MNI Blog  /  3 minute read

Millennial Advertising: Marketing to a Generation that Doesn’t Want to Adult

As the Millennial generation marches onward into adulthood, we find ourselves constantly torn between performing the necessary daily tasks required to keep our lives in order, and reminiscing of younger


As the Millennial generation marches onward into adulthood, we find ourselves constantly torn between performing the necessary daily tasks required to keep our lives in order, and reminiscing of younger days and simpler times. We’ve reached an age where adolescence is far enough behind us that it now feels nostalgic. This feeling of being forced to adjust to the pressures of the grown-up world isn’t a new concept, but it does have a new name – adulting – which perfectly captures the mood of so many of today’s blossoming adults. While this turn of phrase may come off as tongue and cheek, and be seen by its harshest critics as a generation stuck revving in neutral, for those who know what to look for, it has presented a new way for marketers to reach younger, profitable audiences on the verge of their financial maturity.

Oh, Grow Up

Despite what some may say, the stress of growing up and entering the adult-packed workforce is something every generation has faced, and each one has done so differently. After growing up in a technological age,
where we’re told as youngsters to dream big with no limitation to what we can achieve, Millennials are changing the way we adapt to this stress, and it’s changing the marketing world radically.

Millennials as Consumers


No matter the sector, all marketers and entrepreneurs are getting in on the trend to attract Millennials as consumers in new, innovative ways that help this up-and-coming generation avoid some of the perils of becoming adults. Through on-demand services, and youthful advertising, marketers have found the right balance to attract Millennial shoppers, and retain them, with hassle free products.

With Millennials poised to take over as the generation with the most buying power, marketers have changed their approach to appease this new generation of Millennial shoppers. In recent months, adult coloring books have sprung onto the scene as a way for Millennials to unplug from their fast-paced digital lives, and reconnect with the creativity of their youth. This quickly evolved from little-known hobby to full-fledged marketing trend when Timberland ran stylized coloring book ads in the March 2016 issue of Marie Claire. to appeal to the creative nature Millennials strive to hold on to.

Another emerging trend is adult summer camps, providing those new to adulting with a few days away from their hectic careers. These camps provide fun, stress-free activities sponsored by camp-appropriate brands, providing marketers with another way to reach Millennials away from their typical day-to-day routine.

Taking this carefree mentality a step further are the increasingly popular on-demand services. Far from uncommon in early 2017, these services range from car-share programs to food delivery subscriptions. Programs like Zipcar have become favorable for Millennials in larger cities, who generally rely on public transportation and don’t want the stress of a monthly car payment – and the subsequent required payments that come hand-in-hand with owning a vehicle. A company like Zipcar allows the consumer to choose when they need a vehicle, use it as they need, and return it when they’re done - negating the hassle of owning or leasing your own vehicle.

As on-demand services evolve from commonplace to expected, more and more undesirable aspects of everyday life will be locally outsourced. The Millennial preference to maintain a daily life with as little stress as possible—and one when free time unencumbered by work can be hard to find—has also caught on in the food sector, beyond just your standard pizza or Pad Thai delivery drivers. Millennials as consumers hate to waste their limited time walking through the grocery store, standing in line, and lugging their groceries home. These Millennial marketing trends have resulted in new yet widely-used food subscription and grocery delivery services. These services deliver fresh food to your doorstep, either as pre-prepped, ready-to-cook meals, or as a standard grocery delivery.

As the Millennial generation continues its ascendance to widespread demographic dominance, these specialized services will continue to thrive. The on-demand generation, with a little help from the technological marvels that surround them, have changed the world of marketing and advertising, and it doesn’t appear to be going back anytime soon.

Understanding Millennial Marketing Data

Once a marketer has an understanding of their target generation, in most cases it is important to narrow this funnel even further based on demographics. Read more about how the healthcare industry has shifted
its strategy to cater toward Millennial marketing trends, including sharing authentic stories and focusing on mobile. And find out how to get your share of a nearly $200 billion pie with these trends in marketing to Millennial moms.