There is no such thing as ‘millennials’

Something from last week in AdAge:

In 2016, marketing and communications professionals will stop targeting millennials as one demographic and focus on reaching the younger consumers based on their passions, according to a study released today by Hotwire PR.


The agency’s seventh annual “Communications Trends Report,” which was based on crowdsourced data from 400 communicators across 22 countries, revealed that brands will look to engage consumers with age-agnostic content that emphasizes certain values.

Marketing people are generally very smart but nothing reveals their stupid side like their endlessly frustrating attempts to “appeal to millennials.”

They can’t do it because “millennials” doesn’t exist. Not in the way business executives want it to.

“Millennials” is an entire generation of young people that grew up with more options for everything than ever before: music, movies, websites, clothes, games, electronics. And yet media companies think they can capture at least a significant portion of that generation with basically anything that can easily be defined as really, really stupid.

The biggest failure, and thus best example, out there is the ABC News-Univision venture Fusion.

It’s supposed to be a news site “for millennials,” as if an entire generation enjoys certain types of news stories delivered in a certain type of way.

(The only people that habitual are the ones who, depressingly, must take their newspaper into the restroom; those aren’t millennials picking up newspapers.)

Most people reading this, especially millennials, have likely never heard of Fusion, even with a massive marketing campaign behind it and all the resources afforded it by its two parent companies.

Why? Here are some headlines appearing on Fusion’s front page right now:

  • “People fighting for gender-neutral toys just scored another victory”
  • “I’m confident about my hair thanks to my mom—and Instagram”
  • “Congressman Ted Lieu gets grilled by Hot Dog”

There’s also a video by Akilah Hughes, a comedian I think, wherein she talks about news and says former New York Times reporter Judith Miller “should shut the fuck up forever.”

Editors at Fusion might save time by simply handing their audience a turd and a vacuum because this shit sucks.

A lot of people think BuzzFeed, the mindless but sometimes entertaining website, nailed it among millennials. Look at their traffic and how much young people share their intentionally dumb lists!

BuzzFeed has succeeded among young people but also older people because they make content that’s easy to pass around and look at. (“Look at,” not “read” because BuzzFeed is almost entirely pictures and moving images, not unlike a child’s See ‘n Say.)

If companies are abandoning their pursuit of millennials, it’s a good thing. The world doesn’t need anymore Akilah Hugheses.


One comment

  1. Lynne Quintana · December 21, 2015

    An honest account of “millenials” and marketing companies…an eye opener…Yes!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s