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Phd plans book final

  2. 2. The PHD WorldWide-Grady Creative Collective, now in its second year, is a collaborative research project that challenges a team of graduating advertising students at the University of Georgia to build consumer insights on Millennials. As Millennials replace Baby Boomers and become the largest consumer generation in history, marketers are trying to keep up with the language and habits of the “digital native.” By 2015, Millennials will become the primary influencers in the United States, with an estimated $900 billion in spending power in the economic marketplace, and their habits will determine technological advancements, social behavior and political movements. Further study into this emerging consumer force brings insights into the future opportunities and challenges for advertisers. Through focus groups, in-depth interviews and surveys, the Creative Collective tapped into the habits and opinions of Millennials who are still in school and in the workforce.This research provided insights into the respondents’ media usage, particularly in hot technologies, as well as their use and attitudes toward digital advertising, device context, television, Facebook and brand relationships. As the Creative Collective, we present this plans book as a summary of our findings.We hope it provides you with a better understanding of Millennial consumer behavior and media usage. We are Millennials. This is our generation. Our immense gratitude to the people of PHD Worldwide, our trusted professors at Grady College, and all those that made this project possible. We’re excited to share our thoughts and knowledge, and we hope that our insights about Millennials and their behavior will be beneficial to you. 1
  3. 3. Table of Contents The PHD Creative Collective Hot Technologies Context, Content & Devices The Ever Presence of Digital Television & Multi-Video Content The Evolution of Facebook Storytelling Stephanie Wright & Chelsea Franklin Rebecca Hoerner Lucas Holt JoAnn Anderson Christabel Belonwu Asia Martin-Ingram 2 5 21 41 53 63 31
  4. 4. The Phd Creative Collective Hot Technologies Chelsea Franklin Advertising I Spanish Hot Technologies Stephanie Wright Advertising Context, Content & Devices Rebecca Hoerner Advertising I New Media 3
  5. 5. The Ever Presence of Digital Advertising Lucas Holt Advertising Television & Multi-Video Content JoAnn Anderson M.A., Advertising The Evolution of Facebook Christabel Belonwu Advertising I New Media Storytelling Asia Martin-Ingram Advertising I Psychology 4
  6. 6. Hot Technologies How do young adults learn about the “cool new thing” in technnology? How do consumers decide what makes something “blow up”? What kind of relationships do Millennials have with a Laptop vs. Tablet vs. Smartphone?
  7. 7. CHELSEA FRANKLIN & STEPHANIE WRIGHT PHD Creative Collective I The University of Georgia Chelsea Franklin The product of a single mother, my media knowledge has elevated me to the respected position of “Technology Educator” of the household. After I have explained the many functions and uses of her iPad to my mom time and again, she still uses it in a clunky Baby Boomer way. And now, she never hesitates to use it as a camera in the middle of crowded restaurants (among other, rather embarrassing tactics).What can I say? We come from two starkly different generations. I am and advertising major and a Millennial. I spend a lot of time with and around social media, devices, and technology trends. It’s in the fabric of my being, the core of my studies, and the topic of conversation with, well, everyone. Constantly busy, I find social media is a way to express and celebrate my daily activities. It’s something I think about often and I check, refresh, and update even more often. My actions on social media are intended, deliberate, and planned. Not every picture makes the Instagram cut, and not every idea is tweeted. If there aren’t enough “likes” on a status update, I’ll delete it. I don’t own an iPad AND...I wouldn’t be caught dead taking pictures with it if I had one. Just like many other Millennials, I develop my personal brand across social media platforms and through various devices. My MacBook Pro is my home-base. Here, while I work using email, checking Linkedin and finishing assignments, I maintain a Black Keys Pandora station just at the perfect volume. Close by, my always-shattered iPhone sits. It is close by because I need it. My phone keeps me plugged-in when I’m at home and on the go. Stephanie Wright I was born in Canada, immigrated to the land of the free at the age of eight and became an American citizen ten years later. Early exposure to these two cultures was instrumental in establishing my worldview. I learned that most of us are searching for validation from our peers, friends and loved ones and are quick to adopt technology that allows for the magical moment of connection to occur. When we moved, we were separated from our family by thousands of miles and were forced to communicate with them through machines. From the first time a computer entered our household, I was glued to the keyboard, trying to figure out how to play with this new toy. I am a self-proclaimed advertising nerd whose passion for advertising is fueled by a curiosity about human behavior and a love of communication technology. While not all Millennials share my passion for advertising, many share my fascination with technology and keeping up with the latest technology trends. 6
  8. 8. PHD Creative Collective I The University of Georgia Question: CHELSEA FRANKLIN & STEPHANIE WRIGHT Hot Technologies With our ever-changing technology landscape, where new applications and iOS updates are available daily, it seems nearly impossible to stay current, fresh, and up-to- date. Still, Millennials effortlessly complete this daunting task. Our networks, both digital and personal, aid in our search for the next big thing. The click of a tab or the refresh of a feed allows us to quickly test the newest technology and draw immediate assumptions regarding its potential for our further use. If we don’t know how to do something, we simply “Google it.” We are quick to analyze, even quicker to judge, and have a strict check-list of prerequisites pending our adoption of a new application or device.There are simply far too many options to waste time on the unnecessary. The Millennial generation’s ability to sift through the technology in order to decide what is noteworthy is a task easily completed through crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is the modern definition of teamwork for Millennials. The Network Effect As Millennials, we base our identity on our primal need to stay socially relevant and connected. Similar to other generations, the urge to communicate is central to the formation of our identities. As such, we crave the approval of our immediate peer groups (even if “immediate” includes our 2,000+ Facebook friends).We are also more likely to adopt trends and habits from peers in order to sidestep our generation’s greatest phobia-- the fear of missing out. The Fear Of Missing Out: anxiety created by the perception of being uninformed, irrelevant and out-of-date. How do young adults learn about the “cool new thing” in technnology? 7
  9. 9. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaCHELSEA FRANKLIN & STEPHANIE WRIGHT Hot Technologies Innovation Influencers Technology blogs,YouTube channels and distinguished tweeters serve as funnels through which the newest knowledge on digital developments is filtered for Millennials. These sources serve as trusted “experts” whose messages and updates are retweeted, reblogged, shared and disseminated to the masses. Individuals who subscribe to these technological advisors have an interest outside of their motivation to connect with friends. Many of those we talked to who avidly seek out of new technological knowledge are majors or minors in mass communication, technology, or new media fields. If an innovation receives positive feedback from the majority of the contributors in social media, these digital enthusiasts then share their discoveries with their friends and families who are less technologically savvy. It is through this chain of events that software and technology recommendations pass in order for the technology to be accepted for use by the general public. Simplicity is the Key Millennials respond to brands that emphasize simplicity, productivity, and customizability in the construction of their electronics. This is one reason that Apple products are widely used by Millennials. In our online survey of University of Georgia students, 75% of respondents cited the iPhone as their smartphone of choice due to it’s ability for updates to be seamlessly integrated into all of their devices. 8
  10. 10. CHELSEA FRANKLIN & STEPHANIE WRIGHT PHD Creative Collective I The University of Georgia Insights Socialgraphics A primary motivation for us to adopt new technologies is to remain in contact with our social network. Consequently, our personal preferences are sometimes secondary to the preferences of those with whom we associate. This herd mentality is a major determinant of whether or not a technology is considered “cool” in the eyes of Millennials. This mindset is so ingrained into Millennials that one female in our focus groups explained that she bought a smartphone because her friends used it. “I purchased my first smartphone out of peer pressure and the desire to be ‘with it.’” According to a report by in 2012, the class of consumers who use mobile technology cannot be defined by traditional demographics such age, gender, income or race. Instead, it is defined by its members’ shared behaviors or socialgraphics. Understanding the common behavioral traits that unite Millennials makes its members easy to recognize and underscores the influence this group has on the way we communicate, consume and shop. Grabbing and keeping the attention of the Millennial consumer has never been more difficult. Navigating between multiple devices and technology platforms throughout the day is the norm for us. However, there are certain requirements that have to met in order for Millennials to consider adding an electronic device or a new application into their daily routine. If advertisers want us to use it, it must be easy to navigate and useful. Female: “I only have so much time at my disposal and technology has to be simple in order for me to even consider starting to use it.” Hot Technologies 9
  11. 11. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaCHELSEA FRANKLIN & STEPHANIE WRIGHT Question: How do consumers decide what makes something “blow up”? Keeping up with the latest technology is no longer a pastime for nerds, but instead, a prerequisite to facilitate everyday conversation. The phrase “keeping up with the Joneses,” is no longer about the neighborhood gossip that your new C-class car will generate, but how many “mentions,” “likes,” or “comments” you can earn across your social media platforms. From Instagramming yesterday’s brunch to contributing to the content of our favorite TV show, Millennials are cultural curators who specialize in digital communication-- and it’s all based on our need to socialize. “Popularity” has been replaced by “trendability,” and whether or not your contribution strikes a relevant chord among users worldwide. But what drives this inherent need for validation from our peers? The desire and ability to feel linked to our fellow Millennials is how we’re wired and modern technology has facilitated that need by breaking down the physical barriers of communication experienced by older generations. Those who discover the key to creating content that goes viral have the power to engage Millennials. So what makes something go viral? We agree with what Kevin Allocca, YouTube’s Trends Manager, said about the three elements that contribute to videos going viral: tastemakers, communities of participation and unexpectedness. Tastemakers These are people who are digitally “trusted”, those whose opinions carry weight and whose preferences are quickly adopted by others.With social media applications, tastemakers are the first people to set up accounts and the first to convince their friends to do the same.We are aware of these tastemakers, and often look to them for our next step in the world of technology. Sometimes, these people are celebrities, and their outright endorsements or their general use lead us to act similarly. Once these initial Tastemakers establish a presence, we join in, creating a community of similar interest.Tastemakers introduce us to new and interesting things, form an opinion about them and then introduce them to a larger audience. Tastemakers influence the social media networks we use, but also the information we pass on to each other. Looking at our followers, friends and who we follow can be telling when it comes to finding out who the tastemakers are in our social networks. Hot Technologies10
  12. 12. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaCHELSEA FRANKLIN & STEPHANIE WRIGHT Communities of Participation We don’t just enjoy entertainment, we participate in it. Our need to be heard is a direct result of our urge to engage with people who have similar interests. With social media, and online videos, we have the opportunity to be validated, and to openly and visually gain the approval of our peers. We like content that we can adapt and make our own. Sites such as Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter allow us to seek out and choose the groups we want to be associated with, and to share with the people whose opinions we value. We now feel some ownership of content that is produced in our own pop culture. We now feel some ownership of content that is produced in our own pop culture. Hot Technologies 11
  13. 13. Unexpectedness In order to develop the stickiness factor in the minds of Millennials, digital communications have to break out of the pattern of the established norm.This can be done by creating communications that combine surprising elements with humor to generate a unique form of entertainment that cannot be found in any message or video that came before it. A recent example of a video that successfully went viral was the Harlem ShakeYouTube video which, according to Youtube, was first posted by The Sunny Coast Skate on February 2, 2013. It spawned communities of participation, many of which became even more popular than the original. For example, on February 11th, the University of Georgia men’s swim team posted a version that achieved more than18 million hits in the first week. It benefited from all three of the elements mentioned above.Viewing for this video really took off after its initial appearance on theToday Show on February 13th. Following its exhibition to the masses on a popular television show (a tastemaker), it has received nationwide attention from countless blogs and news sources.The unexpectedness delivered by this video was the the unexpected twist of filming the video underwater. Several other college swim teams posted their own versions of the video. The idea, in theory, was a simple one. But the unconventional execution was something that had never been attempted by previous curators and as a result became incorporated into pop- culture. Within four weeks of being posted, the UGA swim team Harlem Shake video achieved more than 32 million hits onYoutube. Hot Technologies PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaCHELSEA FRANKLIN & STEPHANIE WRIGHT 12
  14. 14. The Age of the Feed One of the most common initiators of conversations in the vernacular of Millennials is “Did you see what so-and-so posted on their Timeline/Twitter/Instagram?” We feel an internal validation when the posts we publish to our social media accounts receive feedback in the form of comments,“likes” and retweets. As a result, micro-celebrities emerge and are lauded for their oversharing by allowing complete strangers to become a captive audience to their lives.We become their following, tossing our thumbs up, red hearts and stars as if we were patting them on the back in real life. Female: “I don’t fall asleep without checking my Twitter, getting on Facebook, looking at Instagram, going back to Twitter to check to make sure that I didn’t miss anything important.” Advertisers who push out new content that can be consumed by Millennials via social media (through their celebrity spokespeople or these micro-celebrities) are more likely to be considered relevant and current. If an advertiser has an ad before a video that is going viral, it will be more likely to be seen by Millennials. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaCHELSEA FRANKLIN & STEPHANIE WRIGHT Insights Hot Technologies 13
  15. 15. Question: What types of relationships do Millennials have with a Laptop vs. Tablet vs. Smartphone? The Millennial generation’s exposure to advancements in technology and communication have created our fluency with technology and fueled our desire to communicate. Three technological devices have been adopted by our generation and serve as facilitators of consumption and communication for Millennials. They are the laptop, the tablet and the smartphone. Although their uses overlap in many ways, we tend to have a unique relationship with each. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaCHELSEA FRANKLIN & STEPHANIE WRIGHT Hot Technologies14
  16. 16. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaCHELSEA FRANKLIN & STEPHANIE WRIGHT Laptop Our Baby Millennials’ laptops are generally the technological hub that stores all of our precious digital information. From our credit card numbers to our photographed memories, all of the data that we have to our name can be found inside this portable 13” to 17” device. As a result, our laptop is invaluable, so it needs to kept safe and sound. If our laptop is stolen or a virus infiltrates our firewalls, we are at risk of having our financial and personal security jeopardized. Consequently, we treat our laptops as our pseudo-children. Whenever it’s acting strange, we check for viruses so we can alleviate the problem. When it’s broken, we take it to a specialist to figure out what’s wrong. We cradle it in protective layers to make sure it doesn’t get dented or scratched. Sometimes we dress it up with stickers to show the world it belongs to us.We feed it power to make sure that it will stay alive. Additionally, the software that we choose to download onto our laptops transforms a mass-produced product into an extension of ourselves by allowing us to pursue our passions.The Millennial’s laptop is a toolbox equipped with the applications that can transform our raw creativity into the building blocks of productivity through which we can measure their achievements. From scattered notes to term papers, shaky mobile videos to viral phenomena, and disorganized business plans to successful startups, the laptop’s host of applications paired with its ease-of- mobility, equip the on-the-go Millennial with resources to accomplish tasks that were once only possible under the fluorescent buzz of an office cubicle.Therefore, we treasure our laptops not only because of their fiscal value, but also because of how essential their capabilities are to fulfilling our dreams. Hot Technologies 15
  17. 17. Retail Catalog Millennials often prefer to shop online. With all of our personal financial information stored on one device, the laptop serves as conduit through which Millennials can access the world of Internet commerce. Past purchases are saved and stored so that online retailers can customize their product suggestions to our preferences. Everything from age, geography, life stage and social profiles play a part in offering a more relevant and valuable shopping experience. Having access to limitless information through the Internet allows us to instantly compare prices to find the best deal and comb through reviews posted by other customers to see if that product is worth purchasing. Favorite online retailers can be bookmarked for future transactions.The larger screen and higher quality resolution of our laptops permits us to examine the features of the product in detail.The full keyboard allows consumers to easily enter billing and shipping information without having to worry about the consequences of a potential slip of clumsy thumbs. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaCHELSEA FRANKLIN & STEPHANIE WRIGHT Hot Technologies16
  18. 18. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaCHELSEA FRANKLIN & STEPHANIE WRIGHT Tablet A Luxury The emergence of tablet computers has provided a new device format for users to enjoy access to a wide variety of digital experiences and information. However, with the abundance of devices that are available, most Millennials still perceive owning a tablet to be more of a luxury than a necessity.The high-price point of tablets provides an economic barrier to the majority of Millennials who are living paycheck to paycheck and are trying to pay off their student loans. Furthermore, our research found that tablets are perceived by our generation as a glorified iPhone in that they offer the same features as a smartphone, but with a larger screen. According to a June 2012 study by Google reported by, about 37% of tablet owners are between the ages of 18-34. As of March 2012, approximately 19% of 18- 34 year olds reported owning a tablet.This number is expected to continue to increase in 2013. The Entertainer So, what is the cause of this device’s popularity? According to a research paper by Google in October 2012 titled “Understanding Tablet Use:A Multi- Method Exploration” tablets are being used primarily to enhance recreation and leisure experiences and have become the new center for living room entertainment.The most popular activity to do with a tablet was reported to be watching TV with more than 60% of respondents reporting using their tablet for this. Respondents told Google that they were using their tablets to enhance their TV experience “by extending that activity through, for example, looking up related information about the program that they were watching.” However, the researchers also found that many of the participants just used TV as background noise while checking their email and doing other things completely unrelated to watching TV.This trend in tablet usage is supported by a report released by Flurry Analytics in October 2012 that provided details about how tablets are mainly being used during the evening and prime-time cable hours. Hot Technologies 17
  19. 19. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaCHELSEA FRANKLIN & STEPHANIE WRIGHT Smartphone Our Buddy The ability to communicate instantly with people regardless of our location is a luxury that Millennials have come to expect.A direct line of communication to individuals was available to everyone who owned a mobile phone since their mass distribution to the public in 1995 when Millennials were between the ages of about 3 and 14 years old. Consequently, the evolution of the device to allow for Millennials to connect with one another at all times was embraced and incorporated into the fabric of the modern relationship.Whether or not you owned a mobile phone became instrumental in determining with whom you communicated on a daily or hourly basis. Through our research, Millennials told us that the primary motivator for them to acquire a smartphone was whether or not their friends had one. Owning a smartphone fulfills our inherent need for connection and diffuses our fear of missing out by allowing us to communicate through a variety of channels instantaneously. The Fifth Limb During the past 10 years, the mobile phone’s functionality has evolved from a simple communication tool to an appendage that Millennials say they can’t live without. For many people in GenerationY, the last thing we do before we go to bed is check our smartphones and it’s often the first thing we reach for in the morning when we wake up. According to Mashable (2012), two out of five Millennials said “they would feel anxious, like a part of me is missing” if they couldn’t use their smartphone to stay connected. It is part of us. As a result, checking our smartphone throughout the day has become a reflex and that has turned a device into an extension of the human body. We use it for information, commerce and shopping, entertainment and social networking. By allowing for the integration of countless applications onto one single device, the mobile phone has incorporated the functions of radios, newspapers, digital cameras and computers. Hot Technologies18
  20. 20. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaCHELSEA FRANKLIN & STEPHANIE WRIGHT Insights Technology is Both Enabling and Debilitating Technology doesn’t define the Millennial generation but instead it reflects their values. Our generation lives with the luxury of having a library’s worth of knowledge at our fingertips with a single search and has an expectation to be able to access that information on-demand. Social networks break down barriers that allow you to friend or follow someone from any race, creed, religion, culture, or nationality anywhere in the world. In this way, Internet access is a great equalizer. It gives us the opportunity to communicate with a wide variety of people and exchange information.There is no city that cannot be conquered with the power of GoogleMaps. Primal needs such as hunger, shelter and clothing can be sought out through various software applications. However, the power to transcend time and space does not come without repercussions. These days, Millennials are mere steps away from literally plugging their brains into a modem. On a typical day, GenerationY can be found connected to screens for the majority of their waking hours. Emails, voicemails, updates and text messages pop up on our smartphones around the clock, forcing us to remain alert to check the latest post or notification. Even when human interaction does take place, people sit around tables checking their calendars on their phones and texting people who aren’t there when there are lulls in conversations. Such behavior is no longer considered rude, it’s expected. Consequently, people have to make the conscious effort to unplug from this hyper-connected world and go “off-the-grid.” We no longer have the option to devote our entire attention to the people who we are with and completely enjoy living in the moment. Hot Technologies 19
  21. 21. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaCHELSEA FRANKLIN & STEPHANIE WRIGHT Considering Millennials are already suffering from an over-saturation of media, brands need to recognize the underlying purpose of a new media technology before they fund the construction of an application or create a social media platform account.Without an understanding the functionality that each technology provides and appropriating a unique company value into the design of the application it will not be seen as necessary amongst consumers. Male: “Sometimes I have to force myself to take a break from my smartphone. The amount of notifications and messages I receive every day is exhausting and it’s a chore to keep up with them.” Female: “I seriously think I suffer from technology fatigue. There are times when I can’t decide whether or not technology is a burden or a blessing.” Hot Technologies20 &
  22. 22. Context, content & devices How does the context and content of an advertisement affect how young adults perceive it? How do young adults perceive infomercials and direct-response? What types of advertising make Millennials look at brands in a more favorable light and vice versa?
  23. 23. Rebecca Hoerner PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaRebecca Hoerner I am an antsy military brat. My dad’s job required our family to move every two to three years, so I ended up attending nine different schools before college. Moving around so much gave me the ability to adapt to change quickly. I was forced to either make friends quickly or to not have friends at all. This adaptability has provided me with friends all around the country and a desire to travel. These experiences influenced not only my outlook on life, but also the development of my media usage habits. Although Facebook has lost some of its luster for me and many other Millennials, I still find it the most useful social media platform. It is the most present in my life because it allows me to stay in contact with my friends from around the world. Instagram has quickly become a favorite of mine for artistic glimpses into the lives of my dispersed friends. My media usage mainly revolves around staying up to speed with my project groups at UGA and staying in touch with my friends. I use Facebook messenger to keep in contact with friends who live outside of Georgia.The collaboration between Facebook and Skype for video chat make it possible for me to talk to friends and family in the same social space. As with other Millennials, I sometimes have a preference as to which device I use for specific applications and for techniques advertisers use to gain my attention on these devices. For example, if I were to see any ads on Facebook, I’d find them more intrusive on my phone where they would take up most of my screen display. In a world of endless technology changes, advertising messages are not enough as advertisers have to consider the platforms they use as they navigate the emerging social norms on new media. 22
  24. 24. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaRebecca Hoerner Question: How does the context and content of an advertisement affect how young adults perceive it? Context, content & devces 23 Millennials are connected 24/7, making us lean, mean, filtering machines.We were born into media clutter and because of this connectedness, we are constantly inundated with advertising and information (useful or not). Millennials have grown up with 30-second television spots, infomercials, and ads with lots of movement, sound and color. We get bored easily and we are hungry for entertainment. Millennials are used to having entertainment on demand.YouTube and online streaming channels are replacing traditional television viewing for many of us. According to Google (B2W, 2011), an averageYouTube viewer spends 164 minutes online every day; in contrast, consumers spend just 130 minutes per day watching traditional television. Yes, most Millennials watchYouTube videos on their computers, but that is changing. More and more of us us watchYouTube on our mobile phones while we’re on the go. TheYouTube app is one of the most popular applications of the iPhone.With the increasing popularity of game consoles and other synced wifi to television devices, we Millennials are also watchingYouTube in our living rooms using television screens.
  25. 25. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaRebecca Hoerner Insights Context, content & devces24 Due to our on-the-go nature, Millennials use various digital devices for different circumstances. Millennials appreciate it when advertisers make content that is relevant to the medium on which it is being consumed, whether that be smartphone, tablet, or computer. If advertisers have an ad that requires more attention, we Millennials are more likely to engage and connect with the brand if we see it advertised on a bigger screen like a tablet or a computer.We Millennials are more receptive to adopting new products if they are recommended by a trusted site that takes into account our prior product tastes and styles.And, because we are more likely to be visiting shopping sites on our computers, advertisers may find that Millennials may be more receptive to their recommendations based on past purchases when Millennials are using their computers. It is likely that advertisers will be able to reach Millennials effectively on our smartphones without alienating us if they are providing us with useful local information (e.g., store, hotel or restaurant information) in some sort of opt-in format. E-Commerce Reigns Supreme As mentioned earlier, our generation enjoys exploring retail sites using our computers. We found that when other Millennials are online and are taken outside of a specific shop or website, they are more willing to look at options from another brand or product due to similar style or a recommendation provided. For example, a Millennial may have never made a purchase from, but if he or she loves a product on Pinterest and later realizes it is from, that Millennial may be more open to purchasing the product, despite previous impressions of the brand or store.Though advertisements may seem intrusive in other situations, some Millennials we talked to were open to messages that were relevant to their needs or allowed them to interact with the brand. For example, some ads that seemed appealing were ones that were suggested after Millennials made an online purchase. Female: “If I find something I like on Pinterest, Wanelo or Etsy, I’ll save it for later, even if I’ve never bought from that brand or shop before.”
  26. 26. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaRebecca Hoerner Context, content & devces 25 Interaction is Embraced As mentioned earlier, many of the Millennials we spoke to do not have a tablet yet because they see it as having similar features as a smartphone only with a larger screen. Since tablets are primarily being used to enhance recreational and leisure experiences and are becoming a new center for living room entertainment, Millennials might be more receptive to infomercials and product demonstrations on tablets to be used in the living room or as a supplement to television. For tablets, Millennials want to see ads optimized for the device. Ads woven into shows are perceived as annoying by most Millennials, but unlike television equipped with features like DVR, ads for tablets can’t be skipped easily and are seen as a tiny hurdle to get to a favorite show (, 2012). Respond to the Pull We Millennials are less receptive to advertisements on our mobile device because we consider it a part of ourselves and see advertisements as personally invasive. We use our mobile phones to seek out content, not have it pushed at us. With search capabilities in our pockets and available at all times, we Millennials are seeking out our own information and are more cautious about brands reaching out to us on our phones. Male: “When I’m traveling, I would be lost without my iPhone. Google Maps is my Bible and I always read reviews of restaurants on Urbanspoon so I know that I will be getting my money’s worth.”
  27. 27. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaRebecca Hoerner Question: How do young adults perceive infomercials and direct-response? Context, content & devces26 In 2009, an executive at a top advertising agency said,“People are most attracted to infomercials and as-seen-on-TV products because people get to see the products in use and that reduces the risk associated with any purchase decision” (ABC News). While this may be true for other age groups, many Millennials are seeking out product demonstrations in other media. Millennials are going online and searching for user- generated product reviews and how-to videos viaYouTube and Pinterest because these channels feature peers and others sharing things of interest.We perceive these sources as more trustworthy and are therefore more receptive to messages from them. The Legacy of Billy Mays Infomercials tend to carry a negative stigma among Millennials. Our focus group respondents told us that the word “infomercial” has a negative connotation. They admitted that they immediately tune out and frown upon brands that use infomercials. When we asked Millennials what came to mind when they thought of infomercials, Millennials typically responded:“Billy Mays,” “dumb,” “annoying,” and “dull.” In a sea of television spots and sometimes bad creative, infomercials do not stand out as cool or attractive to Millennials. Millennials indicated that infomercials are not an effective way to reach them--they tune out and label infomercials as “clutter.” In the two minutes it takes to sit through an infomercial, we can easily be more entertained by our mobile phones and tune in to our social media newsfeeds. Of the Millennials interviewed, no one had a truly positive experience with an infomercial and the “old- school” approach was not seen as admirable. The combination of the types of products and the style associated with infomercials makes them unappealing and annoying for Millennials. They do not understand why brands use them and often look at them as comical and search for spoofs online. Female: “I think the way that they advertise is just so obnoxious, so that there’s not a way for you NOT to remember an infomercial product because you know they’re always like ‘BILLY MAYS HERE!’”
  28. 28. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaRebecca Hoerner Context, content & devces 27 When we asked other Millennials what tone they associated with infomercials and direct response advertising, they said “forceful tone,” “cheap” and “overzealous.” They associate this type of advertising with hair removal products, kitchen/kitchen utensils, cleaning products, personal products, household products, kids’ toys, and random collectors’ items.They see the “As Seen on TV” label and think things are often sold for $19.95. As established, this type of advertising is not particularly relevant to Millennials. Infomercials were memorable in Millennials’ minds, but sometimes for humor and absurdity. When asked what they associated infomercials with, one Millennial male said,“I think of 3:00 in the morning when there isn’t anything good on,” while another male said,“I think of length of time... just pounding you over the head with the same thing and using the same pictures five times.” The Power of Celebrity Millennials told us they have never ordered a product from an 1-800 number after seeing an ad on television.  Yet all could recall an infomercial they liked.  Most respondents particularly recalled an infomercial for a product which is known for using celebrity endorsements.   Millennials said they liked the aspect of familiarity associated with celebrity endorsements. Even though they might know the wow factor is at play, consumers still like the celebrity and essentially would like to be more like him or her.  Also, when the celebrity is a person close to our age, Millennials more receptive to the message of the infomercial because the person being shown is more relevant to them as a consumer.   For example, they felt that Proactiv acne medicine made effective use of age-relevant celebrity endorsers in their direct response appeals.
  29. 29. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaRebecca Hoerner Context, content & devces 1-800-Cheap Product Learning About Products Through User-Generated Content 28 Millennials lose respect for brands that use infomercial advertising, despite brand prestige. Millennials say they would like to believe infomercials, but there is a long- standing perception that infomercials are for lower-end products, not well-established brands due to the poor production value.  The level of skepticism associated with infomercials diminishes any chance of trustworthiness for brands advertising using infomercials.   When asked to fill in a conversation about Apple using an infomercial, Millennials were surprised to think that Apple would advertise with an infomercial. The products they associate with informercials are identified as being unnecessary or sketchy. Female:“The ‘As Seen on TV’ tag doesn’t make me want something more, it makes me think that it’s worse. “ Research by Bazaarvoice (Video-Commerce, 2012) found that strangers have the most influence with Millennials when it comes to making a purchase. Over half of Millennials more likely influenced by User Generated Content (UGC) produced and posted by strangers, compared with recommendations from friends, family and colleagues. A study from comScore (Video-Commerce, 2012) found Millennial purchase intent shot up 26% with the presence of UGC video, which is 3x the impact compared to other groups.The intersection of UGC with video is especially powerful because it removes the anonymity and skepticism associated with written reviews and gives a much more honest view into other users’ product experiences. By embracing the abilities and voices of your most passionate consumers rather than trying to maintain complete control of the voice of your brands, advertisers are endorsing the most powerful asset a business can have as a brand advocate. Although not all of the content that is generated will be positive, it allows advertisers to react, reciprocate and respond to the potential problems Millennials may identify as consumers.
  30. 30. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaRebecca Hoerner Context, content & devces Insights 29 Millennials are interested in user-generated content and product reviews and useYoutube as a venue to search “how-to” videos and product demonstrations on their own. Millennials expect advertisers to create interesting, entertaining and useful video demonstrations online so they can access them on an as-needed basis. Millennials want to see how brands’ products are being used in cool and new ways. Advertisers will find that Millennials are most receptive to product demonstrations if they are tasteful, if they use a relevant celebrity or if they are given an incentive for paying attention. Millennials are also receptive to honest content such as brand- sponsored, how-to videos and User Generated Content such as product reviews because it gives the impression that the company is not trying to hide anything from their customers and is actively trying to engage in a conversation with its audience. Male: “I use YouTube to learn something new and I feel like I learn something about a product that I wouldn’t know unless I watched that video about it.” Female: “I would be more likely to watch a product demonstration if it were on YouTube or online.”
  31. 31. Question: What types of advertising make Millennials look at a brand in a more favorable light and vice versa?   PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaRebecca Hoerner Context, content & devces30 Millennials appreciate when advertisers place advertising messages in places that appear to be organic because it allows for young adults to interpret a brand, as opposed to having advertisers yelling at them and telling them what to think. As a result, Millennials are receptive to advertising content that is placed in contextually relevant media because it is already mixed in with something that they like. Also, encouraging engagement with your brand by inviting your consumers to participate in conversations with your company makes the brand seem as though it relates to Millennials’ needs and desires. For a well-distinguished brand like Apple, Millennials said they love seeing content produced for them by Apple and are hungry for the next product to be released. Female: “I would be more likely to watch a product demonstration or further investigate a product if it had reviews on YouTube...I’ve gone online and watched Slap-Chop infomercials and weird stuff but not on TV.”
  32. 32. The Ever Presence of Digital What are Millennials’ perceptions of digital screens? How effective is a digital billboard vs. a standard billboard? Do digital elements affect Millennials’ perceptions of a brand?
  33. 33. Lucas Holt PHD Creative Collective I The University of Georgia Growing up in small-town Georgia, my hard-working parents taught me some basic rules for life: be home by dark if you’re playing in the woods; a hard-earned dollar is the only type of dollar; and watching TV for too long will cause something called “brain rot.” But there were many things that my Baby Boomer parents weren’t equipped to pass on. I’m a Bulldog-educated advertising aficionado who stumbled into love with the industry after realizing that no other field would have as much appreciation for my eclectic collection of skills. Waiting tables and picking up freelance work to put myself through school have certainly added value to my academic education. Between part-time jobs, school, and internships, I’ve come to rely on digital media to keep me connected to my peers and the world. I’m a Millennial of the MySpace era. To us,“social” and “digital” are the same. While earlier generations relied on face- to-face interactions to learn the basics of social life, we Millennials were the first to be introduced to this social hybrid of digital and real-life.“Cyber” became tangible because it mattered; from early on, we learned how we branded ourselves online could impact our real lives. So much of the development of our individual identity has had a digital influence. 32
  34. 34. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaLucas Holt Question: How effective is a digital billboard vs. a standard billboard? We asked Millennials in our focus groups what they thought about billboards. “Distracting,” “annoying,” “irrelevant,” and “junky” were common responses. But looking further into how a billboard’s environment can impact the way it’s perceived, we saw that traditional out-of- home channels are still an effective method of reaching younger markets. Billboards help to facilitate a awareness of community specific activities, such as arrivals of new businesses and upcoming concerts or other recreational events. Out-of-Home Meets Viral In Dancing with Digital Natives, Michael Russell tells how Millennials are using social media to engage with and respond to billboards. He tells the story of a Millennial blogger who wrote an article protesting what he viewed as a controversial billboard. His post helped spread the message to viewers that who were not in the potential audience geographically. More importantly, the digital format facilitated conversation and shareability. Russell says,“The billboard got his attention. It made him think. It also motivated him to talk about the issue, and he spread the word to others about it, as he showed the billboard in his blog. Digital natives may know how to use technology and expect companies to deliver messages via these technologies, but they’re not immune to effective traditional advertising.” To promote Canadian recording artist Drake’s new single earlier this year, a massive billboard outside of Toronto read- -“Started from the Bottom.” While simple, this communication piece carried meaningful symbolism for avid Drake fans.The billboard location alone carried significance. By placing it in Toronto (Drake’s hometown), he was not only conveying a sense of Toronto pride and appreciation for his loyal, Canadian fans, he was simultaneously reminding them that every rise to greatness, including his, “started from the bottom.” Subsequently, the hashtag “#SFTB” gained popularity on Twitter and Instagram. The single continues to gain in popularity and has recently moved up to the #6 position atop the Billboard 100. The ever-presence of digital advertising 33
  35. 35. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaLucas Holt Insights Male: “I love it because it’s interesting and provides a little entertainment when I’m driving. But I hate it, because I’m afraid that I’m going to get in a wreck if I focus on it long enough to really finish reading the message.” Multiple Ads On One Billboard Through our research we learned that while Millennials are naturally attracted to rotating/multiple-ad billboards, they voiced frustration at being unable to give these ads their full attention or being unable to finish reading them before the next ad appears. Some Millennials even noted concerns for safety when trying to drive and pay attention to roadside displays. But regardless of these frustrations, Millennials generally view them as en-route entertainment and are not interested in spending more time reading or engaging with billboards when given more time. We prefer displays that have multiple advertisements featuring the same brand over seeing different ads cycling through for various companies.Young consumers are highly responsive to billboards that communicate the message quickly and with very few words; pictures are certainly preferred, especially when using vivid digital displays. The ever-presence of digital advertising34
  36. 36. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaLucas Holt For Gen-Ys, crowdsourcing is the primary mode of gathering information. Pairing timeliness and relevance is what gives value and meaning to content for Millennials.As Puneet Mehta explained in a 2013 MediaPost. com article, knowing if it’s going to rain is only relevant if you’re going to be in it.To Millennials, good digital ads are helpful and subtly effective. One Millennial commented: Male: “I see ads so much I feel like I’m just beat over the heads with ads.” Consider the implications of a digital billboard positioned above a car dealership that displays it’s competitive advantages (such price and selection) clearly enough to be seen by shoppers at the dealership across the street. When an ad provides information about the “here” and “now,” it gives incentive to Millennial consumers and moves the brand’s message from peripheral clutter to the focus of our attention.The information provided may only be relevant for a small window of time, but the positive association Millennials have with your brand will leave a stronger, lasting impression. Male: “It just makes sense Digital ads can be updated often... that could be put to use.” The ever-presence of digital advertising 35 Relevance & Timeliness
  37. 37. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaLucas Holt Question: What are Millennials’ perceptions of digital screens? With electronic screens being installed everywhere from retail locations to universities and gas pumps to restaurants, are these brands being perceived as technologically savvy or are they just adding noise to the chaos? The ever-presence of digital advertising36 According to an article from, “Millennials are more likely than other groups to choose retailers based on how fun they are, and they truly expect a consumer-centric shopping experience -- one tailored to their most pressing wants and needs” (2012).
  38. 38. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaLucas Holt Insights Being immersed in technology from early on, Millennials are wary consumers of digital media. Digital flashiness can successfully attract younger consumers. In fact, many Millennials we interviewed spoke very positively of “digital” in-store shopping experiences, but Millennials ultimately respond more to technologies that clearly show how they help to streamline an in-store process and offer incentives. We expect technology to have a function first and then a neat design. The ever-presence of digital advertising 37 Male: “It adds a twist. To me, it’s an advantage over places that don’t have that sort of vibe. Ultimately, I think natural curiosity plays a big role in just wanting to check out places that are different.” Female: “I feel like a lot of the screens in retail locations are just clutter.”
  39. 39. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaLucas Holt Creating a Digital Community Digital advertisements within concerts, sporting-events, and other live-audience functions are perceived positively by Millennials. Digital ads in arenas are not only remembered, they’re expected--they play a major part in creating positive experiences that resonate powerfully among young consumers. For example, One male focus group participant told us how he always craves a Coke when he’s at Braves games in Atlanta due to Coca-Cola ads in Turner Field, despite the fact that he doesn’t normally drink soda. Another female Millennial said it’s her tradition to always go to Subway after college football games because of their in-stadium promotion is constantly playing to remind her to get her favorite sandwich after the final touchdown is scored. Female: “When I’m waiting on something to start, digital ads in a concert venue or sports arena can be very entertaining” Male: “The In-Flight Trivia game on Delta flights creates a really neat social dynamic. Flying has kind of an awkward feel to it but being able to indirectly engage with other passengers created a weird ‘community’ feel for those of us who were playing. It was optional, entertaining, and social. Perfect.” The ever-presence of digital advertising38
  40. 40. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaLucas Holt Question: Do digital elements affect Millennials’ perceptions of a brand? The ever-presence of digital advertising From personalized promotions to using smart phones to interact with digital advertisements, Millennial habits drive the force of change when it comes to tech development and adoption. Time-starved, always-moving, young consumers demand that promotions seamlessly fit into their lives and are not interested in forming relationships with brands that offer no up-front consumer incentive. Millennials are very aware of marketers’ data tracking abilities and hold privacy in high esteem.We’re skeptical of unfamiliar companies using our data to solicit unwarranted personalized promotions, but are open to suggestions from “trusted” companies with which we have had previous interactions. In order to get this thrifty generation’s attention, always state the consumer incentive clearly. Techno-savvy Millennials are resourceful in obtaining information about a product or company with a quick Google search. As such, QR codes are seen to offer very little consumer-incentive as they typically redirect to company-sponsored webpages. The power that digitally-driven advertisements hold has never been greater.While digital is the dialect of the Digital Native, the marketers’ level of fluency determines the impact of the message received. 39
  41. 41. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaLucas Holt The ever-presence of digital advertising Insights 40 The power that digitally-driven advertisements hold has never been greater. While digital is the dialect of the Digital Native, marketers’ level of fluency with digital media determines the impact of the message received. Being marinated in technology from early on, Millennials are wary consumers of digital media. Digital flashiness can successfully attract younger consumers. In fact, many Millennials we interviewed spoke very positively of “digital” in-store shopping experiences, but these media must provide us with a benefit. Millennials ultimately respond more to location-based digital media that clearly show how they help to streamline our in-store process, offer us an incentive, or provide helpful information.We expect technology to have a function first and then a neat design. QR Codes Millennials are not flocking to QR codes. In fact, many of our focus group participants were not even sure what a QR code was. Female: “What’s the point? So I can read more about the ad later? There’s no pull.” Personalized Promotions What do young consumers think when brands that try to reach out on a more personal level? Where do Millennials draw-the-line between a helpful and personal and invasively creepy? Our research suggests that Millennials don’t have a uniform opinion on this. Female: “I don’t want to walk by a store and have a digital display show me things I might like. That’s creepy. But give me 15% off a shirt I might like and it’s totally different.”
  42. 42. Multi-media Viewing of TV Content How do you engage with video entertainment? What devices do you use? Are the TV/Cable Networks still important to you? What types of behaviors occur during multi-screen viewing?
  43. 43. Joann Anderson PHD Creative Collective I The University of Georgia I’m a 26-year-old Millennial. Social media helped set the course for my graduate studies and career.A few years ago, I began blogging about my personal style and photography at I’ve been blogging in some format since high school, but niche blogging was new to me, and I really liked the “daily style” blogging community.Through this medium, I met other bloggers from around the world who shared similar interests, and we connected through different social media platforms — our blogs, Facebook,Twitter, Pinterest, just to name a few. Through my personal style blog, I also made connections with different brands, helping promote their products in reviews and giveaways to my 1,500 subscribers. After coming to graduate school for a master’s degree in advertising, I started a new blog about film and television called Film Rascal. This jump to blogging about media was an easy transition, as television has had a deep, personal impact on me. It taught my Filipino mother how to speak English when my family moved back to the United States after years abroad. And, for this former military brat, television was a way for me to connect to my peers as I moved around the country. I may not have known the coolest fads, but I could talk about what happened on Friends or Buffy, the Vampire Slayer the night before, thanks to the tiny my 10-inch Zenith television. My relationship with television has changed as technology has improved I stay current with online discussion boards for my favorite shows so I can blog about them and I stay connected with other fans. And, while I’ve retired that blocky Zenith television, my screen size has become smaller and portable as I watch episodes on my laptop, iPod and more recently, my phone. I’m not alone in this evolution. 42
  44. 44. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaJoann Anderson Question: We still watch traditional television, but marketers can reach Millennials through online video. We are twice as likely as previous generations to watch video clips, and our generation feels that TV content should be available whenever and wherever we want to watch, which includes finding and downloading content online (Marketing Forecast, 2012). In addition, it’s harder to break through to our generation with advertisements.“Ad breakthrough via television advertising for Millennials was substantially lower than for older generations,” according to a 2012 ComScore study. How do you engage with video entertainment? Multi-media viewing of tv content 43
  45. 45. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaJoann Anderson InsightsOn-Demand Command We Millennials prefer to watch shows after the original air time and online because of convenience and the ability to skip through commercials. As one Millennial female said from a focus group discussion:“I almost never watch them during original air time. I record it, and watch it afterward. I don’t like the commercials.” The appeal of controlling how to watch also extended in the ability to binge-watch content as well.Another focus group Millennial female said,“I like being able to watch it when it comes on during the week, and then watch a bunch of previous episodes.” The opportunity to watch shows online gives us more freedom to watch what we want. This means discovering shows and being able to watch as much of it as we can.“I like to marathon, but if I really like a show, like ‘[The] Walking Dead,’ I don’t want to miss out,” said one Millennial male.“Sometimes marathons are better because you can notice things and I can remember it.” If we do watch televisions during the original broadcast, it is for social situations when many in our peer group will be watching as well, or if the show is deemed “can’t miss” television. As one Millennial female said,“There are certain exceptions – I like watching ‘Walking Dead’ when it airs, because if I don’t, there will be so many spoilers on Facebook, I just get really annoyed.” Connect Through Context Millennials want to prioritize their television- watching, spending more time watching actual show content and less time on watching commercials. Advertisers can find opportunities to add more original sponsored content, becoming more aggressive in areas like product placement, or partnering with popular shows that their target consumers show an interest. This allows advertisers to pursue partnerships that seem like a natural fit between the brand and a television show, without interrupting the show with commercials. In addition, we Millennials become fatigued from online ads, especially if the ads are repetitive. If advertisers have a presence on an online video site, such as Hulu Plus, they should make commercials contextually relevant to the shows they segment. For example, an ad could include show characters interacting in a parallel narrative to the show, or reference events that just happened in an episode.Though this will require extra effort, such as screening network episodes before they occur, it offers an opportunity for advertisers to be innovative and relevant to television content. Multi-media viewing of tv content44
  46. 46. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaJoann Anderson Millennials are more likely than previous generations to be tech-savvy and use different gadgets to access their television use, such as a laptop, smartphone or other gadgets for video viewing.We’re less likely to watch traditional television and the “first screen” is less central to our demographic. It might be because of economic necessity and lifestyle choices. Lower TV viewing may be because the 18-24 demographic is more “out-and-about” than older generations, especially during prime time (Nielsen, 2010). The convenience of having everything on one screen is a big draw, and plays into multitasking for our generation. Millennials who prefer to use a computer for video and television content claim convenience, portability, and the ability to easily multitask are big reasons to use the device (YPulse, 2012). Question: What devices do you use? Does this vary by situation? Multi-media viewing of tv content 45
  47. 47. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaJoann Anderson Insights Consumption by Convenience In our focus groups, indepth interviews and survey results, we found that device use varies by age and life situation. For example, older Millennials who were out of school were more likely to not own a television. Younger Millennials were more likely to have a television and to watch television as a social situation with roommates. However, almost all participants said they use a computer to watch their shows, citing its appeal as a convenient, mobile device. Building off a “buddy vs. baby” relationship with devices, participants mentioned the convenience and intimacy of being able to cradle their laptops to watch television, offering a more personalized experience with video-watching.“I can just hold it,” one female Millennial said in a focus group.“I don’t have a TV in my room, so the laptop is my TV.The screen is bigger.You can use headphones. I share a room, It’s hard to watch with roommates.” On using a laptop, one female Millennial respondent said,“It’s just mobile, you know? I can just sit in bed and watch my shows. It’s convenient.” Very few Millennial respondents said they used their phones or tablets to watch shows, often because of the small screen size or cost.Tablets were rare among Millennials, and those who said they had one were often gifted it. On using a tablet, one Millennial female said:“I don’t use it that often. If I don’t have my laptop around, or if it’s like if I’m sitting on the couch and don’t have my computer out. I use my laptop more often than that.” Another Millennial male said of his phone use,“If they did more on iPhones, I would use it more for TV. I know there’s Netflix, but it’s such a small screen. Besides, if my laptop is closer, I’ll just use that.” Matching the Message to The Media Advertisers should understand, Millennials may not be early adopters of devices, and may in fact be scaling back on certain devices because of economic and lifestyle factors. Advertisers should understand what context in which to reach Millennials and tailor their message strategies toward that. Multi-media viewing of tv content46
  48. 48. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaJoann Anderson Question: Are the TV/Cable Networks still important to you? Viewing TV content is up, but less of it is watched live, as traditional network primetime television has aged over the past five years, gaining 50+ viewers and losing adults 18-34 (Media Post, 2012).Young adults record their primetime programs, with half skipping commercials entirely in playback. Millennials access favorite shows online or through a DVR, bypassing ads and network programming (Millennial Marketing, 2010). Millennials do watch a lot of television and certain habits -- such as watching an entire season in a day just isn’t provided by networks and things like Hulu cannot provide because of low ad rates. There is also a sentiment of not wanting to pay for content, and this is not limited to Millennials anymore, as we find more options (illegal downloading) to bypass having to pay for content.A 2010 global Nielsen survey found unwillingness to pay for online content, although half (47%) said they would accept more advertising to avoid paying (Millennial Marketing, 2010). However, some networks can be a draw. “TV networks, particularly those aimed at GenYers, are trying hard not to go through the same digital piracy mess that the music industry went through. They’re finally embracing streaming services. In the final months of 2011, we’ve seen The CW, Disney, and ABC Family partner with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon to offer their content to subscribers, with little, if any, delay following the show’s original airing” (YPulse 3, 2011). Paying for Participation Millennials crave active participation from shows they enjoy (YPulse 2, 2012), as fans are growing up at a time when they can watch shows in real time with stars and share their thoughts and make topics trend on social media.ABC Family has done an especially good job with this, using Millennial generation stars to engage with fans. Some networks are trying to pick up on this. For example, MTV feels they have lost younger viewers for clinging to Generation X for longer than they should.They found that GenY was likely to watch some of the same programming as their parents, as opposed to previous generations which were considered more rebellious.This kind of thinking has promoted social media and redeveloping competition- style programming into reality TV concepts (NY Times, 2010). Multi-media viewing of tv content 47
  49. 49. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaJoann Anderson I cut Because... The Millennial respondents in our focus groups and online survey mentioned the ease of using different video sites, as Netflix and Hulu were mentioned the most. Other sites mentioned include HBO Go, PirateBay,, Project Free TV, Itunes.A few participants mentioned using these sites “a few times a week” to “every day.” Some sites were considered better than others. One focus group Millennial female preferred using Netflix over most sites because “there are no commercials, it has everything, and the quality is better, and streams faster. Hulu is so choppy.” And if video sites didn’t offer the specific content? “I’ll find shows illegally if I can’t find them anywhere else,” one Millennial female said. Commitment Issues Young, working professionals were less likely to have cable, citing its high costs, and the plethora of other entertainment options. Because of these other options, older Millennials may be more comfortable with cutting the cord.The access to websites and services that can stream their favorite televison show on-demand and on their own time was preferred. In our online survey, one older Millennial female said: “I don’t have cable — it costs a lot to subscribe.” Because of these thrifty, cost-cutting moves as we get older and find other options for entertainment, advertisers should find ways to sponsor content that appeals to us. For example, if a cable subscription or video site offered earlier seasons of beloved television shows, advertisers could use this opportunity to reach an unreached audience by tailoring messages that were mentioned in those previous episodes in the newly released content. Multi-media viewing of tv content Insights 48
  50. 50. I keep because... Having a cable subscription varied among Millennials.The most common themes suggested that participants were more likely to have cable if: 1. They were in college 2. Had roommates who could help split the cost 3. The cable was bundled into their home utility package Subscription Security-Blanket Male Millennials said they were likely to purchase a cable subscription if they did not already own one -- cable seemed to be a security blanket to those who had always owned it.“It came with my lease, but I feel like I’d still buy it because it’s cable. It’d be weird. I wouldn’t know how to live without it,” said a Millennial male.Another Millennial male who did not have cable said he watched all of his shows online, but cited its drawbacks.“If I had TiVo, I would get cable. I watch online, and it does stink because for live things, like the Super Bowl, you have to go to someone’s house.” Additionally, some female Millennials cited a social pressure to have it: “I feel like I can honestly do without cable, but my roommates like it, and I like the comfort of being able to turn it on and just flip through channels and not really care, just watch whatever’s on.” We won’t completely cut cable from our lives and advertisers should understand that cable may no longer be an option if we choose to not bundle our services. But we may continue to pay for cable if we think it’s quality. Despite differences in cable usage, some networks and shows are a huge draw to Millennials. Popular ones that were mentioned across focus groups include HBO’s Game ofThrones,AMC’s TheWalking Dead, as well as certain genres, such as serial dramas and comedies. Character development and a connection to the plot was a common reason to keep coming back to these shows. “I like you can talk about the characters as if you know them,” a Millennial female said in a focus group.“It makes you want to know what happens to them.” PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaJoann Anderson Multi-media viewing of tv content 49
  51. 51. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaJoann Anderson Question: What types of behaviors occur during multi-screen viewing? Having it all on one screen is especially appealing for Millennials, and this changes our multitasking. Laptop manufacturers have offered bigger screen options so users can split their time between work and play. And smartphones are offering Pop Up Play to allow us to do other things without interrupting video. This integration and seamless play is important (YPulse, 2012). For our generation, the second screen is often the same as the first, as more opt to not own a television, as the simplicity to multitask without multiple devices is appealing. Multi-media viewing of tv content50
  52. 52. Entertainment Through Engagement We feel a constant pull to talk about our shows online and with friends, as television has become more applicable to talk about on social media. As one Millennial female said,“A lot of my friends are watching and constantly talking about The Bachelor online, you almost don’t have to watch the show because there will be people talking about it online.” Other focus group participants mentioned following their shows on social media, including Facebook and Twitter.The reasons include wanting to know the show schedule, and finding extra related content. Social media was also a great way to reconnect with shows that already ended their run. As one Millennial male said about following Seinfeld and Friends on Facebook,“I like seeing screenshots of past episodes with funny little quotes. It’s kind of fun to be reminded of some of the better moments.” Distraction by Devices However, social media and technology can often be distracting elements during television-viewing, especially if peers are watching too. “I’ll be texting during the show if I know someone else is watching, I’ll talk about it, not even during the commercials but during the show,” said one Millennial male. Sometimes, the act of watching on a television set can be distracting too, as it offers time for multitasking, said our Millennial participants. One Millennial male said: “Well, if I’m watching TV on a TV, then I’m usually not paying attention. I’m on my iPhone or my laptop. But if I’m watching on my laptop, I’m pretty focused.” Despite these distractions, we Millennials will make quality content priority, and try to sift through the media landscape searching for the right shows.“I think the problem with TV nowadays is that it’s so polluted and just straight-up garbage.... it’s entertaining but it’s garbage,” said one Millennial male, stating that he trusts recommendations from his friends on what to watch. Others cited social media, such as their Twitter feed, or subscription recommendations, such as TiVo, as ways to find new content. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaJoann Anderson Insights Multi-media viewing of tv content 51
  53. 53. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaJoann Anderson Adapt Advertisements for the Electronic Experience Advertisers should understand that we get distracted when we watch our favorite shows, and it is difficult for us to maintain attention to one stimulus. Advertisers should find ways to engage us while we watch.This could mean partnering with television shows to discuss content related to the episodes on social media or companion apps, or offering incentives to Millennials to engage with shows on social media, such as the ability to unlock exclusive online content that can supplement a show as it airs.Though some college-age Millennials may not create their own video content, advertisers can still take advantage of their interest in other video viewing by offering advertising content that is relevant and easy to share. What makes our generation most distinct from others is the use of technology: our gadgets and how our video use revolves around them. We Millennials are twice as likely to watch online video clips, and feel content should be available to us when and where we want it. Though there was a difference in how college students and older Millennials engaged with cable, our generation is more likely to have cable or DVR for social reasons. The ability to skip through commercials is the norm, as it is all about instant gratification, settling for quick choices, and lacking patience. For second screens, Millennials are more likely to use laptops over smartphones and tablets because of small screen sizes and price. More viewing on the web, and more multitasking during watching, have become important.Advertisers should find ways to engage viewers with messages that are contextually relevant to television show content, such as aggressive product placement. In addition, advertisers should explore sponsoring companion apps with supplemental information about shows that are appealing to their target consumers. Multi-media viewing of tv content52
  54. 54. Facebook Is the relationship with this platform changing as it continues to evolve? Is it still always open on a tab in your browser and on your phone or are you spending more or less time? Is it as cool as it once was? Is there a different form of social media that is taking its place?
  55. 55. I am a Facebook-loving,Twitter-following, jobsearching, LinkedIn junkie who enjoys playing my guitar as I learn through online lessons courtesy of GroupOn. In my spare time, I watch my favorite show, TheVampire Diaries, on The CW website or HULU. During the day, I check my phone at least five times every few minutes to keep up with my emails and planner. I usually check Instagram during class changes to catch up on my friends’ new posts! I’m a Millennial who easilly qualifies as a technology-dependent, digitally connected, mobile addict. Long gone are my handwritten to-do lists and paper scheduler--these days, I even keep my grocery list on my phone! I never listen to radio anymore. Instead, I tune into the playlists on my phone or stream music through the Spotify mobile app. My smartphone is my go-to for nearly everything I need to get me through the day. It’s incredible how interwoven my life has become with digital devices. My smartphone has undoubtedly become an extention of my identity. I’ve moved several times lived in three different continents, so Facebook is one of the primary ways in which I keep up with my friends and family who live all around the world. It’s definitely a more affordable option of keeping in touch over buying calling cards or stacking up long-distance phone bills. As a busy college student, Facebook is almost a necessity. I’m always logging on to promote events on campus, organize study groups, kill time playing games, or catching up with friends. Even though I do spend a good deal of time on it, I hate the negative connotation with term “Facebook addict.” Christabel Belonwu PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaChristabel Belonwu 54
  56. 56. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaChristabel Belonwu Question: Is the relationship with this platform changing as it continues to evolve? If so, how? The Facebook platform has changed dramatically from when it was established in 2004 and so has the way it is used by Millennials. Facebook walls were transformed into timelines,“likes” were added onto comments and Facebook chat appeared on the right side of the screen. These changes over the past nine years made it possible for us to integrate the social media platform into our lives and have changed the way we communicate, parent, study, teach, listen to music and even plan weddings (Mashable, 2012). What it means to be “social” on Facebook has evolved from posting pictures of our feet in the sand during vacations and what we had for lunch, to interacting with a company’s page, creating fan pages for movements you’re in which we are involved and being able to hold a group conversation without having that conversation available for everyone to see. Facebook is a part of our social media existence and it has morphed into a platform through which we organize and share our lives. However, because all of these applications and functions have been incorporated into the Facebook experience, logging onto Facebook feels like a social obligation to many of us. Facebook 55
  57. 57. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaChristabel Belonwu Facebook As Facebook continues to try and harness the advertising potential of a medium that reaches over a billion pairs of eyeballs through organizing and distributing information that is posted by its users, a backlash is forming among Millennials. This aversion is created, in part, because of the number of branded posts that now appear on our newsfeed. The social media platform that we once used to share a collection of our moments and memories with our friends no longer feels very private. Facebook is not new for us anymore. However, as we grow older and our schedules become more hectic, the amount of time we spend procuring content on our timelines is diminished.We still use it to remain connected touch with our friends and family and to keep up with what kinds of activities are available to us in our immediate vicinity such as concerts, volunteer programs and philanthropic events. Female: “It’s not all about how Facebook is changing but also how I’m changing too.” Female: “I rarely post anything, unlike high school.” 56
  58. 58. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaChristabel Belonwu Question: Is it still always open on a tab in your browser and on your phone or are you spending more or less time? Is it as cool as it once was? Some of us are suffering from Facebook fatigue. According to Business Insider article from 2012, Millennials say that Facebook isn’t as cool as it was and they are abandoning it in droves. More than 40% of Facebook users ages 18-29 say that the time they spend on Facebook on a typical day has decreased over the last year (Pew Internet, 2013). Some Millennials indicated that they were or have taken a break from Facebook. This may mean that they avoid using it for a while or that they actually take their page down temporarily.When we do take a break from using Facebook we receive phone calls from our parents asking us “Why haven’t you posted on Facebook in a while?” Our friends send text messages pressing us to “like” their picture or status update so that they can feel more popular. Facebook has made an impact in our lives and it is hard to exclude it entirely, even if we don’t use it as often. This trend seems to be continuing. According to a recent Pew Internet study (2013), 38% of Facebook users ages 18-29 expect to spend less time using the site in 2013, Although most Millennials still use the social media platform, there is still some dissatisfaction with the medium. Facebook account information is integrated into so many third-party applications that correspond with the interests of Millennials that it would be difficult to get rid of it. Everything from personalized music playlists from Spotify to your favorite food recipes from Pinterest can be shared with all of your friends. As a result, Facebook has become the channel to the digital world. Facebook 57
  59. 59. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaChristabel Belonwu Facebook Many of us have shifted from using Facebook on our computers to accessing it via our mobile phones. So, the browser may not be always opened, but it is still bookmarked.When questioned our focus group participants about the applications they use on their smartphones on a daily basis, Facebook was always mentioned. This is because of Facebook’s ability to connect us to what is happening in our local environment. Events can be logged, messages can be read and photos can be posted. Facebook is seen as the social media platform where you have access to all of your social circles at all times. From college organizations to high school friends to distant family relatives, having access to all of their status updates, pictures and events allows for us to “lurk” or “stalk” what is occurring in our network. Male: “I have put so much work into it, I can never let it go.” Male: “I only use Facebook to keep up with my friends from back home and the activities on campus.” 58 &
  60. 60. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaChristabel Belonwu Question: Is there a different form of social media that is taking its place? What is it? Overall,Twitter is now ranked fourth among all social networking sites in total active users, with Google+ securing a surprising second place (Mediabistro, 2013).The Fortune Global 100 companies also conducted a report showing the health check of various social media platforms and this report indicated that Twitter is the major driver of online conversation, which has made the medium explode as a platform approaching 700% growth. On the other hand, Instagram is also making its way to the top as it is fast growing. Only established in 2010, and as of January 2013 that it had 90 million monthly active users. Facebook, which owns Instagram, revealed in September that the photo-sharing service had passed 100 million registered users (Mashable, 2013). Facebook 59
  61. 61. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaChristabel Belonwu She Said... The female respondents in our focus groups preferred other sites over Facebook and ranked them in the following order of importance: 1. Instagram 2. Twitter 3. Pinterest Females told us that the reason for this preference for Instagram and Twitter was because these sites are quicker to access and they are less cluttered with irrelevant information.Twitter and Instagram don’t have side ads or unnecessary things that bombard their homepages.Twitter’s newsfeed is easy to understand, all we have to do is tweet our thoughts and retweet if we like what is being said. Instagram is all about pictures and allows for us to visually share what we like, what we’re doing and who we’re doing it with in a single post. Pinterest allows us to create boards through which we can share visual representations of what we hope the future will hold with our friends. He Said... The male respondents preferred other sites over Facebook such as: 1. Twitter 2. Instagram In our focus groups, male respondents indicated that Twitter is far more interesting than Facebook because all one has to do is Tweet and Retweet to be connected to the athletes, celebrities and bands they idolize. Furthermore, they find Twitter to be more informative because they can keep up with the latest happenings with their favorite sports teams and news because their feed can be tailored to their preferences and location. Instagram was cited as having less clutter and the ability to seamlessly “unfollow” people when they start “oversharing.” There is a high standard for the Instagrammable shot, and if your pictures aren’t tugging on the little red heartstrings of your friends, then what’s the point? Facebook60
  62. 62. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaChristabel Belonwu Both the male and female participants from the focus groups indicated that they were more interested in Facebook when it first came out because it was exclusive to college students. One of the male respondents said that “Facebook keeps trying to do everything, if they could stick to one specialty, then I will be more interested; for example, their group feature.” He explained that other platforms specialize in one function: Instagram with pictures,Twitter with thoughts/comments. However, Facebook incorporates so much functions Millennials don’t want to be bothered to keep up with them.This causes Millennials to lose interest, as their voice is overwhelmed by the noise data that occurs on Facebook. Female: “Everyone has a Facebook, even my friend’s dog.” Male: “There are no rules holding back and you learn too much about someone.” Female: “I have defriended someone because they shared too much information on Facebook.” He & She Said... Facebook 61
  63. 63. One thing that is clear about Millennials: our relationship with Facebook has changed. Both the males and females indicated that they were more interested in Facebook when it first came out because it was exclusive to college students. Now, many say that their moms and grandmothers are also on Facebook. Is it still “cool”? Certainly it is not as cool as it once was. We still use Facebook and do appreciate it when a feature is added that makes our lives easier or more fun. We don’t mind receiving ads from relevant products. However, we don’t appreciate it when Mark Zuckerberg decides that we need a date with ads from a dating website or diapers for a child we don’t have. One of the male respondents said that “Facebook keeps trying to do everything, if they could stick to one specialty, then I will be more interested; for example: their group feature.” He explained that other platforms specialize in one function: Instagram with pictures,Twitter with thoughts/comments. However, Facebook incorporates so many functions that Millennials don’t want to be bothered to keep up with them. This causes Millennials to lose interest. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaChristabel Belonwu Facebook Insights 62
  64. 64. As the research and insights indicated, Millennials are moving away from Facebook and into Twitter and Instagram.We like platforms that are picture-oriented, easy to use and promote conversations.We want to feel like advertisers genuinely have an interest in us by providing an outlet through which we are given the chance to participate in the latest trends.We don’t like the Facebook ads because it makes us feel like we are always advertised to, but if you would have the time to create a page with cool pictures then that can grab our attention. Millennials love incentives.We want to know that we are getting something out of it like a coupon, backstage pass or FREE STUFF! Because of how personalized Facebook has become, advertisements that are pushed at us on the sidebar that correspond with our search terms are viewed as being “creepy.” Also, the over-saturation of media Millennials have on a daily basis means that we don’t want to feel like we are always advertised to during a time that we perceive as private time. Millennials reach out to brands on Facebook only after an established interest has been made either through a sales promotion or an event announcement. The key is to get our attention and we will do the rest by sharing the information with a simple click of the “share” button. If a Millennial is given the possibilty to engage with a company that goes beyond “liking” a brand’s page, they will be more likely to spend time with the organizations that are investing their energy into initiating an interaction with them. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaChristabel Belonwu Facebook 63
  65. 65. Staying Relevant For Results Millennials appreciate it when advertisers follow cultural trends, find out what are we listening to or what the latest viral video is and use it to capture our attention. We also like to be entertained. Advertisers who launch fun games, contests or trivia questions on Twitter and Instagram are generally viewed positively. It is important to include a hashtag feature to get us interested by guaranteeing incentives and being able to track the conversations that are happening on a single thread. Since many of us are visually-oriented, creating better pictorial presentations of brands by posting pictures of new products available during sales or sharing employee profiles so that the brand will become humanized is key. Many Millennials are searching for specialized content.We enjoy “behind-the-scenes” details and will respond to companies that provide opportunities for engagement. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaChristabel Belonwu Facebook64
  66. 66. Storytelling Do young adults want to have relationships with brands? What channels do Millennials desire to be reached by? What makes people identify with a brand? How do advertisers disaggregate the brand from the technology?
  67. 67. Social media is integrated into my life. However, I don’t post every thought that comes into my head or share pictures of my dietary habits or the music I am currently listening to.... I prefer to stalk people! What is the new trend coming up? Who is dating whom? Through social media I have become a spy, a secret agent who gets to vicariously live through others without them knowing. I am an information seeker; I like to know why people do the things they do. Why is Ashley so into dogs or why does John Instagram funny memes all the time instead of original content? As a dual major in advertising and psychology, I find it just as important to track the impact of a good message as it is to deliver one. Telling a good story and observing how it is communicated to the outside world is what intrugies me. Good stories told by brands who are trying to build relationships with consumers. This is my topic, brand storytelling. Asia Martin-Ingram PHD Creative Collective I The University of Georgia 64
  68. 68. In the eyes of the Millennial generation, developing a positive relationship is a journey that excites and has rewards for the participants. But for advertisers, who are ultimately trying to sell a product or a service, what really matters is the type of relationships they forge with their consumers. Understanding how Millennials associate themselves with brands and the different media they use to interact with brands is key. Millennials are not thirsting for a personal one-on-one relationship with most brands. When we asked Millennials in our focus groups about whether or not they wanted a relationship with a brand, they reacted to the term relationship with hesitation. While advertisers throw this word around when talking about their brands and engaging with consumers, for Millennials the word relationship is associated with human interactions, not with interactions between a human and a brand. They told us that they do form bonds with some products and sometimes enjoy being associated with certain brands.They are loyal to a small group of brands, yet the term relationship seems too personal. Instead of trying to find another term that best fits this complex association, we will stick to using the term relationships. Female: “I do not think about the relationship I have with them {brands} but I do appreciate that they are giving me another medium to connect with their product.” PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaASia Martin-Ingram Question:Do young adults want to have relationships with brands? 65Storytelling
  69. 69. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaASia Martin-Ingram Millennials are open to connecting with the brands to which we have an affinity. However, most young consumers are not extremely brand loyal.We are frugal, resourceful, and eager to reach out for second opinions before making purchase decisions; large and small. Often, Millennial brand preferences are formed early on, as in continuing to buy the brand our parents always did; but we have no actual emotional tie to the brand. Even having one memorable, positive experience associated with a brand will leave a much stronger impression than years of methodical purchasing habits would. Although young consumers aren’t necessarily known for their avid brand loyalty, social media channels have trained Millennials to voice and exchange opinions about brands. or products. A study conducted on young adults at the University of Michigan revealed interesting information about Millennials and “brand love.” This experience is often associated with loyalty, strongly-held values, existential meaning, and a willingness to invest in the brand (Batra et al. 2012). Because brand love operates in higher cognition levels, advertisers should strive to encourage brand love through less tangible ways, such as: embodying and promoting a sense of self-identity and creating positive emotional connections (Batra et al. 2012). Typically there are only between one to three brands that any one Millennial holds at this high level of esteem. Social media provides Millennials with opportunities to express our brand preferences and to interact with brands. We enjoy doing this if the interaction is entertaining or if it feeds our desire for personalization and instant gratification. There are some brands with which we like to be associated. A company’s brand has to add value when we engage with it and these interactions must provide that something more factor. Sometimes this something more is humor or entertainment, but sometimes it can be as simple are a coupon or discount. These things lower the financial risk we have to take when purchasing something new. 66 Storytelling
  70. 70. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaASia Martin-Ingram There are some brands which we like to be associated with. CNN reports,“[Millennials] just put more time and effort into finding brands they identify with in terms of voice and social agenda,” citing that desire for both self- identity and expansive knowledge of brands are key features of Millennial consumers (Grinberg, 2012). Some of the Millennials we talked to welcome relationships with brands they prefer. Dependability and trust, particularly in company values, were mentioned as key characteristics of the brands they favored. What kind of brands are we loyal to? It varies. For example, in an in-depth interview, one Millennial male described Steam, an online video game company, as a company that embodied “convenience, openness, customer friendliness and value.” Buying five to ten games from Steam each year, the respondent said he perceived the company as very trustworthy. Another Millennial female said that trustworthiness was important when she used Toms of Maine, an organic skin care line, to help minimize the allergies she experienced with other products. With Toms, she thought their low-key approach to advertising made them dependable: Female: “I feel like the company is trustworthy and unchanged. It’s not like they’re pushing their brand at you. It’s not like it jumps off the shelf at you.” 67Storytelling
  71. 71. PHD Creative Collective I The University of GeorgiaASia Martin-Ingram If there ever is an issue with a brand’s products or services, our generation is comfortable with contacting customer service. “Once a problem has occurred, how they react and treat the problem is very important to decide whether I keep using the brand or not,” wrote one Millennial female in our online survey. Customer service is extremely important to us, and in a more technological world, we prefer assistance through online chat on a website or social platform. One Millennial male explained his frustration in dealing with a computer support company on the phone.“You talk to a robot for like 10 minutes,” he said in a focus group response. Through social media, we feel we can make our complaints heard, and that the brand will be publically and socially responsible in responding to our concerns.“ If you want them [brands] to listen you’ll do it on social media,” said one Millennial male in a focus group response. This helps build relationships. 68 Storytelling