It’s also an age where I am safely considered a millennial, the generation who are apparently tech savvy, with shorter attention spans, motivated by experiences rather than tangible possessions and like to be spontaneous. However, it’s a term I fundamentally disagree with, not just because I don’t identify myself with some of the personality traits bandied about but also how much can you assume a 21-year-old has in common with someone approaching their mid 30s other than they like stuff, eat, breathe and occasionally sleep.
A few weeks ago, the news and my social media feed were flooded with the story about an upcoming boxing match between two guys called Logan Paul and KSI. Being an avid sport follower, the pride I take in my sporting knowledge was dented somewhat with the revelation that a “huge” boxing match was going on which I knew nothing about. My disappointment was compounded by the fact despite sounding like two characters from The X-Men, they were two heavyweights from the online / influencer celebrity arena. Instances like this, being offended that they decided to remake a classic like Ghostbusters that didn’t need to be remade, not owning a selfie stick and not having a snapchat account, highlights how utterly absurd grouping us “millennials” together is.
I used to be one of those people who would perform the standard eye roll whenever I heard “in my day we had to work harder because we didn’t have X, Y or Z to help us”, or chuckle when my parents struggled to turn on a computer. However, with technology developing at the rate it is, applying the “tech savvy” personality trait to just this group of people is short sighted. In my day (eye rolled permitted) I got excited when my phone had Snake 2 and held 20 SMS messages as opposed to 10, whereas now I see toddlers get confused when they touch a screen and are puzzled when it doesn’t move, whilst kids are being taught how to write computer code at school. Being tech savvy is just a sign of the times and has always been a trait we assign to younger people than ourselves.
It seems throughout this industry we’re always obsessed with the latest fad, being seen to be spotting the latest trends and ensuring us and our clients remain relevant and ahead of the curve. Being so focussed on millennials and marketing to them helps us quench this obsession, despite it being a complete waste of time. We live in an age where we have so much data on consumers and their behaviour it seems utterly bizarre we’re comfortable applying such a broad brush to our targeting. Age is of course a variable that needs to be considered, as is gender, occupation and your relationship status – but it should only be one piece of the puzzle we’re putting together.
The industry’s persistent focus on using the term millennials is sometimes reflected in how we execute campaign delivery. Whilst we should absolutely utilise and look at all the tools we have available to us to deliver the best work, it should never be at the expense of the idea otherwise we lurk into style over substance territory. Nothing has highlighted this more than the recent Brew Dog and Nike campaigns, where a simple, bold creative idea has turned so many heads and filled so many column inches without a Snapchat filter, augmented beer bottle or VR trainers in sight.
So, let’s drop the “M” word once and for all and stop making things harder for ourselves. Now, time for my afternoon nap.