Marketing to Millenials

billboard

I saw this billboard today and it really rubbed me the wrong way – it’s ridiculous. Maybe I’m missing something, but seeing it made me think “people just don’t understand.”

While I’m not a fan of sagging pants, how does sagging hurt anyone? It seems like this group is trying to create a correlation between wearing your pants low and a lack of self respect? I don’t see it. To me, this is an older generation trying to force their views/believes on a younger generation they do not understand.

As a millennial, here’s my advise (this is also part of what I wrote to the people who paid for the billboard):

Demanding conformity will never work, telling people (especially youth) not to do something will never work. Empower us, lift us up by the things we are doing right. Romanticize a positive life and those who are leading one. Tell us stories about them – stories are how we relate, stories are our language, stories are how our friends talk. Tell us stories and tell us good stories that make us say “wow,” that make us feel impressed. Tell us lot of stories. We hear many each day from our friends and from music, you have to create the opportunity for us to hear the positive ones. Parents can tell these stories in person, if your not a parent or friend, then help make positive, empowing stories available to our us. Available for our awareness to pick up. Use your billboard, a story can be one sentence that I can relate to. Perhaps, “so-and-so donates X to charity.” Romanticize. Pull, not push. Just as long as that so-and-so is someone I already respect, you’ve done good. It’s about taking things I already understand or respect and telling me something positive with them. It’s like co-branding. It’s like relationship marketing. It’s a trust network. Try it.

17 thoughts on “Marketing to Millenials”

  1. Sagging has been around since I was like 4. It’s not some new epidemic.

    The worst part is the rap song some Houston rapper made. Because we all know that all American kids listen to these days is that damn rap music (which just reminds me of the last scene in American Gangster, haha).

  2. Sagging has been around since I was like 4. It's not some new epidemic.

    The worst part is the rap song some Houston rapper made. Because we all know that all American kids listen to these days is that damn rap music (which just reminds me of the last scene in American Gangster, haha).

  3. Millenials, the selfish generation. Even when we complain it’s because “no one understands us.” I read recently that the number one defining characteristic of milenials is that we always think about ourselves first. If people are having trouble understanding you, try understanding them first.

    Try this: see if you can name five really meaningful things Millenials have contributed to the betterment of the world so far (we’re even lacking in the art department for the most part), beyond a consumption rate that makes Baby Boomers look like heroes (no small feat considering they’re the generation who fucked everything up), a knack for “super-cool” video games, and a general disinterest in both the future of their country (not good) and the well being of anyone who isn’t staring back at us in the mirror each morning.

    I’m all for new paradigms, but if you display yourself as a gangster, then you open yourself up to the connotations that go along with that. Sagging originated in prisons, where inmate uniforms weren’t exactly made to fit, and thus were often too big and sagged. Eventually it became a status symbol on the outside, i.e. “look how gangster I am, I’ve been to prison, and thus earned the right to sag my pants.”

    People involved in gang activity tend to be under-educated and impoverished, and thus because sagging is still associated with these connotations, sagging your pants will almost always cause people to take you as less intelligent or even as a criminal, fair or not. I understand the need to express yourself, and the need to exercise your own style. AND THE BILLBOARD IS RIDICULOUS, but for different reasons than you’ve listed here.

    The intended message is probably that if you want to be taken seriously, then dress the part. What each individual must decide is whether they actually wish to be taken seriously within that strata of society at all, which I personally don’t. However, if you choose to dress a certain way or talk a certain way, you should step back and evaluate how these actions factor into your personal longterm goals, and if they don’t further them, perhaps it’s time for a change. Being gangster never got anyone anything but killed anyway.

    Imitating someone in prison for the sake of style is ridiculous: even the heavy majority people in prison wish they weren’t. The message in rap culture is get rich by any means necessary, but the reality is that unless you prepare yourself through education, you don’t stand a chance, and probably won’t live to be thirty. One in every ten million gangsters lives long enough to even tell about it, much less become wealthy in any way shape or form. There’s more to life than material, but try telling most rappers that–they simply won’t get it.

    I think Kanye West said “they taught us to hate ourselves and love their wealth.” It seems to me that part of hating yourself is being proud of the time you spent in prison for violence or thieving, both reprehensible acts in any society, not just ours. Ever stop to think about what that means?

    Maybe if impoverished people violently insisted on getting educated rather than idiotically holding on to the chunks of their “culture” that don’t serve them very well (i.e. saggy pants, improper speech, violence,rampant drive for material without the tools needed to gain it) they would slowly move out of poverty. Until then, dress the part, and prepare to be taken as such. The billboard should read: look uneducated and dangerous, get treated uneducated and dangerous.

    Before you get too offended remember that we all stereotype, it’s unavoidable. It’s a safety mechanism designed to help you judge potentially dangerous situations. If you’ve ever called someone nerdy or a jock or preppy or ugly, then you have no right to be offended. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

  4. Millenials, the selfish generation. Even when we complain it's because “no one understands us.” I read recently that the number one defining characteristic of milenials is that we always think about ourselves first. If people are having trouble understanding you, try understanding them first.

    Try this: see if you can name five really meaningful things Millenials have contributed to the betterment of the world so far (we're even lacking in the art department for the most part), beyond a consumption rate that makes Baby Boomers look like heroes (no small feat considering they're the generation who fucked everything up), a knack for “super-cool” video games, and a general disinterest in both the future of their country (not good) and the well being of anyone who isn't staring back at us in the mirror each morning.

    I'm all for new paradigms, but if you display yourself as a gangster, then you open yourself up to the connotations that go along with that. Sagging originated in prisons, where inmate uniforms weren't exactly made to fit, and thus were often too big and sagged. Eventually it became a status symbol on the outside, i.e. “look how gangster I am, I've been to prison, and thus earned the right to sag my pants.”

    People involved in gang activity tend to be under-educated and impoverished, and thus because sagging is still associated with these connotations, sagging your pants will almost always cause people to take you as less intelligent or even as a criminal, fair or not. I understand the need to express yourself, and the need to exercise your own style. AND THE BILLBOARD IS RIDICULOUS, but for different reasons than you've listed here.

    The intended message is probably that if you want to be taken seriously, then dress the part. What each individual must decide is whether they actually wish to be taken seriously within that strata of society at all, which I personally don't. However, if you choose to dress a certain way or talk a certain way, you should step back and evaluate how these actions factor into your personal longterm goals, and if they don't further them, perhaps it's time for a change. Being gangster never got anyone anything but killed anyway.

    Imitating someone in prison for the sake of style is ridiculous: even the heavy majority people in prison wish they weren't. The message in rap culture is get rich by any means necessary, but the reality is that unless you prepare yourself through education, you don't stand a chance, and probably won't live to be thirty. One in every ten million gangsters lives long enough to even tell about it, much less become wealthy in any way shape or form. There's more to life than material, but try telling most rappers that–they simply won't get it.

    I think Kanye West said “they taught us to hate ourselves and love their wealth.” It seems to me that part of hating yourself is being proud of the time you spent in prison for violence or thieving, both reprehensible acts in any society, not just ours. Ever stop to think about what that means?

    Maybe if impoverished people violently insisted on getting educated rather than idiotically holding on to the chunks of their “culture” that don't serve them very well (i.e. saggy pants, improper speech, violence,rampant drive for material without the tools needed to gain it) they would slowly move out of poverty. Until then, dress the part, and prepare to be taken as such. The billboard should read: look uneducated and dangerous, get treated uneducated and dangerous.

    Before you get too offended remember that we all stereotype, it's unavoidable. It's a safety mechanism designed to help you judge potentially dangerous situations. If you've ever called someone nerdy or a jock or preppy or ugly, then you have no right to be offended. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

  5. I love your line: “Empower us, lift us up by the things we are doing right.” Awesome! I work with teens, and this is such a key message. Really it’s management 101. Great letter.

    Oddly enough if you go to their website, the button/text to buy these related shirts says “Get this joint now!” Hmm… I mean, way to keep the hip hop speak alive & all, but how is that ‘elevating’ the youth again?

    On a complete aside, but grammar related… on your about page, the word ‘choose’ needs to be ‘chose’: “…when I choose to enroll in public school.”

    🙂

  6. I love your line: “Empower us, lift us up by the things we are doing right.” Awesome! I work with teens, and this is such a key message. Really it's management 101. Great letter.

    Oddly enough if you go to their website, the button/text to buy these related shirts says “Get this joint now!” Hmm… I mean, way to keep the hip hop speak alive & all, but how is that 'elevating' the youth again?

    On a complete aside, but grammar related… on your about page, the word 'choose' needs to be 'chose': “…when I choose to enroll in public school.”

    🙂

  7. Here’s an interesting story on the subject: Texas Students Suspended for Refusing Haircut: http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=080108210454.j43titla&show_article=1

    My favorite line is the quote at the end: “The Kerens ISD dress code promotes the effective personal presentation skills which contribute significantly to successful living in adult society,” the handbook explained. “The district’s dress code is established to teach hygiene, instill discipline, prevent disruption, avoid safety hazards, and teach respect for authority.”

    I understand that there may be consequences for failing to adhere to standards of personal presentation in “adult society” — my old workplace had a dress code not unlike this school’s — but denying a public education? In adult society (I almost can’t type that without laughing), I have the choice to find a workplace that doesn’t have a dress code. What choice do these students have? “Instill discipline, prevent disruption, avoid safety hazards, and teach respect for authority?” Sounds more like teaching effective personal presentation skills which contribute significantly to successful living … in the military.

  8. Here's an interesting story on the subject: Texas Students Suspended for Refusing Haircut: http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=0801082

    My favorite line is the quote at the end: “The Kerens ISD dress code promotes the effective personal presentation skills which contribute significantly to successful living in adult society,” the handbook explained. “The district's dress code is established to teach hygiene, instill discipline, prevent disruption, avoid safety hazards, and teach respect for authority.”

    I understand that there may be consequences for failing to adhere to standards of personal presentation in “adult society” — my old workplace had a dress code not unlike this school's — but denying a public education? In adult society (I almost can't type that without laughing), I have the choice to find a workplace that doesn't have a dress code. What choice do these students have? “Instill discipline, prevent disruption, avoid safety hazards, and teach respect for authority?” Sounds more like teaching effective personal presentation skills which contribute significantly to successful living … in the military.

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