TIME Advertising

4 Times Brands Shamelessly Pandered to Millennials

How do you do, fellow kids?

General Motors on Monday issued a press release entirely in emoji. Will this get the kids to buy the 2016 Chevy Cruze? Who knows. But GM is hardly the first company to try to exploit Internet culture for its own branding gains among Millennials.

Here’s a few other times big companies have tried to get down with the kids, with varying degrees of success:

1. Volkswagen rides the “i” train

In 2012, German carmaker Volkswagen showed off the “iBeetle,” a version of its famous Beetle designed to work especially well with smartphones. Not only that, the car came with an app that sent “postcards” and kept track of “milestones,” like driving was playing Xbox and reaching 10,000 miles was the same as killing 10,000 bad guys in Call of Duty.

2. 7-11 wants hipsters to drink Slurpees

If you’ve ever been wandering the streets of Williamsburg looking for the best organic mustache wax, 7-11 thinks you’d like a Slurpee. Last year the convenience store chain put out plastic mason jars and straws with plastic mustaches. So put on some Mumford and Sons and get ready for a killer brain freeze.

3. Clorox wanted its own emoji

After Apple announced more racially diverse emoji earlier this year, Clorox responded by asking “Where’s the bleach?” The Internet thought this was a little weird, and regardless of intent, this was a dud.

4. The GOP courts hipsters, too

Ok, so this isn’t technically a company, but the Republican Party also tried to win over millennials, making commercials in which a hipster-looking 20-something explained why he’s a Republican. It was roundly mocked, most famously by John Oliver.

TIME 2016 Election

How Republicans Can Win Millennial Voters

One pollster's five-point plan

Only a third of millennials identify as Republican, while almost half identify as Democratic, according to a 2014 Pew Research survey.

For Kristen Soltis Anderson, a Republican pollster and a millennial herself, that’s bad news. She worries that Republicans will be left behind if they don’t update their message and some of their beliefs.

In her upcoming book The Selfie Vote, Anderson puts forward several ideas to win back younger voters. “The world is changing very quickly,” she said in an interview with TIME. “Republicans should not fear this change. They should embrace it.”

Here are five things the GOP should do, according to Anderson.

1. Understand millennials’ views on faith and the family

Anderson says a crucial divide between millennials and traditional Republicans is in how they view family. The conservative definition of family hinges on heterosexuality and marriage, whereas millennials tend to be comfortable with any arrangement of people taking care of a child, regardless of gender or marital status.

Anderson says understanding the millennial perspective on family will be key to developing a modern form of social conservatism. “I think if we talk about the importance of people in families taking care of each other across generations, regardless of gender, and that that is this critical cornerstone of our society, I think that’s not an off-putting message,” Anderson says. “I think when we say we want to define how family ought to look in a traditional way, that’s when we begin to lose where young people are at.”

She also says Republicans needs to account for the fact that millennials still have faith but are less formally religious, are more diverse and tend to live in more urban areas than previous generations.

2. Promote Republican ideals that will appeal to millennials

Conservatives may be disconnected from millennials on some social issues, but Anderson says many Republican ideals fit well with the problems millennials are currently facing. She says the party needs to appeal to millennials’ sense of entrepreneurship by talking about deregulation, and that discussions of pay-for-performance and being efficient with government money will also resonate with young voters.

“Republicans can look to some of our nation’s cities to find plentiful examples of big government, union power, and overregulation gone terribly awry, where young residents are looking for choices, efficiency, and technology to solve the problems they face,” Anderson writes in her book.

3. Address the student loan crisis

Rising student debt is a pressing issue for millennials. Democrats often try to more heavily subsidize loans, while Republicans often focus on plans that change the way loans are repaid. But Anderson says the key for the Republican party to help the millennials is to cut back on student loans in the first place by promoting alternative forms of higher education, such as online colleges and MOOCs (massive open online courses).

“Championing technology as a way to create greater choice, greater cost savings, and better learning in America is an obvious step Republicans can take to help young people, all the while shedding the image of being the party of the past,” Anderson writes.

4. Reach out to minority voters

Less than half the babies born between 2012 and 2013 were white non-Hispanic, according to the Census Bureau. “If Republicans are to draw their votes primarily from the pool of white voters in America, they are simply on an unsustainable path,” Anderson writes.

She says there are certain policy issues that can help Republicans with minority voters, namely criminal justice reform and immigration reform. But she says the biggest problem with Republicans outside of white voters is the perception that the party does not promote equal opportunities for all people. Anderson says there are three steps Republicans must take to alter this perception: “Showing up. Listening… [And] identifying the mixed perceptions about your agenda and your policy and identifying the ways that your ideas make perfect sense.”

“I would love to see more Republicans running for office going to events in places they’re not used to going,” she says. “Don’t just do the event at the country club and the town hall with your base supporters.”

5. Get on Snapchat

None of the previous four steps will ever reach millennial voters unless Republicans work on step five: marketing. Anderson says the party needs to get much more creative and incorporate technology and apps in how they distribute their political ads.

Talking about Snapchat and Instagram, Anderson says Republicans need to start “letting people have constant access into the personal side of your campaign, not the manicured soft focus ad type stuff, but the really authentic, real live behind the scenes type stuff.”

So which 2016 candidates does Anderson think would best appeal to millennial voters? She admits her bias as a Floridian before saying Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. “I think through Rubio’s very explicit generational message that he’s used so far, and through Jeb Bush’s attempt to really focus on how can conservatism be used as a tool for reform, I think both of those messages have very strong potential.”

“I don’t think young people are a lost cause, especially this time around,” she says. “Not only is it possible for us to make progress before 2016, I think we have to make progress before 2016. I think if another presidential election goes by where we are losing young voters by 20+ points, where we have failed to build up a base of support amongst this younger generation, I think we are one election then further cementing this really troublesome fate for the GOP.”

Read next: I Feel Ashamed to Tell Others That I Am Republican

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MONEY

Something Very Significant Just Happened to 401(k) Plans

sea of golden eggs, many emptied
Alamy

We've reached a tipping point

For decades, legions of American workers dutifully poured money into their 401(k) retirement plans. Overall contributions to these plans easily outnumbered withdrawals from the accounts of retirees ready to start using the money saved up to enjoy their golden years.

Now, however, data cited by the Wall Street Journal indicates that withdrawals from 401(k) plans are exceeding contributions. We’ve reached a tipping point largely due to the combination of retiring baby boomers and younger workers who are incapable or less interested in saving.

“Millennials haven’t moved into a higher savings rate yet,” Douglas Fisher, the head of policy development on workplace retirement for Fidelity Investment, which manages millions of 401(k) plans. “We need to start getting them to the right level.”

The most immediate implications of withdrawals exceeding contributions will be felt by the retirement industry—the companies that manage all of those 401(k)s and collect fees from them. As for the average retiree, or the average worker who one day hopes to retire, it’s unclear what effects, if any, this turn of events will have. In one likely scenario, some money-management firms are expected to lower their fees in order to increase market share in the increasingly competitive retirement plan space.

Read next: The Risky Money Assumption Millennials Should Stop Making Now

MONEY

Why NASCAR Races Now Feature DJs, Foam Parties & Go Karts

Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 ARRIS Toyota, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John's Chevrolet, lead the field to a restart during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 14, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan.
Jerry Markland—Getty Images A scene from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 14, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan.

It's all about turning millennials into fans.

The prototypical “NASCAR dad” got a lot of attention in the late ’90s and early ’00s, when political campaigns—and often, advertising and marketing campaigns—were shaped to win over this large and important middle-class, conservative demographic. The problem, from NASCAR’s point of view, is that the once-potent population of NASCAR dads has gotten both older and smaller, and for a long time it’s looked like their offspring had no interest in becoming NASCAR kids.

Thanks to “a whole host of social changes,” most obviously including technology, how people interact, and ever-shortening attention spans, “we just have not seen the generational pass on of motorsports that we had with previous generations,” Roger Curtis, president of the Michigan International Speedway, told the Detroit Free Press recently.

The same old races and the same old sales pitches just hasn’t done the trick of winning over the interest (and money) of millennials. This shouldn’t be surprising considering that interest among young people in other “old man” sports like baseball, golf, fishing, and boxing has been plummeting.

But NASCAR’s sales and marketing forces haven’t been sitting around waiting to see the sport’s fan base quietly drive off into the sunset. Last weekend, NASCAR’s efforts to woo hipper, younger fans were on full display in Brooklyn—not the New York borough renowned for bearded hipsters, but Brooklyn, Mich., where the Michigan International Speedway (MIS) is located. Ticketholders for Sunday’s Sprint Cup NASCAR race at the MIS were automatically granted entrance to Keloorah, an on-site festival on Friday and Saturday nights featuring DJs, live music, video games, go karts, and foam and paint parties.

“The MIS team met last July and started to brainstorm the concept of using music as that common language to attract millennials,” Curtis explained to the Free Press. He said ticket sales for the June event were up 10% compared to last year, and that another Keloorah—taken from the Celtic word for “celebration”—will take place later this summer when MIS hosts a second NASCAR race the weekend of August 14-16.

Tim RobertsIAMDYNAMITE at Keloorah, Michigan International Speedway, 2015

Side attractions like Keloorah are part of a comprehensive campaign to convert millennials into fans. “Millennials are different from baby boomers,” says Eric Anderson, chair of the Kellogg School of Management’s marketing department, who coauthored a 2015 study on NASCAR’s marketing efforts. “They want social engagement and digital interaction with brands.”

After being warned of its approach into the territory of “dangerous irrelevance” in 2011, NASCAR has made significant changes to become hipper and more fan-friendly, including the expansion of cell phone service and wi-fi at race tracks that host only a couple events annually and encouraging drivers to engage with fans on social media to boost their star power. Also, while races were enough to draw out diehard olders fans, efforts have been underway to transform them into more well-rounded, fun, and exciting “events” that last an entire weekend and feature places to hang out and socialize into the wee hours of the night.

“NASCAR is competing not just for a share of customers’ auto dollars or sports dollars, but entertainment dollars,” says Anderson. The idea is that a mere race isn’t enough to bring millennials out to the track. But when there’s a bigger social occasion built around the race, the odds are much better that millennials will be intrigued.

MONEY Millennials

Do Millennials Really Want to Live in Cities?

MONEY's Millennials discuss whether urban living is really what they want for the rest of their lives.

Not necessarily. Census data shows more young people are leaving cities than are moving into them. Millennial homeownership is up from 28% to 32%, but millennials recognize it’s an expensive but life-enriching experience to live in a city. We agree it’s great to live in a city before you have a spouse and children, when you can really take advantage of a city’s culture, but those things — like a strong nightlife and good bodega — lose importance when you start having kids. Things like good neighborhoods with good schools take their place.

Read next: What Everyone Gets Wrong About Millennials and Home Buying

MONEY Advertising

The Yuccie and 2 Dozen Other Ways to Categorize Millennials

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Raphye Alexius—Getty Images/Image Source

Meet the unholy mashup of hipster and yuppie, the Yuccie.

What do you get when you combine an insufferable hipster with a materialistic, ultra-ambitious yuppie? The Yuccie.

The term, freshly minted in a Mashable post by self-proclaimed Young Urban Creative (or Yuccie) David Infante, applies to a category of millennials who are “borne of suburban comfort, indoctrinated with the transcendent power of education, and infected by the conviction that not only do we deserve to pursue our dreams; we should profit from them.”

The Yuccie “is someone who is driven by the same careerist concerns as the yuppies might have been 20 years ago but with the creative drive of a hipster,” Infante explained to Yahoo. “They want to be known for their craftsmanship.”

The Mashable post includes a list of behaviors reminiscent of the old Jeff Foxworthy comedy bit (“You might be a redneck …”), only the checklist here is meant to identify the Yuccie. The individual who “takes boozy painting classes,” “avoids visible tattoos (not a prudent career move),” and “doesn’t like gentrification in theory; loves artisanal donuts in practice” may very well be a Yuccie. “Brogrammers hawking Uber for weed and Tinder for dogs,” as well as “boutique entrepreneurs shilling sustainably harvested bamboo sunglasses,” also fit the category, according to Infante.

The term “Yuccie” may be every bit as mockable as actual hipsters and Yuppies, but it’s hardly the first attempt at categorizing millennials based on their consumer habits and career ambitions. The acronym HENRY, or a person who is “High Earning, Not Rich Yet,” has been applied to up-and-coming millennials by none other than Goldman Sachs.

In 2012, Boston Consulting Group researchers identified “six distinct segments of U.S. millennials.” They are:

• Hip-ennials (29 percent)—“I can make the world a better place.”
• Millennial Moms (22 percent)—“I love to work out, travel, and pamper my baby.”
• Anti-Millennials (16 percent)—“I’m too busy taking care of my business and my family to worry about much else.”
• Gadget Gurus (13 percent)—“It’s a great day to be me.”
• Clean and Green Millennials (10 percent)—“I take care of myself and the world around me.”
• Old School Millennials (10 percent)—“Connecting on Facebook is too impersonal, let’s meet up for coffee instead!”

Mint.com, meanwhile, said that there are seven types of millennials:

• The Boomerang Baby (lives at home with parents)
• Perpetual Intern (underpaid, underemployed)
• The Grad Student
• The Idealist (active with nonprofits and crowdfunding)
• The Young Householder (loves decorating, being creative)
• The High-Tech Multitasker
• The Startup Kid (highly entrepreneurial)

Yet another list of millennial types was created last fall by the digital advertising firm Exponential. Apparently, it was impossible to limit the list to only a half-dozen or so categories. They came up with 12, including Nostalgics, Culinary Explorers, The Underemployed, The Collectors, and The Exuberants.

As you’d guess, there can be a fair amount of overlap with these groups. The individual Yuccie may very well be equal parts Idealist, Hip-ennial, Multitasker, and Exuberant, whatever that means.

Why are these categories created in the first place? Millennials aren’t regularly pigeonholed merely because it’s fun. Instead, millennials are placed in boxes by marketers and brand experts because understanding a demographic is the first step to being able to sell stuff to the people in it. The Boston Consulting Group presented its half-dozen millennial types with the straightforward goal of trying to “help companies improve the way they develop their marketing, brand, and business models.”

MONEY Workplace

5 Things to Do Right Away During Your Summer Internship

intern walking in building on first day
Getty Images

Try to make an impression—a good one, ideally.

Things are looking up for interns. More private sector employers are offering summer and seasonal internships this year than at any point since 2008, according to CareerBuilder’s annual job forecast. What’s more, many interns are getting paid actually money rather than with just “credit”: 53% of employers offering summer jobs are offering $15 or more per hour, on average.

But with the right approach, the benefits of an internship can expand far beyond cold hard cash. Let’s hope that this summer’s first-time interns understand the importance of showing up on time to work and wearing office appropriate attire. Yet there are quite a few other tips to keep in mind, particularly at the beginning of the program, to maximize the experience.

With only 10 to 12 weeks for most interns to gather experience and make an impression, here’s some expert advice on how to get ahead from the very start.

Learn Names

One of the most important tasks during the first week is to learn the names of everyone in your department, and in outside departments with whom you’ll interact frequently. “Even if your manager doesn’t take you around to meet everyone, that first week is so important to introduce yourself, see what people are doing,” says Ryan Hunt, a corporate communications manager at CareerBuilder.

While it’s understandable for newcomers to feel uncomfortable during the first few days, Hunt says most professional colleagues enjoy sharing advice and wisdom with interns. “Don’t be shy,” he says. “It’s the difference between having an OK and average internship experience and perhaps making a connection or networking opportunity that can set your career up for the rest of the way.”

Of course, you’ll want to get to know your fellow interns too, particularly if you will be working on projects together. And who knows, one of your intern colleagues could one day be at the helm of a startup and in the position to hire you.

Learn the Office Work Flow

Don’t pretend you know how things around the office function when you are clueless. It’s OK to ask your supervisor how a certain program — or even the phones or coffee machine — work during your first week or so. A month into the experience, though, it might look strange if you haven’t already familiarized yourself with basic office systems.

“To be successful from the get-go, interns need to understand how to navigate the necessary programs, how to manage their tasks, who to submit their assignments to, the approval process — the whole shebang,” says Heather Huhman, a career and workplace expert.

Learn Real Skills

“The point of an internship isn’t about just having an internship,” says Hunt. If you’ve scored a gig in a field you want to pursue post-college, the internship can also be about gathering legitimate professional experience and skills to set yourself up for an entry-level job.

“Look at what employers are looking for in [entry-level] roles and see if you can do those tasks in your internship,” says Hunt. “These are often auditions for your first full-time job.”

Be Ambitious and Speak Up

The first week is about learning the ropes. After that, you should be engaged in projects and tasks — you know, actual work. If you aren’t being challenged a few weeks in, Hunt recommends approaching your manager and reiterating what your expectations were. Let him or her know that you’re willing to take on more work, and try as many roles as your supervisors are willing to delegate to you.

The worst thing that could happen is you’ll get shot down, which isn’t necessarily even bad. “At the very least you’ve shown that you are desiring a challenge and you’re ambitious,” says Hunt.

Ambition is appreciated in the workplace. Interns should operate “with the goal of contributing their skills in a way that generates value and substance for the employer,” adds Huhman. “Taking initiative during an internship can lead to potential job offers or, at the very least, a great referral.”

Track Your Accomplishments

While focused on the tasks at hand, it’s easy to not think much about cataloguing all the work you’re doing. But it’s a good idea to be proactive about keeping track of accomplishments. Doing so will help if you want to take on more responsibility during the internship, and will also make it much easier to update resumes and portfolios.

“Always think about, ‘How can I quantify this, how can I say I was part of the team or fully responsible for a project that had a beginning and a fully tangible result,’” says Hunt. “Be thinking about that right now, as you start.”

Huhman recommends that interns create a spreadsheet to document each specific task they take on. “Interns should also create a folder on their computer to keep track of their completed projects,” says Huhman. “This will make it easier to create a portfolio of their work once the internship has ended.”

Remember: No advice is one-size-fits-all, so be sure to adapt these tips to your work environment. Above all, have fun and be open to learning new things, and your internship will be a success.

MONEY Kids and Money

The Risky Money Assumption Millennials Should Stop Making Now

man walking tightrope
Kazunori Nagashima—Getty Images

Nearly half of millennials believe family will ride to the rescue if they don't save enough to retire. Here's a better plan.

As if we needed more evidence that millennials have been slow to launch, new research shows that a heart-stopping 43% are counting on financial assistance from loved ones if things go poorly with their retirement savings.

It’s not clear exactly who these loved ones may be—their boomer parents, or perhaps successful friends or even their own children. But counting on others for retirement security is almost always a mistake. No other generation has anywhere near this level of expectation for family aid, according to a Merrill Edge survey of Americans with investable assets of $50,000 to $250,000. Just 9% of those outside the millennial generation are counting on a friends-and-family backstop, the survey found.

Boomers are famously under-saved; many will struggle themselves to keep from becoming a financial burden to others. Yet their millennial offspring, accustomed to unprecedented support from Mom and Dad that spawned a new life phase called emerging adulthood, continue to believe they have a rock-solid back-up strategy. In a MONEY poll this spring, 64% of millennials said before marrying it is important to discuss any potential inheritance with a mate. Only 47% of boomers agree.

Certainly, some millennials will inherit financial security. Wall Street estimates about $30 trillion will flow in their direction the next few decades. But the average millennial will receive almost 10 times less than they expect—and many won’t receive a thing, and So the best retirement backstop is one they build for themselves.

Fortunately, the current crop of retirees has left a blueprint, according to the Merrill Edge report. Both retirees and pre-retirees overwhelmingly describe the ideal retirement as one that is stress free and financially stable. Yet 66% of Americans expect to be stressed about money in retirement because of the way they have saved during their working years. Those who are already retired express less concern; nearly three quarters believe they will have enough money to last through retirement. Only 57% of folks still working feel that way.

Retirees say that contributing to a retirement account (63%) and paying down debt (68%) while working were among the most important parts of their life strategy. Working Americans today are engaged in these activities at a lower level: 57% contribute to a retirement account and 54% are paying down debt, Merrill Edge found. Meanwhile, 42% of today’s retirees also invested outside their retirement accounts, vs. just 24% of workers today.

Another source of stress: Workers today have less confidence in a government solution, probably reflecting their more pessimistic view of Social Security. Only 28% of workers are counting on help from the government when they retire, vs. 41% of retirees who now say they rely on government assistance.

Three quarters of workers say they will rely on their own savings to fill financial gaps in retirement. Yet it is unclear they will have enough to make a big difference. In the survey, about one in three workers say they would be embarrassed if close friends knew the details of their finances. Much of this points to millennials’ overriding belief that Mom and Dad will make it all okay—and that might be the case for some. But to be safe, young workers should start now saving 10% of everything they earn. Four decades of compound growth is the only backstop they’ll ever need.

 

TIME relationships

More 20-Something Americans Are Staying Single, Gallup Report Says

Meanwhile, more 30-somethings are opting to live together instead of marrying

The percentage of young single American adults has risen dramatically in the past decade, according to new research from Gallup. A June 8 report shows that the percentage of Americans age 18-29 who report being single and not living with someone rose from 52% in 2004 to 64% in 2014, a difference of almost a quarter.

The report, part of Gallup’s annual survey of between 15,000 and 32,000 people nationwide, found that singledom is slightly less prevalent in the South than in other regions and that young black adults were more likely to be single than their Hispanic and white counterparts. Intriguingly, the study also showed that more young men are single than young women, suggesting a trend of women in their twenties marrying older men.

Gallup

Meanwhile, marriage among 30-somethings has declined while the percentage of those who are living together has nearly doubled.

Gallup

The report serves especially to highlight a generational gap. Despite these changes in the behavior of younger adults, Gallup’s data shows no change among adults 40 and over. For the past decade, nearly 60% report being married, with between 3% and 5% living together.

[Gallup]

TIME Millennials

Millennials Can’t Afford to Buy a Home in These Cities

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Chris Windsor—Getty Images

California has the three least affordable cities for millennials looking to buy homes

Millennials are often the most sought-after demographic, whether by retailers or news organizations. But when it comes to real estate, the young generation is getting squeezed out of some cities.

The nasty combination of rising residential real estate prices and slow wage growth is making it difficult for a lot of millennials to afford buying a home in some areas — especially in California.

According to Bloomberg, the five U.S. cities with the highest “home affordability gaps” can all be found in the Golden State, led by San Jose, where the median annual salary for millennials falls more than $80,000 short of the minimum required to purchase a home in the city. San Jose is followed by San Francisco, where the home affordability gaps is roughly $60,000.

Los Angeles, San Diego, and Sacramento round out Bloomberg’s top five of the least affordable cities for millennials looking to buy a home, while Riverside comes in at eighth on the list to give California six cities in the top 13.

Somewhat surprisingly, New York places only sixth on the list, with a home affordability gap of $6,550, although Bloomberg notes that the statistics used to come up with that figure incorporate housing prices from areas far outside of pricey Manhattan:

Almost 80 percent of New York’s millennials reside in three counties: New York County, Queens County and Kings County, where Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn respectively are located. Using the average median home value for those three boroughs ($749,596) and the 2015 estimated earnings for millennials living there ($49,193), the affordability gap comes out to a whopping $52,262.

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