Millennials, roughly defined as the generation who were 18 to 34 in 2015, are set to overtake Baby Boomers this year as America’s most populous generation. And they have become a huge target for companies, advertising agencies and market research firms alike. Unfortunately, a lot of their appeals to millennials are based on the idea that the generation is some kind of homogeneous entity that only speaks in emojis, rather than the diverse group that millennials actually are. And ad campaigns based on that idea can come off as a little .... awkwarrrrrd.
For a sample, we've turned to the reddit thread FellowKids, which collects a lot of hilarious attempts by brands trying way too hard to reach millennials. Here are a few -- well, 28 -- of our favorites:
2. This facepalm-worthy ad campaign by Kia, in which the car company invited users of the website Cheezburger to create Kia-themed memes for a chance to win gift certificates in 2012. (Dubbed "Seasons Memeing," the campaign has become a cautionary tale for social media marketers.)
3. Honda's meme-tastic car ad
5. Video game retailer Gamestop's funky fresh language
6. The back of the box for Kellogg's Krave chocolate cereal
7. Juicy Fruit's attempt to speak millennial
8. This cultural appropriation by Pop-Tarts
9. This dopey cat from Wolfram Mathematica
10. Another dopey cat from Funyuns, the onion-flavored corn snack popular with American youths
11. This #superfun gift card from Wal-Mart
12. For cereal eaters, a test of authenticity
13. A cringeworthy pun by 7-11 Australia
15. The only logical way to comment on MTV content
16. Trident's valiant Snapchat reference
17. Of course, Wendy's
18. Chevy's new announcement about the 2016 Cruze, which was issued in emoji
19. YOLO Juliet. Literally.
20. LOL WNE
21. It's not just companies. See this ad by the RNC featuring Scott, the real Republican millennial who is not reading off of cue cards.
22. Found on Pinterest: Some advice for teachers on how to use memes
23. This amazing history assignment (We're not sure if much marketing research went into this, but it is one way a teacher is trying to reach students...)
25. All of these public service announcements. Good ends, bad means.
26. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services pinpoints the moment something stops being funny
27. Can the Indiana Department of Labor go viral? Probably not.
28. A school connecting with youngsters
This post has been updated to include Chevy's emoji ad, published on the morning of June 22.
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