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Generation Y as Consumers: How Echo Boomers are Shaping the Future of Advertising

You see an ad for a good product and how wonderful it works.  It happens all too often – some guy on TV showing you how their product is superior to another, how their ingredients are fresher, their engineers smarter, etc.  Is it true?  It doesn’t matter says Generation Y.  We don’t want it.

Believe it or not, product superiority is a pet peeve for many Gen Y’ers.  Echo Boomers want more than claims that they are better.  Why?  Because EVERYONE’s product is great.  The snake oil salesman thinks his potions are the best in the world, the vacuum cleaner salesman – best vacuums in the world.

How do we differentiate what is a good product from the lemons?  Reputation and confidence in the product.   Generation Y expects you to put your product out there.  Do we want to hear how great it is?  No – we want to watch TV, visit our website in peace.  The LEAST you can do is entertain us a bit.  Don’t sell it to us, make us remember your brand and we will investigate it on our own, gather community and social feedback, and attempt to make the best possible decision based upon other’s experiences with the product as well as the company itself.

bad_burger.jpgFor many advertisers, they think just throwing out lifestyle-centric ads will turn echo boomers onto their products.  No, it takes more than that.  An example would be McDonalds.  Notice how they aren’t trying to convince people that their products are superior to other chains.  Instead, they are showing people having fun and living a certain lifestyle of people eating their food.  While this is in the right direction, it still doesn’t hit Generation Y dead on.

Generation Y also requires a product that speaks for itself.  While McDonalds is trying to re-image their brand, the products do not align up to the lifestyle advertising.  People KNOW its good tasting – but we also know its processed and bad for you.

On the other side of the spectrum, Chipotle has successfully convinced its customers that a 1000 calorie burrito is healthy simply due to fresh, locally produced, non-GMO ingredients.  The product follows the company’s beliefs.  Add in trendy music, modern color palette, and a web site with trees, blue skies, and artistic photographs of their food, and you have a company aligned for success with an entire generation.

good_burgerAs millennials demand a quality product from a quality company, there is also a growing willingness in the American economy, partly attributed to millennials, to pay a premium price to get it.  After decades of racing to the bottom, bringing you a 20 pack of underwear for 5 dollars and a dollar cheeseburger, there is a reversal in attitude.  The $10 burrito is suddenly worth it.  The premium is an investment in a superior product as well as their own beliefs.  Generation Y believes they can shape the future by buying an iPhone.  Its more than a product; its about the vision and direction the company is going.  They believe in Apple, not just their product, but what they are capable of.

As for companies like McDonalds – unless they find their identity in the world, not just as a company for profit, but as a responsible participant in the world – they will never be as relevant as they once were.

Are you willing to pay a premium for a product and company you believe in?

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1 comment

  1. Frak

    McD is disgusting. Chipotle isn’t much better. And iPhone fanboys are terrible. But I guess you’re right in a way. Even though I don’t agree with the examples, I’m pretty guilty of it myself.

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