August 27 Reading

For the purposes of this post, I chose to predominately focus on comScore whitepaper report on Next-Generation Strategies for Advertising to Millennials. The report indicated that Millennials are hard to reach through advertising, particularly on television. This is a result of the well-known idea that this generation prone to multi-tasking (as a result of social media, texting etc.) 

What the study did find, is that this group reacts better to digital advertising, and those that were more creative had higher success rates. I think a primary example of this is the success of companies like Apple among millennials. (Separate to the digital world, I think this has also led to the trend in more creative display advertising). Reportedly this is because it is harder to grab the attention of millenials because of their highly active lifestyles, so it takes more creative and differentiated ads to get them to pay attention.  

The study continued to state that although it is harder to get millenials to focus on ads, when they do, they become more highly engaged. Personally I find this to be best shown in the success of YouTube. While it is not always specifically advertising related, we can clearly see the impact of something going “viral” in today’s world. After all, that’s why we’ve all seen a thousand different takes on Call Me Maybe

Some questions that arose for me after reading this:

1. Does the need for constant interaction (aka social media) arise from the “active lifestyle” that helicopter parents engraved in us?

2. Do millennials respond less well to television advertising simply because they are not watching television, or are tv ads truly less effective on that generation?

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4 Responses to August 27 Reading

  1. alanyskpl says:

    I think millennials do watch less television on the actual platform. I know I am guilty of watching tv shows online now a days and most times I don’t see the tv ads that are played. However, I do see ads on YouTube all the time because I am forced to sit through them. Perhaps this is the interaction it takes for our generation to pay attention. Its funny you mention Call Me Maybe because viral videos really do spiral uncontrollably, even when its in a language people don’t even understand. Recently, there was a Korean singer that launched a music video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bZkp7q19f0, and it went viral here in the U.S. in a few hours and now he’s famous to Asians and Americans alike. Truly the power of YouTube dominants all other platforms of media.

  2. I think the ads are truly less effective than in previous generations. After all, we are the first generation to grow up with more than 50 channels. Previous generations sat around the radio, then the 3 channels on TV, without any other distractions. The simple fact is, there’s more to distract us, and we’re used to it. You hit on it with the multitasking, but even when we were younger, we had picture in a picture to swap between channels, only catching the content.

    I think the best advertisers these days have an understanding with the audience. Both the audience and content creators know ads pay for the content, so the best way is to just acknowledge that its there, thank the audience member for participating, and move on. If you can make the advertising creative and its own part of the program, even better. A lot of shows do the “holy cow, look how awesome this subway is! I would totally be ok with being paid to eat one of these *looks directly at the camera to acknowledge product placement.*” And I think that that actually works pretty well. Its when it seems forced that there’s a problem.

  3. Interesting questions, Emily. Though I am the Gen-X parent of two Millennials and teacher of hundreds, I hope that I was not a “helicopter” parent, but I did mean to keep my children active and involved while they were growing up. Perhaps I’m guilty of setting their paces a little too fast, but I tried to balance that out by going on long hiking vacations to the mountains, playing sports in the backyard, and teaching them to enjoy occasionally sitting down with a good book. I didn’t intend this response to be a defense of Millennial parents; it has just made me stop and think for a minute.

    My original intent was to respond to question #2, which also made me think. Every year I try to teach my freshmen what it means to actually study. I act out a scene for them where I pretend to be a student telling my mother that I’m going in my room to study. I then shut the door, get out my study things, then check my Facebook page and post a status about studying, then turn on my music (to help me concentrate), then turn on the tv to see what’s happening on ESPN (but put in on mute so it doesn’t distract me from studying), and eventually start texting my friends to see if they’re studying and what they want to do when we’re not studying so hard). Finally they merge from their rooms hours later have studied nothing at all. When I ask how familiar this sounds, most of the kids put their hands up.

    Given the rise in popularity of original television shows on cable channels NOT the big four networks, I find it difficult to believe Millennials are not watching television. I think that with the inundation of digital diversions, the number of ads of any kind Millennials are exposed to has increased exponentially on a daily basis and tv advertising has a lot more competition from advertising in other media than ever before. It may be that odds have skyrocketed that digital ads get through more than tv because there are more digital ad and media.

  4. Amanda says:

    You’re certainly correct that Apple has had tremendous success among Millennials, but I’m not quite sure I follow as to why this is a strong example of digital advertising being so effective. Is there an ad or a campaign that you were thinking of? I definitely remember the iPod commercials with the silhouetted dancers and lively music. The first commercials, featuring tracks like “Hey Mama” by the Black-Eyed Peas and the Jason Nevins remix of “Rock Star” by N.E.R.D., and they were huge hits because they were so stylish and energetic. Mostly, though, I remember those ads being on television, rather than a digital medium. Was there something else you had in mind? I’m just curious because I’d love an example or two of particularly successful digital campaigns. Most of the great campaigns I can think of occupied television, either primarily or at first.

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