When Brands Try Too Hard to Connect with Millennials

These days, advertisers are spending 500% more on reaching Millennials than other demographics. That’s right – 500%. With this illusive demographic eating up so much of the world’s advertising dollars, there are bound to be a few mistakes here and there. And when mistakes are made while trying to reach a younger audience, the results are bound to be cringe-worthy.

As we’ve come to expect from Reddit, there’s a subreddit for that. Enter /r/FellowKids. According to the community description, this online community is, “a subreddit to showcase examples of advertisements and media that totally appeal to the radical youth of today. Cowabunga!” It’s dripping with sarcasm, but it paints a picture of this entertaining group.

Obviously, no brand wants to end up on this subreddit. So, how can you avoid this type of ridicule? In short, don’t try so hard. Millennials are pretty savvy; they know when they are being pandered to. For more insight, let’s take a look at some of the top posts and see where the brands went wrong.

What-A-Fail

What a Fail

This is a simple case of not understanding a meme. The image here is used for the meme called Confession Bear. According to KnowYourMeme – a leading source on meme origins – Confession Bear is supposed to be captioned with “confessions about taboo behaviors and controversial opinions that are often kept secret for fear of being ostracized.” Wanting Whatburger is not even a little bit taboo, especially here in Texas!

Domino’s is 4 Realz

4 Realz

The first sin is that it’s no longer cool 2 use numb3rs instead of l3tters. (See how annoying that is?) Secondly, it’s been at least 5 years since the last time someone said “4 realz” in a cool, unironic way. And finally, forcing emojis where they don’t belong is a big indicator that you’re trying too hard.

You can almost hear the pitch meeting. “Well, Millennials love emojis right? So, how can we fit that into our ordering?” The emojis here feel corporate and not at all authentic. If /r/FellowKids teaches you anything, let it be that authenticity is key to Millennials.

Mixing Memes

Mixing Memes

It’s unclear which company is at fault here, which is good for them. This super hip and totally rad shirt mixes two overused memes: Straight Outta Compton and Netflix & Chill. Both of these memes hit critical mass some time before the shirt was made.

Take it from the top comment on this post by redditor btr154, “This doesn’t even make sense. You can’t just mash things up.” Exactly, btr154, exactly.

Again, it all comes down to authenticity. If your savvy audience can practically hear the boardroom meeting about emojis, viral videos, and hashtags, you’ve gone too far. The last things Millennials want is to feel like a pawn in a corporate game.

For more totally groovy information and radical memes, make sure to follow Duncan/Day on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Laterz.

by Mackenzie Maxwell | posted | in Advertising & Marketing, Branding
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