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Advertising Gen Y Millennials

Generation This, Generation That; Generation Y

By Alix Hope | Creative Strategist

BD Network


The Drum Network article

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June 2, 2016 | 5 min read

Generation this, generation that. Consumer groups today are mind boggling. Introduce the word millennial into the mix and all sorts can happen for brands; messages are confused and tones are wrong. BD Network have compiled ‘White Noise’, a whitepaper cutting through the white noise between generations and demystifying the rumours so that brands can understand their consumers better. BD Network will be rolling out Gen X, Y and Z over the next coming weeks. This week we are looking at Generation Y, those aged between 21-35, ambitious, carefree, yet still unsure of what the future holds for them.


Generation Y

Generation Y thrive off sharing experiences online. They are ‘always on’ and when offline, they are lost. Alongside this, they are also classified as ‘generation rent’, renting their properties, cars, music and films. Gen Y are used to instant gratification and everything being easily accessible.

Experiences over everything

“73% of this audience agreed that FOMO (fear of missing out) is their primary motivator in seeking out new life experiences and activities,” according to research carried out in Inkling’s Millennials Book. This audience are heavy mobile users, so are constantly seeing updates from friends on what events they have been to; leading to a need to find the next big thing.

Millennials crave experiences. In fact, they cherish experiences over owning things, as long as those experiences are shareable. Inkling found that 53% would rather spend money on an experience than a possession. Brands need to start creating experiences to play into the niche needs and wants of Gen Y.

Always on

Millennials will look at their phones 221 times a day. Those phones are connected to the internet, which provides them with what they need to get through their daily routine.

Mobiles are an extension of Gen Y, their boundaries between physical and digital are blurred. This means there is more data available on our audiences. The more data we provide; the more brands are able to personalise the services that they give to you. The onset of wearables will also make it easier for brands to tailor their message to ensure that they talk to the right person at the right time.

Millennials are connected 24/7. Gen Y are part of the ‘always on’ culture, representing the FOMO that is a theme in most millennials’ lives.


Millennials are part of an interesting shift in the way we get access to products and services. We can now rent/hire services in an instant, at our fingertips. Today, with Spotify, we have access to 20 millions of songs on Spotify, and they do this by effectively renting the songs through subscription services. It has been predicted that in the next 5 years, millennials won’t be buying cars, they will be renting them at their own convenience through services such as ZipCar. These are all forms of a sharing economy. This leads to millennials having a fairly carefree mindset- they know they can solve a problem in an instant, so long as there is an app for it.

Superlative nature

Superlative means ‘to the highest quality or degree’. This summarises the millennial need for the best.

“We want to be everything today: successful in our careers, have a really good network of friends who we can support and help, and be brilliantly active on social media. As well as being physically fit, looking the right way and being healthy. There are so many pressures from all different angles today that weren’t necessarily there ten or five years ago,” commented Jess Vince, the digital editor for Grazia in The Drum x Bauer Media’s millennial report.

Technology is allowing our millennial to be the best they can be. They can monitor their food intake, steps taken, what events their friends are going to, all by looking at their phone. Our millennial know that they can get what they want, when they want it.

Millennials are of course, the most talked about generation of today. We know that they value experiences over materialistic things, but those experiences need to be shareable. Millennials define themselves by their values, so if a brand can share those values, they are going to be a winner. Unlike Gen Z, they aren’t thinking about the future so much, they are more in the now and living for whatever life throws at them.

Alix Hope is creative strategist at BD Network.

Advertising Gen Y Millennials

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