Brands want to be hip with the new kids. Since millennials are now the most dominant generation of consumers, brands and companies want their money. What’s the best way to do this? It’s simple: use their vernacular, take part in the pop culture and try to be like them. But don’t over-do it.
Indeed, brands have the right intentions, but in a lot of instances it is blatant, pedantic and downright annoying. This can leave a sour taste in the mouth of millennial consumers. They may even feel insulted if brands take millennial stereotypes to the extreme. Brands have to proceed with caution.
Over the past couple of years, marketers have attempted to revamp their advertising efforts. Instead of honing in on Generation Xers and Baby Boomers, millennials and even Generation Zers are the biggest targets for brands. At the same time, their marketing campaigns have been quite cringe-worthy. From Wendy’s to Juicy Fruit, it seems every brand has made an error.
Here are 10 times brands made awkward advertisements for millennials:
1. Wendy's Stuffs Millennial Pop Culture Into One Ad
Memes, selfies and a man making outdated references. Wendy’s was able to stuff an amazing amount of millennial references into its 30-second TV ad. For both millennials and non-millennials, the ad probably made you want to shake your head in disgust.
2. Chevrolet Publishes a Press Release Entirely in Emojis
Chevrolet appears to be publishing press releases for millennial reporters. The automaker posted a press release that was written entirely in emojis to promote the 2016 Cruze because "Words alone can’t describe the new 2016 Chevrolet Cruze.” Many people had a difficult time translating the emojis into English. Can you do it?
3. Juicy Fruit Has a Case of the Emojis
It may seem like the emoji invasion. Juicy Fruit also took advantage of the latest Internet craze in emojis and posted an ad asking you to translate the emojis into text. A second challenge for the day: translate the emojis above.
4. Windex's Love Affair With Emojis
After reading this article, people will begin to detest the adoption of emojis. What seems to be the offspring of emoticons, brands have fallen in love with emojis, particularly because it’s something that all millennials seem to be using. Windex was the latest company to insert the emoji into their advertising campaign.
5. MTV Embarrasses Itself With Content Rating
We all know just how hip MTV is. It was one of the first channels to dedicate themselves to the cool Generation Xers, and now it’s geared towards millennials and Generation Zers. No wonder they changed their content rating system so readers can rate them as "sickk," "adorbs," "I can’t even" and so on.
6. A Church Embraces Its Swagger?
Indeed, the church and religious institutions are making their way to the dustbins of history and will soon become dinosaurs. However, churches are attempting to stave off the inevitability by trying to embrace their "swagger" by incorporating some of the lingo into their signage. This was placed by a Lutheran Memorial Church. Who knows what it means?
7. Obamacare Gets 'Doge' meme
This doesn’t need much of an explanation, except the fact that government and pop culture do not mix. It’s too forced and makes you feel sorry for the government. Perhaps that was the goal?
8. Publishers Bring Shakespeare Into 'OMG' Century
If you ever wondered how William Shakespeare would have composed his great literary works in today’s world then perhaps this publisher is the one for you. A publisher introduced "OMG Shakespeare" with a book entitled "YOLO Juliet." It’s a shame that we can’t just enjoy Shakespeare without having to use insipid 21st century marketing gimmicks.
9. The Republican Party Goes Cool?
The Republican Party has been accused of being antiquated and as a party of old, white men - that is changing with the likes of Rand Paul and Mia Love. So the GOP’s solution to this assertion is to release an ad of a millennial talking about energy policy. However, the message gets lost because it’s rather apparent he’s reading from cue cards.
10. Text Message Public Service Announcement
Do you have an important announcement to make for young people? You better make a poster that replicates text messaging. People hardly pay attention to public service announcements, or PSAs, so perhaps the best remedy to this problem is to make it look cool.
What makes certain ad campaigns effective is that they’re organic and not shoved down our throats like we’re a bunch of morons. None of these marketing endeavors work because they’re goofy, forced and shallow. Just because a young, hip person is talking about energy policy that doesn’t mean you’re going to vote for that party. Just because someone is taking a selfie with a sandwich it doesn’t mean you’re to buy it. Judging by the reaction that a lot of these videos and images get, millennials don’t appreciate them either. Or perhaps the reason why we don’t like it is because we’re ashamed of our pop culture. What do you think is the worst ad campaign geared towards millennials?