How Companies Are Using Memes and Sarcasm to Market to Millennials
By: Schuyler Swanson
In today’s world, technology is king, and the rapid ways in which it has transformed society and life as we know it can be seen everywhere. From self-driving cars to online shopping to electronic toothbrushes, just about every aspect of our lives seems to have been made easier thanks to technology. However, it’s not all sunshine and roses. Changes brought on by this new technological age have in some ways made things easier for marketers and in other ways made things much more difficult. While reaching consumers has perhaps never been easier in the history of mankind, getting people’s attention on the other hand, is proving to be much harder. The ease of getting information to the consumer has led to consumer’s getting bombarded with so much information they don’t know what to do with it, let alone are able to hardly process it all. According to a 2017 article on Forbes by Jon Simpson, Americans see an average of anywhere between 4,000 to 10,000 ads a day. After reading that number, think to yourself, what was the last 10 ads you saw? Most people probably won’t be able to remember, and that is why attention is so valuable for marketers today. Another problem marketers have been experiencing in this new age is marketing to millennials. A generation who grew up with technology and online advertisements, marketers have had to evolve to adapt to this new generation. There is a great infographic on the USC Dornsife website that breaks down a lot of the ways in which millennials differ from previous generations. A couple of stats that stand out are that when compared to Generation X and the Baby Boomers, millennials make up the smallest percentage of radio listeners, spend the least amount of time watching television, and make up the smallest percentage of magazine and newspaper readers. On the flip side, almost 90 percent of millennials spend time on social media and 82 percent of them interact with brands or retailers on social media. Additionally, nearly 50 percent of millennials follow their favorite brands or retailers on social media and another 38 percent discover brands or retailers on social media. If these numbers are any indicator, the key to reaching millennials may very well be through social media, but it can be a tricky path to take. Appealing to and garnering the attention of millennials on social media platforms while not coming off as robotic, out of touch, or ‘trying too hard’ takes careful balance and a solid understanding of millennial culture, millennial humor, and how millennials think. There have been a few big brands recently, most notably fast food restaurants such as Wendy’s and Burger King, who have been able to pull this off on Twitter using memes, trending jokes, and lots of sarcasm with tremendous amounts of success. Below I have a few of my recent favorite tweets from brands that were able to put up some pretty big numbers.
One of the advantages of brands using social media is the ability and ease it gives them to interact with consumers, customers, or fans almost instantly. This allows them to hear more customer complaints, answer more questions, and as we see here, have fun joking with fans. What’s amazing here is a two word response from SunnyD racked up over 78,000 retweets and 346,000 likes, bringing a lot of traffic and looks to the brand for little to no cost while making people laugh at the same time.
Social media can be a crazy place, and sometimes some of the things we see on there literally make absolutely no sense at all. That’s the humor in it though, it doesn’t have to make sense. Sometimes the more random the better, and Burger King fully embraced that with this tweet.
Another example of this is yet another SunnyD tweet seen above. Something else that is becoming more and more common in this sphere is big brands having regular conversations with other big brands. Not only is it comical to see Pop-Tarts and MoonPie having a random conversation with SunnyD, but it makes the brands appear more friendly, down to Earth, and human to the public.
Perhaps no one has perfected using social media as a way to better reach millennials as Wendy’s has. They have steadily build up a reputation for roasting people, whether it be an ordinary customer or Mr. Peanut. Some of their tweets may appear to be pushing the boundaries of what we would normally consider is acceptable for a big brand to say in public but we are in a new age. Pushing the boundaries and breaking out of that stereotypical corporate mold helps brands stand out and appear rebellious, something that is very attractive to the younger aged millennials.
In conclusion, social media is likely to continue to play an important part in how brands market towards millennials. It is cheap, efficient, and a lot of the times you don’t even have to actually be promoting or advertising a specific product of yours to grab the attention of consumers. It is not always easy though, as one mishap can lead to a PR nightmare, so while it can be lighthearted and fun, marketing on social media still always needs to be taken as seriously as marketing on any other medium would. Additionally, social media, like technology in general, is always rapidly changing and evolving, so in order to keep the consumers attention on this platform, brands have to be in a constant state of change and development to keep up with the platform and target audiences.
As we get older, we forget who it is that we wanted to be; is that true? I think part of it is. I remember aspiring to be a famous author, professional basketball player, or well-known artist. A younger version of myself couldn’t find a reason why I wouldn’t be able to be all three. Now, I want to make sure that I have enough money to pay rent. My goals and aspirations have shifted over the years. However, some things about myself haven’t changed since then. I still have a wild imagination and want to make sure I have an impact on this world. Reading fiction has had a large impact on my life and these stories have always been my favorites to delve into, for a variety of reasons. Fantasy stories can play an important role in building critical thinking skills, empathy, and even help in finding positive role models.
Fiction can create scenarios we never even thought possible. This helps broaden a person’s imagination, which many times develops into creativity and helps apply critical thinking. This happens because not every story gives the reader a sense of closure. Sometimes, the reader is left only to their imagination about what could have happened after the last words on the final page. When reading we often think we know how a situation is going to play out and what the outcome might be. Maybe that comes from our experiences, things we have read in the past, or maybe we just have an expectation about how a story is supposed to move forward. I prefer a story in which I am not given that closure, then I am forced to use my imagination and come up with alternative outcomes. You’re given the perspective of multiple characters, and every single one has a different personality, motivation, and ending to their story. This helps build a sort of empathy for the characters in the story, which will hopefully translate to real world situations.
Developing a sense of empathy for characters that may not exist in the real world seems like an odd concept, but characters in fictional stories almost always reflect real people. So, in a way, understanding fictional characters can give the reader insight on how people function in the real world, and how they may tend to hide their true feelings and emotions. Understanding that fact is important when working with other people and figuring out how to deal with different social situations. Fiction often presents the idea that not every person’s life is exactly what it seems to be on the outside. My experience reading fantasy novels has helped me improve upon how I treat people and taught me to handle situations with more sensitivity and, ultimately, more empathy. In fact, some of the most influential characters in fiction novels are the ones that have an immense amount of empathy. These types of personas that we read about could play a more important role in our day to day lives than we realize.
Sometimes these fictional characters can give us, even as adults, people to look up to, someone to help mold our ideas of who it is that we want to be. An important step into what makes a human being successful, is the drive to always be better than you currently are. If I am constantly improving myself as a person, then ideally, I am improving my impact on the people around me. The characters that we find in fictional stories can be so influential that, as a reader, you find yourself caring for them. At times, it can feel like their decisions matter and you genuinely care about the choices they make. Luckily, a lot of stories end happily, and you see those characters in a positive light; good defeating evil seems to be a common theme. These role models, from tales that could never be true, carry their influence into the real world. The reader might strive to make more of an impact, just as their favorite hero did.
Reading is truly important. It has helped people calm down from tense situations and rest a little easier. It greatly enhances vocabulary and expands knowledge for all. For some people it has provided an escape from the real world and given them positive role models to follow. There are a multitude of obvious reasons to read books, and fiction stories should not be left out. Fantasy novels have improved my imagination and creativity, while helping me apply those skills to critical situations. I know and understand people a little more after diving into fiction. It has given me insight on how to best interact with others in various situations. Reading has given me positive people to look up to, admire and strive to simulate. Find a way to be better than you are already; pick up a book about old kings, magic, elves or dragons and remember the imagination that made being a kid so much fun.
By: Cole Anderson
1. God is an Astronaut
Instrumental music is crucial when studying requires your full attention and vocals are only going to distract you. With nine studio albums since they formed in 2002, God is an Astronaut is a post-rock style band that blends traditional rock instrumentation with electronic features to create an upbeat and vibey sound without losing their authentic rock feel.
If you’re looking for something a little edgier to go along with your late night contemplations of dropping out and moving back in with your parents, Tool’s third studio album “Lateralus” is a great place to start. Classified as an alternative metal band, Tool’s music has an intensity level high enough to keep you alert without having to resort to that third Red Bull.
3. Hans Zimmer Soundtracks
If you’re ever experiencing a lack of motivation while studying, it never hurts to throw on the Interstellar or The Dark Knight Rises soundtrack for a spark of inspiration. Hans is a go-to when responsibility knocks at your door at the eleventh hour and you have to start a paper you should have started weeks ago. The forcefulness of the music combined with a dose of Adderall (doctor prescribed, of course) will make you feel as if you are on a mission from God to do the impossible and get that A you probably don’t deserve.
Kygo has a lot of great music if you have been walking across campus in single digit temperatures all day and would rather be on a beach somewhere. Kygo’s bubbly sound can help just about anyone keep a positive attitude during stressful times and see the light at the end of the tunnel during finals week. If you’re in need of a pick me up, put on Kygo’s debut album “Cloud Nine” and turn that corner of the library into your own tropical paradise.
A mellower alternative that should not go overlooked is Emancipator. With a very hedonic and almost spiritual sound, Emancipator’s instrumentals are a great way to entertain your ears while doing your schoolwork. To this date Emancipator has released five studio albums, all of which are ideal for tuning out distractions while checking things off your to-do list.
And there you have it, get familiar with some of these artists to help you get through your next big study day!
Are you looking for a cute wall piece to liven up your living room, or a cute meaningful gift for someone that is hard to buy for? Why spend a ton of money at a department stores for decorations or gifts, when you could simply make them yourself!
I have always been one for arts and crafts, and with pinterest constantly filling my head with crafty ideas and do it yourself projects, string art just looked and sounded something cool to do! If you know how to handle a hammer and can tie a knot, this project should be easy and fun.
Here are my steps start to finish to help you to successfully make a beautiful and one of a kind string art project perfect for a gift, or simply as a decoration in your own home. Trust me, people will be asking where you got them.
Lets Get Started!
Step 1: Tools and Supplies
First you must decide what kind of material you would like to work with( wood, canvas, etc.), and collect all of the supplies you will need. In this project, here is a list of the supplies used:
- Wood (size is optional, however it must be at least a half inch thick to ensure nails can be hammered deep enough to prevent them from coming loose)
- Nails- (16mm-25.4mm long)
- String (color is optional)
- Printed string art pattern or stencil
- Hot glue gun (optional)
- Wood Stain (optional)
- Paintbrush (optional)
Step 2: Hammer Time!
For this project, I chose to print out an outline, and tape it to my surface. If you would rather, you can draw the image straight on the surface, and follow the lines that way. The benefit of taping your outline onto the board is that you can remove the stencil later on and not have unwanted lines left behind. It also makes following the pattern very simple and easy.
As you can see in the pattern above, the lines are quite complex. If this is your first time attempting string art, I would suggest a less intricate stencil, and work your way up to more difficult patterns.
When hammering the nails, space them about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch apart.
Once you have finished hammering, go back through and make sure each nail is secure. This is VERY important to do to ensure that while stringing, the nails will not be pulled out, or loosen. This is also crucial to do before the outline is removed because when pulling the outline off, nails that are not secure will come out.
After removing the outline, I chose to stain the piece of wood in order to create a more bold background for the string to stand out from. This step is optional, however, it definitely adds to the piece.
Step 3: Ready, Set, STRING!
For this project, I decided to do a thick cross string pattern.
Essentially, there is no pattern to follow, simply begin by tying a double knot around one nail, this will be your starting point. Be sure to leave a long tail to connect your end piece of string with. From there, create the outline for your pattern by looping the string around the outer points of the pattern.
Once you have the outline strung up, begin crossing the string through out out the nails and fill in the pattern. Decide whether you want your pattern to look more ‘holey’, meaning the board beneath is visible, or more filled in where you cannot see the board.
Step 4: Finishing Touches
This step is just for tying up all the loose ends. (Literally)
Be sure that the string is tight and you have gotten the look you want. For extra securing purposes, use a hot glue gun to glue the two trimmed end pieces that are tied together. This is of course optional, however it does help the piece to last for years to come.
Katie Buckley is a University of Montana Senior in pursuit of a Marketing Degree as well as a certificate in Event Management. She loves Pinterest and gains a lot of her DIY inspiration from the creativity of others and hopes to share her own ideas projects with the world and inspire others.