Back in the mid-80s, Michelob launched their famous, “Who Says You Can’t Have It All” ad campaign. It appealed to the “yuppies” (a term that seems to have vanished) of the day. Work hard, play hard, do it all, and have a Michelob when you’re done!
In the years that followed, Michelob took some hits for it. Can you have it all? Is that realistic? Did it lead people to unreal expectations? I not really sure, and I don’t really care. That was 30 years ago.
More recently I’ve been involved in discussions about the Millennial Generation, aka Gen Y, or even Echo Boomers.
I think they’ve gotten kind of a bad rap. They’re now referred to as Generation “Me”, for the egotistical demands for creativity, freedom in work schedules, pay rate, and desire for fame.
I don’t see it that way. Teaching at the university level for the better part of the last decade, I see something different.
Sure, they want compensation, but us Baby Boomers were just as apt to fight and scratch our way up the corporate ladder to earn more.
And yes, they want creativity in their jobs, flexible hours, and even the potential for fame. The thing is, we, collectively, put all that out there. Remember the “dot com” 90s, and bringing your dog to work, and Frisbees at lunch, and flex hours, and instant code-writing superheros? We brought that on. Millennials just want a piece of what they’ve seen is possible.
Gen X, in my humble opinion, was more of a “me” generation. Or maybe I should say, “Woe is me” generation. Millennials at least want to make a better world. They want to work for better companies, doing good things. They are entrepreneurial. And shockingly, during this down economy, they’ve been willing to leave paid jobs when they didn’t respect their employers. (How many Baby Boomers can say they did that?)
I think Millennials will have a big impact on the world we are entering. As marketers, I suggest we make peace with them, learn more about them, and then hang on for the ride.
Image courtesy of ImageryMajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net