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The Wrong Way To Market To Millennials

The Wrong Way To Market To Millennials

Ayyyyyy, my dudes! If you wanna get some real LIT info on how to stay WOKE to your millennial fam, then keep reading and slide into this blog posts DM's! #turnup #sorrynotsorry #yolo

Did that sentence annoy you as much as it annoyed me having to type it out?

Listen, I'm a millennial. Sometimes I use language that you, a company, might not understand or know how to use in context.

That's okay. You don't have to sound like me in order for me to want to buy your products.

In fact, I and many of my other millennial peers, URGE you to stop trying to "get" us.

If you need a lesson in how ridiculous millennial marketing strategies have gotten, watch this hilarious video from stock video firm Dissolve.

This Is a Generic Millennial Ad from Dissolve on Vimeo.

Need some more tips on how to avoid sounding like an out of touch goon when marketing to millennials? Here are a few things you should avoid.

Avoid "Woke" Language

Have you ever used lit, yolo, fam, totes, cray cray, on fleek, or any other type of millennial slang in your marketing message?

Dont. Stop right now. Please never do this again.

There's no need for you to "talk like us" in order to get millennials to buy your products.

We don't care that you know the language and know our slang. In fact, most of the time it embarrasses millennials and turns us away from your company.

It often comes across that you're trying too hard to appeal to millennial consumers, and is a major turn off to most people.

Just write funny, compelling, and anecdotal content, like you usually do!


How open and transparent are you with your consumers?

Honesty matters a lot to millennial consumers. We want to know that the company we are spending our hard-earned cash with is one that we can trust.

Be honest about your business practices, including whether you're environmentally-friendly, sustainable, organic, if you pay your workers a fair wage, and, yes, even if you care about things like human and civil rights.

Millennials can spot dishonesty from miles away. It's important to make sure there's no barrier between you and your millennial customers, so be more honest in your business practices.


Did you watch that video from Dissolve? How many different marketing cliches did you spot in it? Hint: the cliche is the entire video.

Young, beautiful couples walking on the beach smiling and laughing; having an impromptu dance party no matter the setting; people who constantly have their phones, computer screens, VR headsets or whatever tech glued to their hands at all times. These are all tired, boring, and mostly false cliches (although, I do spend a little more time on my phone than I probably should. You win that one, marketers).

Of course, all the situations in the video are exaggerated to the point of ridiculousness. But the point is clear: don't just keep using the same old tired cliches to market to millennials. No matter if it's visual, audio, print, or social advertising, you need to find new, cliche-avoiding ways to market to millennials.

Many times, that means just being yourself. It's as simple as that.

Being (Too) Weird

Weird is good. Millennials like weird, or what you would call Internet humor.

Brands like Wendy's, Arby's, Denny's, and Moonpie have great social media managers who perfectly understand Twitter and Internet humor.

But then you have this commercial from Toyota.

What's wrong here? Is it the forced humor by Toyota to make their own Bad Lip Reading video? The completely tone deaf understanding of what makes BLR videos funny in the first place? The marketing message of the commercial, which gets lost in the pursuit of trying to make a "funny" video?

Yeah, it's all of these things together.

Part of the appeal of BLR videos is that they take a video clip, whether from a presidential debate, an NFL game, or a music video, strip the actual audio, and replace it with what the creators think the people in the videos are saying, based on a "bad lip reading" of the video.

When you create your own BLR video, with no original video to base it off of, the humor is lost.

Toyota took a chance trying to make a weird and funny commercial, but they unfortunately missed the mark on what makes these types of videos humorous in the first place.

Millennials aren't as hard to market to as you think they are. All it takes is some honesty, some actually funny writing (consult a millennial on this if you're having trouble with it), and please, just never use the phrase "lit deals" ever again.

Seriously. Don't use it.

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Post Tags:Marketing Tips

Contributor Caleb Hennington

Contributor Caleb Hennington

Contributor Caleb Hennington is a 25-year-old writer, who manages the Atwill Media and FGmarket blogs. He graduated from Arkansas State University in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

When not writing, Caleb enjoys camping, running, collecting comic books, and binge-watching shows on Netflix.

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