Why Justin Timberlake Should Be Your Millennial Marketing Consultant

Just like the teenager who grows into themselves, realizing their likes, dislikes and personal form of expression – especially while experimenting in college – so too, did Justin Timberlake. The Millennial generation came of age alongside Justin Timberlake, after 2001 saw N Sync’s “Pop” become the bubble gum hit sensation that high schoolers couldn’t resist. With a few junior albums along the way, Justin Timberlake has officially released his most mature self; all grown up and ready to reinvent business models. Continuing to mirror the Millennial generation who has become hyper aware of their digital self, so has Justin Timberlake. He has embraced every social platform for his brand as he possibly can, and not just through the usual channels but through his signature gaming that has enabled him to become a cultural icon.

Last week, we reported that Justin Timberlake was back in the game with his new album 20/20. Instead of releasing it to iTunes right away, or mysteriously having it “illegally leaked online”, JT has embraced the best of both worlds by releasing the entire album for free on iTunes and Spotify one week before its official album release date (oddly enough, legend David Bowie did just the same a few weeks ago).  He was also featured on SNL last weekend, as an official addition to the “Five-Timers Club” honoring his past appearances, which have infiltrated Millennial pop culture humor. The SNL episode gave them the top-rated episode in 14 months; another angle to JT’s business-strategy savvyness. 

20/20 is the most mature of any album we’ve seen from Timberlake. With the launch of his first single from the album, Suit & Tie, Justin Timberlake is bringing the clearly-needed suave man back in an era of “geek chic”, beards (see IFC’s Whisker Wars) hooded sweatshirts…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“My work schedule can be hectic, so I snack on nuts, berries, or other non-deadly foods during any downtime.”

—Male, 32, KY

AwesomenessTV and fashion/beauty brands are coming together to make branded series for Gen Z. In the past, AwesomenessTV has worked with numerous brands to produce original content, including CoverGirl and Kohl’s. Now they’re planning a 24-part docu-series with Hollister called “This is Summer,” following teens’ high school journeys—while they’re clad in shoppable Hollister clothing of course. Our own Chief Content Officer explains that Ypulse has “found Gen Z to be fairly open to watching sponsored entertainment,” with 77% of 13-17-year-olds agreeing, "As long as the story is interesting, I don't mind that it is sponsored." (Glossy)

Fullscreen agrees that Gen Z is the generation that’s most receptive to branded content. Their survey found over half of Gen Z doesn’t mind even undisclosed branded content, and significantly more Gen Z teens than Millennials have engaged with social branded content (viewing photos, liking and sharing content and tagging friends) in the past six months. Influencer marketing wins out with the group, with over half of teens preferring influencer content to pre-roll, sponsored posts, banners, and traditional TV commercials. The sweet spot for advertisers may be branded video, especially when influencers are involved. (TubefilterAdweek)

Graduation spending is expected to reach a record $5.6 billion for the Class of 2017. Over half of the graduation gifts given will be cash, followed by greeting cards, gift cards, apparel, and electronic devices. Another trend for the year is more and more peers giving each other gifts, with a 6% lift year over year. Younger consumers will spend an average of $78.42 ,compared to 45-54-year-olds’ $119.84 and 65-and-over’s $112.34, and while greeting cards are also most popular, they’re also almost twice as likely to gift clothing. (ConsumerAffairs)

Instagram has the “most negative impact on young people’s mental wellbeing,” followed by Snapchat, according to a recent study. The image-centric platforms could “driv[e] feelings of inadequacy and anxiety,” and were rated the most poorly for their impacts on sleep, FOMO, and body image. Out of the top five most popular social media platforms, YouTube was the only one that earned a positive score. The silver lining? Some argue the evaluation is “blaming the medium for the message,” and social media/online communities are also Gen Z and Millennials’ top resource for learning about “mindfulness, meditation, and wellness,” according to Ypulse data. (The Guardian)

Lego is being called the “most powerful brand in the world,” beating out Google, Visa, and Nike. Brand Finance’s latest valuation report shows Lego’s brand value increased 68% over last year, looking at metrics like “familiarity, loyalty, promotion, marketing investment, staff satisfaction and corporate reputation.” At least some of the lift can be attributed to the successful movie franchise (The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie) and its strategic partnership with Star Wars.

(Business Insider)

“I kind of don't like the commercialization of fandom culture…However, creating licensed products is one way a brand could interact.”

—Male, 24, MO

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