In this blog post, we speak about how brands approach millennials ads. We will discuss why they aren't working but also what should be done instead.

I recently read that H&M is launching a luxury brand for millennials. I’m not sure if it’s their best brand decision, considering it’s a huge risk (and their numbers weren’t so great last Christmas) but they aren’t the first brand to go in that direction. Apple has done it with the iPhone X and even industries like banking  are doing ads targeting millennials.

The argument is always the same: millennials are the future. They are the current/future workers, buyers, and citizens and therefore, brands need to be aware of what they want and how to communicate with and for them.

The thing is: companies are doing the opposite. They are driving millennials away.

So what’s wrong with the “millennial approach”?

The main problem isn’t the fact that companies want to create products for millennials, there is nothing wrong with that. The problem lies in the fact that every single commercial and strategy is beginning to look a lot like one big bundle of millennial cliches. I’m a millennial and most of the times I roll my eyes because they simply have nothing to do with me. Often they sound like they just invented that on the fly or decided to do the same as their competitor.

In my opinion, industries are approaching their target as if all of the millennials like to do exactly the same things and could be placed in categories like “outgoing”, “hip”, “social media addicts” and so on. Please stop doing that. Yes, we like to follow trends but are not all the same and we can also smell bullshit from miles apart. Have I mentioned that we are very skeptical? Or at least, I am.

Mockery and one of many great ads from last year

In 2017, there were some who made fun of the “all-in-one” adds. The first ones that come to my mind are SNL’ Levi Wokes and a “Generic Millennial Ad” created by And/Or studio and Dissolve.

Both of them mock the fact that brands try to make general assumptions like we all use abbreviations, we all feel unique and more relevant and we define everything that’s going on. I laugh when I saw these but unfortunately, most of the last year’ commercials used these premises.

On the other hand, and because, everything isn’t bad, there were a few who got it right. Like this campaign from PSP, the Portuguese public police or, – my favorite one – from Turismo de Portugal. These guys really got it right.

PSP managed to do a “fake campaign” that got everyone talking about. The concept was that if you’d go out and had a few drinks, you should call a free line and blow onto your smartphone microphone to find out if you are ok to drive or not. The truth is that the line was bogus. And if you were calling because you were worried about how many drinks you had, that means that you probably had a few too many and should call a taxi instead of driving. Simple and genius.

Turismo de Portugal manage to use concepts like the lack of time and overworking to engage with millennials.

Because is so relatable, it feels like a direct conversation between the characters and the viewers. Also, it’s quite mesmerizing, with some many beautiful shots of Portugal.

That’s why these two represent two great approaches to getting millennials attention. They both approach concerns that we have and experience every day (even with the drinking issue, because there’s always someone we know that drinks and drives).

Check the video below and leave your feedback as a millennial or otherwise. Let me know if you feel there should be new campaign approaches 💁‍♀️


Also published on Medium.