Millennials or Gen Y or whatever nitwit cliche you want to use to describe people born between 1980 and 2000 are the current obsession of the marketing industry.
I have a daughter right smack in the middle of this group. She is a lovely, wonderful, intelligent, well-educated, hard-working person. But she is... I guess the polite term would be "economically challenged."
A good deal of what she owns and buys is subsidized by her beloved parents. She is not alone. The economic data for this group is, unfortunately, disheartening.
As an example, people under the age of 34 buy only about 10% of all new cars. And the younger half of this cohort, 18-24, buy only 1% of new cars*. Facts, however, never seem to trump stupidity in the marketing industry.
According to a piece in last Friday's New York Times entitled Trying To Be Hip And Edgy, Ads Become Offensive...
"Some of the biggest names in marketing, including Ford Motor, General Motors, Hyundai Motor, Reebok and PepsiCo, have been forced recently to apologize to consumers who mounted loud public outcries against ads that hinged on subjects like race, rape and suicide."Why are advertisers getting into deep shit over this stuff?
“It’s the pressure to create ‘viral’ advertising, the urge to get more views online, that leads people to push the envelope,” said Tor Myhren, president and chief creative officer at Grey New York. He added that another contributing factor was the focus on younger consumers. “There’s so much ‘How do we speak to millennials?’ in meetings,” he said.Here's what I want to know. Why do car makers -- three of the five marketers mentioned above -- even bother with millennials? 90% of the people who will buy new cars are not these people. Yet they remain the obsession of these boneheads -- I mean, marketing leaders.
Let's give this some perspective.
According to Gallup, about 10% of Americans speak German. When was the last time you were watching TV or surfing the web and you saw an ad in German? The logic of American car manufacturers targeting millennials is equivalent to McDonald's running ads in German.
So why are auto marketers obsessed with 10% of their market to the detriment of 90%?
Right. Because they are fucking idiots.
*Several people have asked recently where my automotive data comes from. The answer is RL Polk.