On Thursday I attended The American Advertising Federation’s Mosaic Career Fair in Chicago. It was a great time with lots of networking and excitement about the future of my career!
After the recruiting part was over, Diego Figueroa from Lapiz spoke. He talked about HumanKind which is, basically, the brainchild from Leo Burnett and a new way of thinking about diversity in advertising . The entire presentation was filled with valuable information, but I wanted to share some of the bigger concepts I took away from it.
The way Millennials see diversity is completely different from any previous generations. Broken up by generations,
The Silent Generation (1925-1945) rejected diversity
The Baby Boomers (1946-1964) tolerated diversity
Generation X (1965-1980) accepted diversity
But now, Millennials (1981-2000) attract diversity
Millennials are not just seeing diversity as something that needs to be incorporated into their lives, they are seeking out diverse cultures. Diego referenced a study from OkCupid, which revealed that younger users (18-35) select to have their profiles sent to five or more races, whereas older users (35+) select to have their profile sent to only their race. Millennials aren’t color blind either, which Diego noted was a part of Gen X’s acceptance period. Younger people are celebrating their culture and who they, and the people around them, are. And while most things Millennials do are trendy, diversity is not a trend- it’s here to stay.
So, how is this shift in thinking affecting human behavior? People are seeking out and enjoying other cultures. This is making American culture richer as well, now we are not just American, but a compilation of all these different cultures. This is leading us to a new American culture, one in which you’ll find parts of one culture mingling with another. It truly is a melting pot, and it’s never been more beautiful or engaging.
“But AdWorldLiz, what’s this got to do with advertising,” you ask? Oh, so much! Millennials are seeking out other cultures. Your ad running on Telemundo might just be seen by white and black people alike. There’s no longer a need to worry your celebratory cultural ad will turn off people from other backgrounds. Well, at least when we’re talking about typical Millennials.
Let’s not get carried away, diversity still has a long way to go. We can’t forget all the criticism Coke received from their It’s Beautiful campaign. To be frank, most of the complaints I saw were from older people, which makes sense given the information above. Millennials may be growing in market power and moving our country forward, but they’re still a small segment of it.
Bottom line: If you’re going to advertise to Millennials, than you celebrate diverse cultures as hard as you can/want. If you’re target falls somewhere closer to Baby Boomers, maybe stick with something closer to what you’ve been doing. We can encourage and foster change but we can’t do it overnight.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this new “attraction” to diversity. Have you seen this change affecting your own behavior? Have you noticed different cultures being more celebrated in mainstream culture? Let me know by tweeting @AdWorldLiz