Category Archives: Millennials

Why Millennials Love How I Met Your Mother

After consistently being popular with millennials for all nine seasons, sitcom How I Met Your Mother ends tonight. On the surface, this show about a twentysomething friend group living in New York City seems unremarkable. Yet with 9.47 million fans per episode in season 1 and 9.02 million average in season 8, it has a consistency the New York Daily News calls “almost spooky”–the kind of success “that doesn’t happen on television”. CBS has already ordered a pilot for a stand-alone spin-off, How I Met Your Dad.

So, what is it about How I Met Your Mother that keeps people, millennials coming back for more another round?  It all boils down to our warped sense of optimism. Read on for more!

HIMYM cast

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Dodge Courts Millennial Car Buyers One Piece At a Time

Chrysler is gunning hard for millennial car buyers with their revamped 2013 Dodge Dart and their marketing campaign is a bullseye. With DodgeDartRegistry.com, Chrysler has created a new way for consumers to buy cars based on online crowdsourcing, or having donors pitch in online to raise money. Here’s how the folks at Wieden + Kennedy explain it in their 30 second commercial for the car giant:

While it’s not easy to market cars to a generation growing more apathetic towards them, the stakes are high for auto manufacturers. By 2025, millennials will account for 75% of vehicles purchased. That’s why it’s so exciting to see a company market to millennials the way we want to be marketed to.

Enter The Dodge Dart Registry. The Dodge Dart is one of Chrysler’s first compact sedans in seven years and, according to Forbes’ auto contributor Matthew De Paula, is “arguably the first good small car the company has made in two decades”. Yet, against a tough segment including brand heavyweights like Honda Civic, Dodge Dart sales have been disappointing. They needed to get on the radar and reach millennials. Here’s what they’re doing and why I love it.

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Millennials Are Defined by Access, Not Narcissism

Sorry TIME, I don’t buy it.

time_millennials_me_narcissism_coverCover Credit: Andrew B Myers for TIME. Read full article here (behind a $5 paywall).

Calling millennials the “Me Me Me Generation” is like writing a biography of Neil Armstrong called “The Nice Guy From Ohio”.  It may be true, but it misses the point. Neil Armstrong is remarkable because he landed on the moon. Millennials are special because we have access to more information, and therefore choices, than any other generation before us. That’s the trait that most defines our behavior and sets us apart from previous generations at our age. Not narcissism.

Call us the “Decisions Decisions Decisions” Generation Instead.

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Awkward is the New Cool for Millennials

While last year I wrote about how the Oscar’s didn’t market to me as a millennial (and why that was ok), this year completely resonated with me and tapped into a trope that I think is unique to millennials. It all started with this:

Jennifer-Lawrence-Trips-Oscars (1)

Jennifer Lawrence tripped on the way to accept her best actress award. What a way to start off a once-in-a-lifetime moment in front of a million viewers! Instead of letting mortification ruin her night, Jennifer Lawrence called her slip out in her speech by saying “You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell and that’s really embarrassing.” She then went on to completely charm everyone in her press conference and post-win interviews. She owned her awkwardness, and that ownership made her Oscar’s darling.

It’s not just Jennifer Lawrence–awkward is making a comeback. Don’t believe me? Check out this Google Trends Map of searches with the word “awkward”.

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*Letters represent news with “awkward” in the headline

If you’re trying to tap into the millennial market, awkward is the new cool–and understanding why isn’t something marketers can afford to miss.

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The Real Reason Millennials Aren’t Into Car Ownership

**Update: The content of  this post inspired a keynote presentation for Kain Automotive and was featured in The Los Angeles Times.**

I recently read in The New York Times that 46% of 18-24 year old drivers would choose Internet access over owning a car.

Since this statistic broke in March this year, more have followed. Today, 21-34 year olds only make up 27% of new vehicles sold in the US as opposed to 38% in 1985. Even teenagers aren’t feeling the love, with teen licenses falling by 28% between the years 1998 and 2008.

Everyone from The Atlantic to Time has reported on why exactly millennial car ownership is down. For a quick-and-dirty synopsis of the most popular theories, check out my friend Walter Frick’s bullet point list over at BostInno. While these articles are thorough, well-researched and certainly worth a read, they are missing a very important part of the picture.

As a twentysomething actually living car-free, let me tell you the real reason why millennials aren’t into car ownership….and it’s not the Great Recession.

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Generation Bookworm: Why Millennials Buy More Books Than Baby Boomers

Millennials spent more money than any other generation on books in 2011 according to the  2012 U.S. Book Consumer Demographics and Buying Behaviors Annual Review.**   This Christian Science Monitor article  reports that millennials knocked Baby Boomers off their long-held spot as top literary consumers.

See Grandma, I told you I can read something other than my cell phone!

But why the sudden shift in dynamic? The answer may be less straightforward than you think.

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The Dark Knight Rises and The Superhero Generation

Last Thursday night, I waited with my high school friends to see the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in my hometown of Knoxville, TN. I left the theater completely inspired by the movie and ready to write my next blog post about our generation’s relationship with superhero movies first thing next morning.

Then, the news of the tragic shootings broke.

Even though I am a Tennessee girl at heart, I was born in Aurora, CO. In another universe, that could have be me in Theater 8 with my high school buddies.

Writing this article without mentioning the shootings would be disrespectful and personally offensive. Yet, examining the relationship between millennials and superhero movies is more relevant now than ever. Allow me to honor the young victims, the majority of whom were under 30, by writing about millennials’ special relationship with superhero movies and sending out my prayers and condolences to all those affected by the shooting.

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What Patriotism Means to Millennials

I just spent a fantastic 4th of July vacation at two historic American cities: Washington DC and Boston. Between fireworks on the Charles river and a tour of the US Capitol, it got me thinking–what does patriotism mean to my generation?

Wearing ridiculous red, white and blue outfits obviously.

Since millennials will make up at least one-third of the eligible voter electorate in 2016 elections, it’s certainly a question worth asking. Continue reading

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Attention Nonprofits! Here’s How to Hook Generation Me With Social Media

Millennials volunteer at a higher rate than GenXers and Baby Boomers did at their age–82.9% college freshman participated in community service in high school.  This number is the silver lining from an otherwise gloomy portrait of my generation from the Journal of Social Psychology and PersonalityAside from our higher volunteer rates, millennials are more narcissistic, extrinsically motivated, aloof to social and environmental problems than the previous two generations.  As I reluctantly concluded with a thorough look at this study in the previous article, we are Generation Me. Our selflessly high community service rate? Most likely due to high school graduation requirements and boosting college applications.

For nonprofits, this grim picture masks real opportunity. More young people than ever are interacting with nonprofits–let’s figure out how to hook them! By applying findings from the Journal of Social Psychology and Personality (JSPP) study and The Millennial Impact Report (MIR), nonprofits can make the most of their millennial volunteers and donors–and hopefully turn the tide of Generation Me to Generation We. Continue reading

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Generation Me vs. We: How To Make Sense of Millennials’ Dual Personalities

Millennials get a mixed reputation. While some call us narcissistic and shallow, others are inspired by our connectedness and drive for social change. Are we all about ourselves or others?

The Huffington Post recently featured two opposing studies regarding millennial values that’ve left a few scratching heads. One article reported a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that deemed millennials as more self-centered and focused on extrinsic motivators, such as money and fame, than Baby Boomers or GenXers were at our age. Ouch. Yet, only a few months later, the same newspaper reported on another study that 75% of millennials donate financially to charity and 63% donate time–statistics that seem to negate our previous narcissistic image.

So, which is it: Generation Me or We?

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