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Reaching millennials and younger audiences

Monday 20th March

There’s a lot of brand interest in millennials, which makes obvious sense when taking into account the size of the audience. However, with the age group being worse off than previous generations and incumbent with debt, favouritism and brand loyalty has never been so important.

Group of friends taking a selfie

As marketers, we are always trying to ensure that millennials recall our ads. We continue to develop new ways to encourage our brand to sit in the unconscious mind of the individual so that when it comes to making the choice, our products will jump to the front of the mind.

Yet, this is becoming increasingly difficult to do with millennials. In a survey conducted by Forbes confirming that “only 1% of millennials said that a compelling advertisement would make them trust a brand more”, it’s no surprise that nearly two in three millennials have installed an ad blocker.

A brand that have worked their way around this recently, tugging on the heart strings of the millennial rather than targeting them with an advertising campaign was Nintendo and the launch of their Pokémon Go app. Apart from the technical intelligence of the app, one of the main reasons that this was so successful is due to the nostalgia and joy it brought back to the millennial audience from their youth so there’s no surprise that 46% of the audience who downloaded the app, were 18-29 years old.

With trend studies indicating that younger audiences are increasingly reducing their interaction with advertising, should brands focus on a long term plan and create nostalgia with the iGen demographic?

They say that when we’re young our brains are like sponges, hence why it’s encouraged to teach a child a second language before the age of fifteen. This has similar traits for ad recall. Jim McNeal (a former University professor) states that “children become brand-conscious at about 24 months, and by 36-42 months they make the connection that a brand can say something about their personalities”.

Now personally I’m not completely trusting that I was wearing dungarees at three years old because they said something about my personality, over the fact that I was put in them because my mum wanted me to look adorable (thanks mum!), but if I think back to ads from my early teens, their recall and nostalgia is still very strong. The likes of Motorola – “HelloMoto”, Pepsi – Wild West ad and Nike – The cage, are just three of the many that still give me the joy as well as the Man, I’m getting old feeling. I’ll give you a moment to recall yours childhood ads too.

Whether you agree or disagree with this tactic, there are definitely examples where effectiveness has been proven. A study conducted in the UK (Pine and Nash – 2001) investigated the relationship between television advertising, children’s viewing and their requests to Father Christmas. Within this study they found that the more children watched TV commercials, the more gifts were requested for Christmas.

A brand that has had huge success in doing this is McDonalds. Ronald McDonald, Happy Meals and sponsoring the likes of Serena Williams, LeBron James and even the England football team were used specifically used to target children, and it sure worked. Research in the USA suggested that 40% of parents reported that their child asked to go to McDonald’s at least once a week after being exposed to their ads, which ultimately resulted to 82% of the parents giving in and taking their child to a fast food restaurant. This example displays the benefits of targeting the younger audience as well as the surprising influence that they have when it comes to decision making.

Considering both the McDonalds and Pokémon Go strategies previously mentioned, it shows that there is potential for both short term as well as long term successes when it comes to millennials. But with millennials becoming increasingly difficult to reach and interact with, just how long will it be until the next generation are the most important factor in our media plan?

Article Written by

Aiden O’Halloran

International Account Manager, Total Media

23 year old, International Account Manager who’s strongest rounds in a pub quiz are Sport and Music. I’ve been with Total Media for over a year working on Lenovo and Moto.

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