Focusing on Millennials: a bad brand mistake

Dos Equis had a goldmine in “The Most Interesting Man In The World” (sales tripled during the campaign’s life) and incompetent marketing imbeciles destroyed it.  The VP/Marketing, reading from The Big Book of Marketing Stupidity, had this to say, “Our Millennial drinker has changed quite dramatically. We just want to make sure that the (Most Interesting Man) story evolves.”  Well, it evolved alright… the “improved” millennial-friendly Most Interesting Man “story” was an unmitigated disaster. Then, naturally, they fired the agency. Finally, two weeks ago, Dos Equis announced they were dropping the whole campaign.

This is just one story of how focusing on Millennials have led brands to disaster.  Coke’s new diet Coke campaign, aimed at Millennials, is sinking faster than a rock because Millennials don’t drink soda.  But, somewhere within the layered marketing of Coke’s HQ somebody pushed through the idea to change Diet Coke and target Millennials who have zero interest in soda.

The fuss about Millennials is mostly:

a) Marketing flat-tires bloviating about their latest fetish

b) The noise of editors with millennial kids who think there’s a big story there.

c) The pathetic youth worship of older people who should know better.

Americans over 50…
-Are responsible for over half of all consumer spending
-Dominate 94% of consumer packaged goods categories
-Outspend other adults online 2:1 on a per-capita basis
-Buy about 50% of all new cars
-Control about 70% of the wealth in the U.S.
-Would be the 3rd largest economy in the world, if they were a country (larger than Japan, Germany and India)
-Will grow at almost 3 times the rate of adults under 50 between now and 2030
-Are the target of 10% of marketing activity

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Labeling your product as a millennial offering is a sure way to drive young adults away from it[/inlinetweet]. Promote it that way on social media and you could get a lot of attention – in a negative way. That innate disapproval of marketing means that Millennials are going to be suspicious of any product that announces itself as aimed at them (and could even mock it relentlessly online). You can target Millennials with a campaign, approach, or product, but don’t overtly mention it in your materials to avoid a backlash.

These are just some of the reasons why so many marketing executives stink.  They just don’t know how to think and sift through facts.  They are drawn in by the hype and propaganda online.  Remember how social media was going to save brands?

Ignoring Boomers is a sure way to isolate your brand and see a sales decline yet so many brands feel they have to target Millennials because of their numbers.  Bullshit!  A Forrest Gump said “stupid is as stupid does”.

About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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2 Comments on “Focusing on Millennials: a bad brand mistake”

  1. Heineken, owner of Dos Equis, has a ruined more than one good/great marketing campaign by lollygagging and steering the tiller with a skittish and infirm hand.

    They had a cool and aspirational type character who was old enough to not be threatening to other males, and Dos Equis blew it, by changing horses midstream, by making the character younger, and by giving him a useless but apparently equal female sidekick.

    Finally, you do not have to be a baby boomer to be over 50. My waist size and diet are nothing like most baby boomers I have known.

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