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Letter From The Editor..................................................................................................... 4 Generation Why // Demystifying The Millennial.............................................................................. 6 On Love And Other Demons: Relationships & Commitment...................... 7 On Parenthood And Family: Pets Are The New Babies................................ 10 On Work And Careers: Do What You Like..................................................... 12 Opportunities For Brands................................................................................. 14 The New #Fan // Tribalism In The Age Of Beliebers.................................................................... 16 Insights For Brands............................................................................................. 18 I Am What I Share // Music As Social Currency................................................................................ 20 New-Stalgia // A Time For Analog............................................................................................ 25 Fair Trade.......................................................................................................................... 26 Summertime 2013 // More Work, Less Fun......................................................................................... 27 Opposing Outlooks......................................................................................................... 28 Millennial Snapshots........................................................................................................ 36 Millennials On Millennials................................................................................................ 40 Contributors..................................................................................................................... 41 Footnotes......................................................................................................................... 42


Tracking the elusive Millennial. For years now, it’s been the subject of much scrutiny and debate among marketers. We study them from an outsider’s perch. Like

Chalk it up to my Compulsive Contrarian Disorder,

European anthropologists descending on the

but I’m not convinced that combing through Pew

rain forests of Central Africa to study the cultural

data for revelations into what sets this group apart

and somatic traits of pygmies, we search to answer

from previous generations is the most enlightened

the seemingly simple question: What makes them

path to understanding Millennials.

different? Maybe we can challenge entrenched assumptions And like the pygmies, Millennials refuse to acculturate

and discover an alternative perspective into this

to the world around them, prompting more bafflement

cohort’s behaviors and beliefs by asking a different

and the ensuing question: Why won’t they just adapt?

of series of questions, such as: What makes Millennials similar to previous generations? How can we adapt

What I’m saying, before I beat this rather thin

to them?

metaphor into the ground, is that perhaps we’re


searching for understanding within the wrong line

Sounds enlightened, right? When I floated this

of reasoning.

integrationist approach by the strategists in our


editorial kickoff meeting, I was met with a wall

importance. From there, it gets easier. Follow

of indifference. Cue eye rolls and other

the rules of engagement below and you're

non—verbal expressions of FML.

already ahead of the game.

See, our strategic brain trust here at Omelet is

Don’t just acknowledge that they need

comprised almost entirely of Millennials. It’s like

to feel unique; help them get there.

“Children of the Corn” meets Menudo (a reference that’s ironically lost on anyone under 30). And

Don’t just assume that they’ll engage with

much of our collective grey matter over the last

you because you’ve made something

year has been monopolized by “deep dives”

social; give them a real reason, something

into different Millennial segments and subjects.

to brag about.

So there was the expected intellectual fatigue

Don’t just tell them to buy your product

that comes with taking yet another cut at

or service; invite them to buy into your

this research. And beyond that, there was the

brand promise.

inevitable fear of self—mythologizing one’s own peer group.

Don’t just tell them what you do; help them understand why you do what you do.

But more than anything, there was a healthy dose of skepticism around the timing. Why, with

And never, ever speak like anything

the glut of information that already exists on this

but a human.

subject, do we need to burden marketers with yet another report about Millennials? Well, first, because volume is just one measure of substance. That is to say the sheer mass of information out there does not translate to meaning. And second, because there’s no time like the present; to document the story of where they are. Right. Now. This group is constantly shifting,

sean mcnamara

chief strategy officer

realigning, and contradicting itself. It’s a thing of unpredictable, chaotic beauty. The uncertainty of where it’s going next, or how it’s going to get there, is what it makes it such a timely and relevant subject today. So in these pages, you’ll find observations, insights, and opportunities on the Millennial audience, from the minds of Millennials themselves. If you’re ready to walk the talk, the first step to acting on this intelligence is to accept their


GENERATION WHY demystifying the millennial Millennials are pampered, overpraised commitment-phobes who refuse to grow up. It’s a familiar refrain, but is it true? If you take Lena Dunham’s semi—autobiographical Girls, or more divisively, Sofia Coppola’s based—on—a—true—story The Bling Ring, as anthropological gospel, then yes, these self—obsessed neurotics are ushering in the

TED Talk “30’s Are Not Really The New 20’s” examines the topic of generational procrastination, this Boomerang Generation (they always wind up back home) is squandering the most transformative decade of their lives.

decline of western civilization.

How about the Millennials

But we’re not convinced.

themselves? Well, they aren’t

According to many Boomers, these Trophy Kids (everyone’s a winner!) are shaking the cornerstones of a society their predecessors worked so hard to build—from the housing market to workplace dynamics to family values.


whose cogent but controversial

buying the whole entitled thing. Over 61% of them1 see themselves as thoughtful, respectful, smart, independent, and innovative— traits that stand in stark contrast to those their elders use to describe them. Millennials believe with conviction that they are different, just like everyone else.

If you listen to Gen Xers like

Does that make them narcissistic?

clinical psychologist Meg Jay,

Sure, but not much more so than

previous generations. So what’s the source of this intergenerational schism? It's simple—rather than adapting to the world around them, Millennials are going to force the world to adapt to them, on their own terms. And change scares a lot of people. To better understand what that means for marketers and brands, let’s take a closer look at the social and behavioral patterns that define how Millennials engage with relationships, work, and family.




on love AND other demons: relationships & commitment Not surprisingly, Millennials have a very different


(On Love And Other Demons: Relationships & Commitment)

There’s no question that technology, now a potential

view on functional relationships than

catalyst or killer of relationships, has

previous generations. And they look at

forever complicated the post—dating

the roles of romance and fun, dates

landscape. At first blush, the casual

and group hang—outs, love and

nature of text messages and snapchats

commitment, through a very different lens.

may appear to diffuse anxiety from courtship, but it can actually have the

Much has been made of the

reverse effect.

generational effect of the so—called “hookup culture” that has spilled over

After all, who’s to say whether a

from college years into adult life. It’s

late—night text is spontaneous or lazy?

tempting to dismiss this behavior as

Or what defines friendship with

self—indulgent exploration, but Millennials

possible benefits versus a potentially

are quick to clarify that the stereotypically

meaningful relationship? This pressure

regressive girls of Girls are not

is reinforced by a recent report by the

representative of real-world experiences.


American Psychological Association, which reveals



(On Love And Other Demons: Relationships & Commitment, continued)

that Millennials are significantly more likely to say

narrowly defined by a label, or validated by a

that relationship problems are a source of serious

piece of paper or census box.

stress than any other generation.4 That’s not to say that they reject the institution of Beyond the obvious implications of low—stakes,

marriage. The majority of Millennials do want to get

high—volume matchmakers, like OKCupid, Tinder,

married,5 they just want to get it right the first time.

and Grouper, lies a deeper implication about

They’ve experienced first hand the consequences

Millennials’ avoidance of commitment and disdain

of rushing into marriage and are trying to avoid the

for traditional labels. They believe, with good reason,

mistakes their parents’ generation made. This feeds

that each relationship is as unique as they are;

into the broader Delayed Adulthood trend.

that, like them, relationships don’t have to be


dating in the digital age Courtship is dead. Time of death, according to the New York Times, was January 13, 2013.6 Holding the smoking gun? You guessed it—Millennials. Dating in the age of chronic over—sharing has become increasingly complicated. Lines between public and private, on-line and off-line, are blurring at an alarming rate. Apps like “Bang with Friends,” which is exactly what it sounds like, or web services like the dystopian “We Know Your House,” are pushing the boundaries of both taste and personal security. Finding "The One That Slipped Away" is just a few keystrokes away—a plot device used effectively in the recent film Safety Not Guaranteed. Screening prospective dates for deal breakers, whether that’s poor grammar or an arrest record, has never been easier. It remains to be seen as to whether we’ll collectively reach a point where we reconsider our embrace of living so transparently. We do see anecdotal evidence that privacy concerns will only escalate as we consume and produce more and more personal data. But where that breaking point lies is anyone’s guess. What we do know, however, is that the disclosure of so much information does create interesting opportunities for brands that can offer at least some semblance of control in protecting our public and private selves.

on parenthood and family: pets are the new babies As a broad generalization, Millennials don’t just get

of Millennials9 own a dog or a cat and, among these

along with their parents—they actually like them. So

pet owners, about 2/3 of them live with a partner.

much so that they often live at home well beyond the

Many businesses have adapted to the needs of

traditional cycle of post-collegiate independence. 61%

“the new baby.” Airlines like JetBlue saw a surge of

of Millennials ages 25—34 say they have friends or family

pet owners expecting to travel with their little ones,

members who have moved back in with their parents.

so they developed JetPaws™ to help meet pet

But it’s important to note that they’re not delaying

owners’ travel needs. Even automobile makers, like

these rites of passage because they lack confidence or

Toyota and Honda, are beginning to design

independence; they’re often driven home by

pet—friendly vehicles.


financial necessity. 38% say their current financial situation is linked to their parents’ financial situation.7

As Millennials continue to dote over their pets, it is

In addition to providing a roof over their heads,

those of their own helicopter parents. They are

many parents are also providing direct financial

caregivers of a “child,” which makes them adult

support to their kids well into their 20s. Does that

enough to be responsible for someone other than

make these kids spoiled? Not necessarily, given the

themselves. It’s a step in the right direction.

inevitable that their attitudes will begin to resemble

avalanche of student debt most are buried under, the high cost of housing, and a miserable job


market. 54% of Millennials say debt is their “biggest financial concern currently,” surpassing day—to—day expenses.8 But if they’re not getting married and not cutting the parental support chord, what exactly are they doing? We’re no strangers to the concept of growing up with “training wheels” to prepare us for the herculean challenges of adult life. The baby doll in high school health class, SAT prep courses, and internships were all primers to get us ready for the real—world versions of families, tests, and jobs. So it should be no surprise that Millennials, an inherently pet—friendly generation, are opting to raise pets as a proving ground before having babies. Over 76%





GENERATION WHY on work and careers: do what you like Nowhere is the generational divide more perceptible than in the workplace.10

estate bubble. No wonder they

the energy of Millennials will risk

have such lofty expectations—

losing them. Or worse yet,

both for themselves and for their

competing against them.

employers. They grew up in a golden age of entrepreneurialism,

big, small, and everything in

fueled by the success of start—up

between—are struggling with

demigods like Mark Zuckerberg

tensions between freshly minted

and David Karp.

Their motivations are as much

relentlessly disrupting entrenched

Add to that the distrust of

They want to be owners of their

workplace behaviors, and the old

traditional hierarchies and the

destiny and create a work

guard, who are skeptical of

constant affirmation and positive

environment where they can

bottom—up institutional change.

reinforcement they grew up

unleash their creative potential.

with—from their parents, teachers,

They believe that they win by

Let’s take a step back for broader

and coaches—and you’ve got a

being themselves, and that they

context on this gap. Boomers

high—maintenance, highly volatile

can make a real living from it.

experienced the post—war boom;

group to contend with.11 But you

Gen Xers came of age in the

also have high—potential, highly

A great example of this mentality is

shadow of Reaganism; Millennials

motivated agents of

Christine Hauer,13 the 25—year—old

grew up under Clintonism, the

transformational change.

professional networking

Dot—com boom, and the real

Employers who cannot channel

wing-woman and founder of

college graduates, who are


To that end, 25% of Millennials12

Companies and organizations—

are thinking about breaking out and starting their own business. personal as they are financial.


(On Work And Careers: Do What You Like)

Hifive!, a “personal brand

Christine is emblematic of a

consultancy.” For a fee, Christine

whole army of young, hungry

will join you for a walk in the park

entrepreneurs who are striking

or coach you through an alumni

out on their own. They’re not just

function; she’ll be your mentor,

chasing the start—up windmills.

sidekick, confidence builder and

They’re opening their own

social lubricant.

restaurants, or better yet, food

Christine didn’t study network coaching at the University of South Carolina. She just knew that she had excellent people skills and a natural gift for connecting

trucks or artisan carts. They're building artistic co—ops; starting their own nonprofits, or, at the very least, consulting for one of their friends’ organizations.

people, so she set out to use her personality as her core asset. Like many other Millennials, Christine constructed a job to fit her persona, rather than the other way around.

the job is never done Work and play. Paycheck and passion. Commerce

environment. One that’s also more mobile,

and conscience. Autonomy and collaboration.

adaptable, casual, and social than ever before.

Coworkers and friends. Millennials’ refusal to compromise is breaking down walls—physically and metaphorically—in the workplace. They’re forcing businesses of all shapes and sizes to rethink the fundamentals of how they operate and giving rise to an iterative and open culture that more closely resembles The Social Network than it does Office Space. The generational changing of the guard, from Boomers to Xers and Millennials, is ushering in a more progressive and enlightened work

This emerging beta workplace shares many values with its new guard: the need for constant feedback, affirmation, stimulation, and new challenges; the demand for flexibility and customization; the universal disregard for sacred cows. Is it a boon or a burden for businesses? Depends on who you ask, but we believe that the rewards speak for themselves. Which scenario do you think produces greater innovation—role rigidity, homogeny, and hierarchical structure, or embracing the crowd-sourced ethos that great ideas can, and should, come from anywhere?


Clearly, there’s no one—size—fits—all solution when it

because you have a bigger wallet is cheating),

comes to Millennials. They reject labels and refuse to

fake it, or shortcut your rise to prominence with

conform to the standards set by their predecessors.

gimmicks. Brands, artists, and pundits who’ve tried

They’re wary of brands that try too hard to win their

have been called out, named, and shamed.

love, or worse, force it. Also, try not to be afraid of making your brand


Millennials will embrace brands that are mindful of

somewhat liquid, so it can ebb and flow with the

Generation Y’s marketing-savvy nature; they are

unpredictable choices Millennials make along the

drawn to brands that work to win their trust and

path to adulthood. Or better yet, embrace your

loyalty. Just don’t try to buy it (cutting in line

brand’s inner Millennial and stop trying so hard to

mining millennial values

be liked. Be unique and unapologetic in your pursuit of answering the elusive question: Why? They’ll get it. More than anything, let Millennials help shape your brand. When it comes to life, love, and the pursuit of greatness, Millennials are going to do it all on their terms. Don’t tell them what to do. Ask them. And this time, really listen.

THE NEW #FAN tribalism in the age of beliebers


(Tribalism In The Age Of Beliebers)

Gleeks. Directioners. Swifties. Twihards. Potterheads.

and fund a feature film into production. A

Truebies. There’s no shortage of labels for Millennial

well-timed tweet or video occasionally earns fans

pop tribes—the communities of individuals bound

face time with their idol. Take the case of Jake

together by a shared love of cultural icons.15

Davidson, a high school senior who showed up to prom with a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model on his

Sound familiar? It should. Long before Millennials

arm after his video invite to Kate Upton went viral.

were a twinkle in their classic—rock—loving parents’

Granted, Kate Upton’s schedule was full—but

eyes, we had pop cults like the Beatniks, Deadheads,

21—year—old Danish model Nina Agdal volunteered

Punks and Mods. And their heirs apparent, Metalheads,

to go in her place. Would that have happened

Gangstas, Goths, Emos and Ravers. After all, it’s only

with Cindy Crawford twenty years ago? Not likely.

human nature to need to fit in, and youth tribes offer just that—a sense of belonging.

Emerging technology and greater connectivity may explain the “what” and “how” of new fan

So what makes Millennial fan

behavior, but it’s the

behavior unique? Boomers

underlying shifts in attitudes

and Xers passively

and beliefs that help us

engaged with their idols.

identify the “why.” And

From their haircuts to the

that’s where the richest vein

t—shirts on their backs to the

lies for marketers.

glossy shrines that adorned the walls of their bedrooms,

Not surprisingly, many

their fandom stood at a

Millennials associate with

distance, albeit a visible

a youth tribe to become

one. Millennials, on the

part of a community whose

other hand, do not

members then feed and

typically wear their fandom as

validate each other’s affinity.

a badge on their sleeves.

But unlike Xers, whose

They are far more

defining characteristic is

empowered to actively

irony (bordering on cynicism),

engage with the objects

Millennial fandom is proof

of their affection.

positive of the New Sincerity movement.

Gone are the days when having a “personal”

New Sincerity refers to fandoms that exist without

connection with your big-haired idols required

post—modern irony. When two psychology professors

waiting for hours in a cold parking lot to catch a

from the University of Georgia and Louisiana State

glimpse of Axl and Slash walking from the arena to

University conducted a study on “Bronies”—the

the tour bus. Technology has broken down physical

unlikely cohort of males 18—35 who are vocal fans

and psychological barriers and facilitated more

of the show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic—

meaningful fan relationships.

they made a startling discovery. Bronies, a portmanteau of “bro” and “pony,” claimed to love

What’s more, social connectivity has enabled a

the show for one reason: it’s good. What’s even

whole new level of celebrity interaction. By donating

more astonishing is that Bronies don’t hide their

via Kickstarter, fans of the canceled television show Veronica Mars were able to resurrect the character



(Tribalism in the Age of Beliebers, continued)

love for a show designed for little girls behind camp or kitsch. They publicly embrace their fandom, turning preconceived age and gender roles on their heads. So again, we have to ask: Why? For starters, Bronies believe that the themes in the show—friendship and self—confidence—are worth celebrating. “ At BronyCon, there are people from all over the world and they all get along. That’s what the show represents,” explained Ed Goodwin, a thirty—year—old Brony. “I could never relate to people in high school. The friendships I’ve made [on Twitter and in Brony forums] are so much better.” This attitude points to a trend that’s best summarized by the mantra “geek is the new alpha.” Perfection and flawlessness, or aloofness for that matter, are no longer the ideal. Embracing your inner geek or fanboy is seen as a sign of confidence and authenticity. This celebration of individuality is not surprising, given that Millennials are the most ethnically diverse generation yet. Beyond a shared sense of open-mindedness, there exists a deeper yearning for optimism and escapism in the post—9/11, recession-ravaged world in which Millennials have grown up (more than half of them are unemployed or underemployed). After all, irony is exhausting, but sincere appreciation (without the smarmy undertones) can be liberating.

co—create the brand with Gen Y, from the ground up. They will be far more emotionally invested in its success—and more effective evangelists in spreading its gospel—if they feel like they were a part of the scene from the beginning. Finally, they’re interested in learning why you do what you do, not just what you want to sell. There are always conversations happening within a tribe. Foster them, encourage them—don’t try to control them—and learn from them. It’s some of the most valuable brand intelligence you can earn.

insights for brands Let’s face it. Millennials are addicted to validation. When it comes to building a tribe through shared experiences, brand values, “content,” and everything in between, they seek the practice, not just the promise, of a community of like—minded individuals who will validate their love without irony or judgment. To successfully build a tribe, brands need to open their doors early and welcome collaboration;


40% are non-white



rise of the participatory culture The insight is simple: make Millennials feel like they’re influencing your brand.

co-creation of the customer journey

Millennials have no shortage of opinions. They’re sharing them on-line, off-line, and in person— brands need to listen and respond. In fact, 64% of

The payoff? Rather than speculating about what

Millennials feel that companies should offer more

they think is cool, or worse yet, trying to tell them

ways to listen to their customers.17 Brands need

what’s cool, you can remove a lot of the

to channel that under-delivered need by

guesswork by just asking them.

crowdsourcing the customer journey.

You can also remove a lot of the heavy lifting by

co-creation of marketing

giving them an active role in creating, curating, and seeding stuff they love. That’s a textbook case of “social—by—design” marketing.

co-creation of products and services

Millennials don’t want to just come along for the ride. They want to help steer it. Empowering alphas to build and evolve each brand experience with you will not only capture the attention of their peers, but also keep them

When Millennials purchase a product or service,

engaged over time. This participatory ethos has

they consider it to be more than a transaction; it’s

to be a core tenet of the conceptual platform,

a direct reflection of their identity—their Brand Me.

not just a box to check for social extensions.

In order for them to truly buy into a brand (versus just buying a product or service), they need to feel as if they have a stake in its future success.

Content on pp. 18-19 sourced from Barkley EVP Jeff Fromm's book "Marketing to Millennials: Reach the Largest and Most Influential Generation of Consumers Ever."

I AM WHAT I SHARE music as social currency


(Music As A Social Currency)

Music doesn’t just define who we are; music defines who we want to be. Remember that European exchange student in high school who introduced everyone to Kraftwerk, Joy Division, and clove cigarettes? Back in Luxembourg, he probably fell at the bottom of the social pecking order, but here, all the guys wanted to be him, and all the girls (and probably some of the guys) wanted to be with him. Why? Because he discovered this incredible music first, and then inducted them into his post—punk world. You can’t buy that kind of social currency. This universal experience belies the relationship that every generation has had with music. But in recent years, there have been tectonic shifts in how Millennials acquire, store, listen to, talk about, and share music. For proof of how the music world has changed, look no further than the evolution of the mixtape. A$AP Rocky’s latest mixtape is a far cry from what Nick Hornby waxed poetic about in his 1995 pop novel High Fidelity. Liner notes have been replaced by band tweets; mindfully collecting records, cassettes, or CDs has given way to binging on unlimited access to compressed audio files that are just a click away. And all of this has reframed how Millennials use music to shape their identities. Or more aptly, their Brand Me. Like the Boomers and Xers before them, Millennials want to be the first to discover, the first to experience, and the first to share. But unlike prior generations, they’ve been wired since middle school; they can listen to whatever they want, whenever they want, wherever they want. And that allows them to keep a cycle of music discovery, engagement, and activation spinning.

discovery When it comes to the search for—and discovery of—new music, Millennial tastes often reflect the shared emotions they’re experiencing as they grow up and go through the rights of passage into adult life: graduations, first jobs, first apartments. They’re embracing new music to accompany these milestones or, conversely, to escape from their new obligations and responsibilities. Look at the string of hits from Fun.—the breakout pop superstars of 2013. There’s a consistent narrative in “We Are Young,” “Some Nights,” and “Carry On” that marries existential angst with an optimistic vision of being young and free. What’s interesting about Fun.— beyond the idea that Millennials seem to be nostalgic for a sound that recalls Queen or Electric Light Orchestra—is that it was the first band that Glee broke. The show’s tried—and—true publishing model relies on covering existing pop successes, not new and untested tracks. But producers made an exception for Fun. when they heard “We Are Young” and in turn disrupted an entrenched A&R process. After the episode aired, sales of the single increased a staggering 1,650%.18 The Glee cover was followed by a Chevy Super Bowl commercial, which catapulted the band into the mainstream and helped score a couple of Grammys (in their acceptance speech they thanked their parents “for letting us live at home for a very long period of time”). The real story here, though, is that Millennials discovered Fun. through a network television show, not radio airplay or digital, mobile, or social apps.

>> 21


(Discovery, continued)

That’s not to say that non—terrestrial channels like YouTube haven’t changed the game for many emerging musicians by breaking down barriers to exposure. Nielsen’s Music 360 found that YouTube is so popular with Millennials that over 60% say it’s the


first place they and their friends go to discover new music, and YPulse revealed that 47% of Millennials use Spotify to find and listen to music. Facebook and Twitter, never ones to miss out on an opportunity, have taken notice. Just two months ago, Facebook introduced its filtered music feed, adding tighter integration with streaming services like Spotify, Rdio, and Soundcloud. Twitter recently launched a Twitter Music app. These platforms have been re-engineered from the ground up to facilitate greater ease—of—discovery through friends and communities. And given that with these apps, whatever you’re listening to is broadcast in real time to a jury of your peers, they’ve also given rise to a new trend of deliberate curation.

engagement Music is inherently emotional. And the rituals speak for themselves. Obscure bands lure hundreds of thousands of music lovers to a remote location for an epic festival; perfect strangers voluntarily dive into a mosh pit together, entering the ring in the closest thing we have to a legal fight club. These are not things dispassionate people do, and Millennials have adopted them with gusto. But it’s important to note that the social conversations that surround these rituals hold greater value than the physical experiences themselves.

idols, as well as a candid glimpse into their lives and personalities. That certainly reinforces the Millennial values of authenticity and transparency. This direct line to fans has also enabled musicians to innovate ways to engage and reward fans. In March of 2012, after creating the song “The Veldt” during a 22—hour live—streaming session, Canadian electronic music producer Deadmau5 found a fan—made vocal rendition of the song via Twitter and incorporated the vocals into the final recording. DJ Kaskade just finished his “It’s You, It’s Me” tour. Dates and locations were announced just five days before the shows to Facebook and Twitter followers, with tickets available exclusively through a link in the announcement. Although Kaskade could have filled huge concert halls, he deliberately chose small, intimate venues, only seating 200 to 300 people at capacity. Not only was the tour a powerful way of rewarding fans for their social loyalty, but it also helped market Kaskade by giving attendees an exclusive experience that they bragged about to their respective circles of influence. Even in larger venues, social media provides a conduit between fans and the act. While touring with country


Case in point: four of the top five most—followed

superstar Carrie Underwood, up—and—comer Hunter

accounts on Twitter are musicians. What’s

Hayes encouraged concert goers to tweet

the draw? Simply offering news and updates is

#HunterIsWanted with their seat location for a

table stakes for the social conversation; the

chance to win meet-and-greet passes, with the ask

most—followed acts offer fans direct access to their

that they live-tweet their encounter to others.

activation Millennials are gatekeepers to new content and kingmakers for emerging musicians. Their experiences with artists, during live shows or on-line interactions, can be immediately shared with their peers through social media or streaming services like SoundCloud, Spotify and Rdio. With this power comes a perceived responsibility to help others succeed. In addition to being more entrepreneurial than any other generation, Millennials genuinely want to see their peers do well, and go out of their way to help up—and—coming artists with their every “like” and “share.” Consequently, there is virtually no stigma around “selling out.” When a favorite YouTube singer gets signed to a major label, her fans rejoice alongside her; both at her accomplishment, as well as their own efforts to help make it a reality. So getting credit for being an active fan from the beginning motivates Millennials to co—opt content and take collective ownership of its success.

believe the hype Yes, social media has dramatically altered the way we consume and share music, but it has also changed the way new music is promoted and released. Gone are the days when carefully tested singles hit radio waves first and music videos premiere on MTV. Artists and labels are continually breaking marketing conventions and innovating new and creative ways to get their music heard. Yeasayer threw a digital scavenger hunt to celebrate the release of its new album, Fragrant World. The campaign hid music videos of all eleven tracks on various websites, leaving fans to decipher tweets to gain access. To tease the release of its highly anticipated record after an eight—year hiatus, French electronic duo Daft Punk released only snippets of tracks or trailers,


(Believe the Hype, continued)

generating a social frenzy that lasted for months.

teased and surprised. In exchange, they will do a

When the album, Random Access Memories, was

lot of heavy lifting to spread the gospel.

finally released, it streamed free on iTunes and fans tuned in across the world to take part in a global

As marketers, there’s much we can learn from this

listening experience.

relationship. As we architect experiences that steer Millennial interest towards our conversations, we

When it comes to music and the cultural

have to make those experiences brag—worthy;

conversation, Millennial fans not only demand to

that’s one of the most powerful tools in recruiting,

be informed and updated, but also expect to be

recognizing, and rewarding engaged fans.

social presence

2.7 million mentions 109k mentions

2.5 million mentions 38k mentions 1 million mentions 33k mentions

125k mentions 32k mentions

120k mentions

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NEW-STALGIA a time for analog

To have and to hold. No matter how much of our lives migrate up to the great digital cloud in the sky, there’s a visceral sense of connection that only the physical can evoke.

today.20 Research shows that 62%

on-line. They are cases of physical

read e—books digitally, but that

experiences, enabled by digital

78% yearn for the smell and feel


Humans are hardwired to find

renouncing digital technology;

meaning in tangibles, and the more we’re removed from them, the more we long for them. If absence makes the heart grow fonder, it’s easy to relate to how the young—and the young—at—heart— are fetishizing film cameras, typewriters and hand—written notes on letter—pressed stationary. We miss them too, after all. Nostalgia is a powerful trigger, and Millennials are far from impervious. In fact, they’re the most nostalgic of all age groups

of paper books.


This convergence of digital and physical surfaces an interesting tension point. Millennials aren’t they’re simply balancing the

Perhaps it’s simply a matter of evoking positive feelings of a safer and simpler time, but brands, artists, and products with high nostalgia value are finding ways to realign themselves with

rational benefits of digital

Millennials today.

technology, such as efficiency,

It’s worth noting that those who

value, and convenience, with the emotional connections of analog experiences. For evidence of the bridge

are doing it most effectively never lose sight of what works best for real people in both the physical and digital worlds.

between these two worlds, look no further than the exploding popularity of Etsy among Millennials. Or the new Polaroid camera, currently in production. Or the resurgence of vinyl


records, many of which are sold


Going to that new 4-star restaurant downtown on Saturday. Bring lunch to work this week. Need to save up for Coachella. No more Starbucks coffee runs. Want that new Alexander Wang bag. I’ll put off the front bumper repair on my car until next month…

forgo something lower on her list (“Do I really need

Welcome to the mind of the Millennial. She knows

willing to bend when it comes to building it. But

exactly what she wants and what she’ll do to get it, even if that means making a few sacrifices along the way. She’s a master at prioritizing and quick to

cable?”) in favor of what’s currently at the top (“Girls trip to Napa!”) We call this phenomenon the Trade-off Mentality. Millennials work brands into their lives as if managing a portfolio. Every logo, name, and brand ethos adds to a Millennial’s own personal brand, and she’s not today’s youth know that they can’t have it all. They make calculated decisions about when or what to buy from their list of pre—approved brands, and once they set their sights on a certain product or experience, they relentlessly pursue it until it's in their


hands. So the car repairs fall by the wayside for now. They go to Target for staple products. They put the gym membership on hold. Sometimes skimping on the “necessities” feels like a fair trade to our determined Millennial. Whereas previous generations would spend months, or even years, saving up for that down payment, new television, or vacation, Millennials aren’t waiting around. They want what they want —and they want it now. 59% identify themselves as “Spenders” as opposed to “Savers,” which can work in a brand’s favor if they know how to capitalize on the Millennial’s fickle sensibility and need for instant gratification. But marketers beware: think of Millennials as fair—weather fans—fiercely loyal until the next big thing comes along. Willing to make a trade and take advantage of what’s in front of them right now. So give them what they want: added value, new experiences, and a reason to keep buying in.

SUMMERTIME 2013 more work, less fun Oh, to be young and in college between the halcyon months of May and August. When long days of doing nothing are followed by longer nights of Pabst—soaked fun, and the liberating feeling of losing track of the date is eclipsed only by the

that leisure time is becoming more

Conversely, those who experience

limited; that our work—to—free—time

a surplus of leisure time, or “time

ratio is more imbalanced than

affluence,” are generally happier.

it was for previous generations. However, data from major time—use surveys suggest that Americans today actually have more free time than previous

There’s an opportunity for marketers to flip this perception on its head and to embrace a new measure of success that’s less tangible


and more accessible than money

there again in the fall to pick up

So where does the skewed

hard-working Millennials for their

right where you left off.

perception come from? It’s partly

dedication to their personal and

a function of our “always—on”

professional growth, while giving

culture with fewer boundaries

them an outlet to pack fun,

between work and play. But it’s

memorable experiences into a

also a result of that fact that we

condensed period of time, can

are working more hours, although

build real affinity.

reassurance that real life will be

Not this summer. According to a recent survey of college students,22 2013 marks the summer of austerity. Millennials are buckling down and getting serious about advancing their academic and professional careers. Rather than wasting days at the pool or beach with friends, they’re working hard to pay off financial obligations and get a jump on the

and power—time. Recognizing

not significantly so, and that the net time savings come from spending fewer hours on tasks at home. There are real consequences to

impending transition to the real world.

perceived Time Scarcity,

This reinforces a broader theme of

stress and diminished

time scarcity. That is, the perception

satisfaction with your life.24

including increased



OUTLOOKS generation y vs. generation z

gen y Even though the job market has been (and


(Gen Y vs. Gen Z)




still is) rough for most, Millennials are highly optimistic about the future. Their Boomer parents have assured them that they can (and should) do anything they want. They’re bound for success no matter what—at least in their minds.




gen z


Events like 9/11, the Recession and mass school shootings welcomed Gen Z to its formative




years. Because of this, they (rightfully) have a somewhat pessimistic view of the future. They’re very worried about jobs, money, geopolitical issues and macro bullying. They’ve got the bright eyes of babes but are cautious realists at heart.


the cause


(Gen Y vs. Gen Z, continued)

gen z

gen y Millennials care about global issues, but often

Even though most people still consider this

not enough to really get involved in the

group to be “just kids,” Gen Z is acutely

traditional sense. They have a great affinity

aware of the fact that the world isn’t all roses

for obtaining their “activism” badge with their

and sunshine. They realize the need to address

wallets or social media votes. Those tendencies

global issues and are big proponents of

have given this group the not—so—great title

actively confronting them.

of “slacktivists.” It isn’t that they don’t want to help, they just do it their own way. For example, they feel like they’ve fully done their part by “liking” a cause on Facebook.













(Gen Y vs. Gen Z, continued)

thoughts on smarts gen y While Millennials are one of the most educated generations to date, they’re also one of the most overqualified and underemployed. Because they entered the




job market just as the Recession was in full swing, they’ve developed a negative view of the ROI on the higher education.

gen z Gen Z was born into an overabundance of



access to information. They’ve never had to wonder about anything for long. It’s just a Google search away. They’ll admit to sometimes taking that for granted (if you push them), but for the most part, they put a high value on education. And they realize that the job market will be packed with more qualified candidates than ever before when they finally get there, and their competitive spirits drive them to learn everything they can—about everything.

digital divide gen y


(Gen Y vs. Gen Z, continued)

gen z

While they’ve been called Generation

Gen Z is the true Digital Native generation.

Wired, Millennials weren’t born into a world

They were born into a world where social

ruled by the Web. They watched the wires

networks were already becoming the primary

grow and evolved with them. They were

form of communication. They’ve never known

around for the creation of social networking.

a time when the Internet didn’t exist.

And they’re the last generation that’ll be able to tell their kids about a time when “you had to have a college e—mail to get on The Facebook.”




(Gen Y vs. Gen Z, continued)

gen y Millennials are known for having “liberal” tendencies. They largely believe in equal rights for all humans and in the government taking care of its constituents, whatever the cost. They’re an “instant gratification” generation, so they’re okay with spending



now and paying later.






gen z Surprisingly, the primary concern for Gen Z is the health of the economy. They’re already displaying conservative fiscal tendencies, expressing their desire to “do more with less.” And they’re largely anti—debt. They’ll defer getting what they want until they can actually pay for it, and they believe the government should do the same.


MILLENNIAL SNAPSHOTS omelet employees under 35


KATE, 23

Watching: Mad Men,

Watching: True Blood,

Portlandia, Arrested

Game of Thrones


On what: I don’t have cable,

On what: Netflix

so I watch using my iPad through HBO Go,



Comcast Xfinity and Netflix Listening to: Muse, Imagine Dragons, Alt-J On what: Radio, Spotify, Pandora

Listening to: Yeezus, Japanese 60s/70s group sounds and podcasts (Nerdist, WTF with Marc Ma-

Reading: Wired for Story, Y: The Last Man


On what: Hard copy

On what: Spotify, CD, iTunes Reading: Man Ray Autobiography On what: Paperback book



WILL, 18

Watching: Pretty Little Liars,

Watching: Mad Men,

Revenge, Dexter, Shameless,

Man of Steel, Arrested

Nashville, True Blood


On What: Apple TV, Hulu, HBO Go, DVR

On What: Computer – Netflix and

Listening to: Country Music

Listening to: The Smiths Playlist

On what: Spotify

On what: Pandora

Reading: The Green Mile by Stephen King

Reading: Lolita by Valdimir Nabokov

On what: When at home, I use the paperback

On What: Paperback book



version. While at work or on-the-go, I read it through the Kindle app on my Macbook Pro.

LIAM, 27

STRATEGY INTERN Watching: Scandal, Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Man of Steel, Teen Wolf On What: I don’t have cable right now, so I stream on-line through Hulu and network sites like ABC


Watching: Man of Steel, The Bachelorette, The Office, Masterchef, House of Cards On What: DirectTV, Netflix, Hulu, Playstation 3, Roku, Live TV (just sports)

and MTV

Listening to: Coldplay, Tiesto, The Strokes, The Cure,

Listening to: Miley Cyrus, Beyoncé, IconoPop,

On what: Spotify

Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke On what: iTunes, YouTube, Spotify

Swedish House Mafia, Jovanotti

Reading: Dante’s Inferno by Dante Alighieri On what: Paperback book

Reading: The Fall of Giants by Ken Follett On what: Paperback book


MILLENNIAL SNAPSHOTS omelet employees under 35

JAS, 24


Watching: Game


of Thrones, House

Newsroom, New Girl,

of Cards, Shameless,

House of Cards, Modern


Family, Stand—Up, Family Guy, Chopped, Game of

On what: Live TV, DVR, HBO Go, Netflix



Listening to: Hipster International Playlist on Spotify On what: Spotify Premium Reading: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell


On what: HBO Go, DVR, Netflix Listening to: Kickstarts, Imagine Dragons, Macklemore, Lana Del Rey On what: Pandora, car radio

On what: Paperback books

Reading: The Lover's Dictionary


ADAM, 26

Watching: Mad

Watching: Mad

Men, Falling Skies,

Men, Game of

Teen Wolf,

Thrones, New Girl

The Office, Parks

On what: Amazon

& Rec, 30 Rock, House

Instant Watch, HBO Go,

of Cards

and Netflix on my computer


On what: Paperback book


On What: Live TV, DVR, Netflix, iTunes Listening to: NPR Podcasts, Radiohead, Passion Pit, Listening to: Fall Out Boy, new Black Sabbath

Hipster International Playlist, Parquet Courts, Neil

album, Nero, Zed, Lorde. Podcasts (Joe Rogan

Young, Pavement, Katy Perry

Experience, Nerdist, The Indoor Kids)

On what: Spotify

On what: Spotify, iTunes Reading: Unbroken by Laura Hilldenbrand, This Reading: Mostly articles on-line on the following

Much I Know is True by Wally Lamb, and I Thought

websites: PopularScience, Wired, Gawker,

My Father Was God by Paul Auster

Buzzfeed, Huffington Post

On what: I always have a hard copy of the book

On what: Websites

on me at all times in case my iPad dies, or for airplanes. I also use iBooks.


the workshop

We’re self—identifying hoarders of intelligence. And

Each session is tailored to the audience, with a depth

even if we wanted to, we couldn’t possibly stuff all

of knowledge that ranges from basic training for the

the grey matter we’ve accumulated on Millennials

uninitiated to category—or—segment—specific

into a single report.

consultations for those looking to slice the data thinner.

So for those companies, organizations, and individuals

In every session, we cover trends, behaviors,

who want to get deeper inside this mindset, and up

and opportunities; we bust myths and challenge

their Gen Y IQs, we hold Millennials—on—Millennials

assumptions; we use tangible cases and


pop-culture examples to break down simple

In these sessions, Omelet’s resident Millennials and

and actionable insights.

audience experts tap into our reserves of intel and

If you’re interested in learning more about our

firsthand experience to help you crack this group.

workshops, just send a note to:

Not by talking at you, but rather by talking with you. By putting our expert witnesses on the stand for you

Sarah Ceglarski

to cross—examine. We’ve found that this participatory

approach helps quickly surface tension points and insights.


CONTRIBUTORS strategy Morgan Aceino, Brand Strategist Whitney Anderson, Director of Strategy Sarah Ceglarski, Director of Business Development Jas Gill, Junior Strategist Sean McNamara, Chief Strategy Officer Kevin Mernin, Strategy Intern Cristina Pedroza, Senior Brand and Business Analyst Liam Schaefer, Strategy Intern

creative Lauren Albee, Art Direction Intern Sarah Anderson, Executive Creative Director Sam Bauer, Copywriting Intern Clemente Bornacelli, ACD Christine Call, ACD Amanda Younger, Art Direction Intern

production Dena Gonzalez, VP, Production Michele Pappas, Designer


The Millennial Generation: Pro-Social and Empowered to

Hot 100—fun. Delivers:

Change the World:


ing-research.cfm/millennial-cause-study 2.

The Millennial Generation: Pro-Social and Empowered to Change the World:

3. 4.

Stress in America Findings: Study Finds Kids Take Longer To Reach Adulthood: http://


The Boomerang Generation: http://www.pewsocialtrends.

More than Half of Millennials Say Debt is Their Biggest Financial Concern:

lennials-more-work-less-fun 23. You Have More Time Than You Think: http://www.cnn. com/2013/06/21/opinion/dunn-norton-time-famine 24. America's Real Deficit Crisis: http://www.huffingtonpost. com/news/time-famine 25. Young, Underemployed and Optimistic: http://www.pewso-


Mintel - America’s Pet Owners, March 2013


10. The Boomer-Millennial Workplace Clash: Is it Real?: http:// 11. The 'Trophy Kids' Go to Work: 12. More than Half of Millennials Say Debt is Their “Biggest Financial Concern,” According to Wells Fargo Survey: https:// 13. This Woman Wants To Be Your Networking Wingman: http://

26. Meet Generation Z: meet-generation-z/ 27. 28. Generation Z: Rebels With A Cause: sites/onmarketing/2013/05/28/generation-z-rebels-with-acause/ 29. Generation Z – The New Philanthropists: http://koodooz.



31. Another Generation Rises: Looking Beyond the Millen-

14. 72 Percent Millennials Want To Be Their Own Boss: http:// 15. How Millennial Parents Will Change Families: http://www.

nials: NEWS02/130419988/another-generation-rises-looking-beyond-the-millennials# 32. Millennials: Diverse, Connected, and Committed to Sexual

Health and Rights:



16. Popular Vote 2012: Millennials Remain Underrepresented in Congress:

33. Pew poll (New York Times, 5 April 2013) 34. Another Generation Rises: Looking Beyond the Millen-





17. Why Facebook May Not Be Enough For The Next Generation: 18. Covered on 'Glee,' Synched for Super Bowl & No. 3 on the


log-physical-hot/#ixzz2XxNW8rLa 22. New Fluent Survey Reveals Summer 2013 Forecast For College Millennials: More Work, Less Fun:



The End of Courtship?:


21. Q&A on ‘Embracing Analog: Why Physical Is Hot’: http://

a737-938b93f57ac3.html fashion/the-end-of-courtship.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 7.

twitter-music-app-100-most-followed-musicians 20. As Millennials Get Nostalgic, Brands Can Take Advantage:


The End of Courtship?:

releases/stress/national-report.pdf 5.

19. The 100 Most Popular Musicians On Twitter: Get The Full List:




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Back Cover

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Wake Up: A Strategic Intel Report on Millennials  
Wake Up: A Strategic Intel Report on Millennials  

Tracking the elusive Millennial. For years now, it's been the subject of much scrutiny and debate among marketers. In these pages you'll f...