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15 Jan 2015

The Scene: One Way To Attract Millennials

Those pesky millennials, with their eyes on their phones all day. How can companies and organizations reach them?

I don’t know all the answers, but being a millennial myself, I know nostalgia works.

As a child of the 90s, I love it when I get to harken back to the days of Ace of Base, Saved by the Bell, SNICK and Super Nintendo.

That’s also why I’m a big fan of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Fallon does a tremendous job of slipping in 90s references, subtle or not. This Full House sketch reminded me of my days watching TV after school. Every Full House trademark is included:

I’m not a fan of commercials, but a recent campaign from Honda caught my eye all because I saw Skeletor in it. I was a huge He-Man fan as a kid, and suddenly I was interested in a car commercial.

For millennials, the 90s were a simpler time. Now we have to worry about rent, mortgages, maybe a family, loans, etc. A lot of us graduated during the recession when jobs were scarce, creating an anxious time. When we see something that takes us back to third grade, it resonates.

Phoenix Coyotes

I’m a big time hockey fan, so I’ll use some examples from that sport. Recently, a number of teams have announced they will wear throwback jerseys later this season, like the Arizona Coyotes and New York Islanders. The Anaheim Ducks did so last season.

While these throwbacks are a reminder of how far we’ve come as designers, that’s part of the charm. When these teams announce these celebrations of the 90s, fans flock to the games. They get tons of attention on the web, and fans who are now in the 20s and 30s go crazy for them because that’s what they saw as kids growing up.

Using nostalgia is one way to reach millennials. One way to turn them away? Lie. Mislead. Stretch the truth.

Millennials have been the target market for advertisers since they were three years old. They are keen to what can be trusted and what cannot. 

If your brand wants to target millennials, consider throwing in some nostalgia. We eat that stuff up. But be smart about it, because we know what’s authentic and what’s not.

By Kevin Dudley, Spokane MarCom President