rent the Runway, Le Tote, Urban Outfitters, etc.), shopping second-hand, or just culling their closets—young shoppers are quitting fast fashion in droves. Some are inspired by Marie Kondo’s joy-sparking brand of minimalism, while others want to help the environment—and still others are just seeking a wide range of things to wear at a lower price. (Vice)

Airbnb is launching “adventures” for experience-seeking young travelers. The site that started with accommodations and moved into one-off “experiences” (like dinner parties) now offers multi-day excursions, complete with guides, gear, meals, and accommodations. The platform already features over 200 trips in 40 countries, including a tiger-tracking expedition in Kenya and a trek through the canyons of Oman. (Fast Company)

Tyson Foods is taking on the fake meat market with plant-based nuggets. The pea protein nuggets are the first in a line of “Raised & Rooted” products from Tyson Foods. The brand's CEO explains they’re catering to the “growing number of people open to flexible diets that include both meat and plant-based protein”—aka young flexitarians, not full-time vegans. But can a company known for its meat sell the idea that “this [trend] is about ‘and’—not ‘or’”? (The Verge)

Snapchatters can shop Levi’s new Pride Month jacket via selfie filter. The Shoppable feature is first enabled by scanning a QR code found at select stores or by getting a special Snapcode from a friend. Then, users can try on the special-edition trucker jacket via augmented reality, customizing it with one of two washes and a selection of six pins and patches. Once they complete the look, users can purchase the Pride Month Jacket—without ever leaving the app. (SJ)

Amazon’s new Echo Dot Kids Edition revamps the original. The new smart speakertakes many cues from the adult version’s second generation (it’s louder and rounder) but adds special features just for kids that go beyond a rainbow-striped color scheme. The device will come with a year of FreeTime Unlimited, a subscription service that includes popular Alexa skills like Pinkfong’s Baby Shark Adventures, as well as an enhanced parental control suite to address growing privacy concerns. (VarietyCNET)

Quote of the Day: “Young people still have an incredible interest in the Olympic Games…But the way they are consuming the Olympic Games—the type of content they are watching and the ways and the platforms on which they are watching—are fundamentally changing.”—Kit McConnell, Sports Director, International Olympic Committee (Bloomberg)

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies