Making Out of Home Relevant to Millennials (31/10/16)

Making Out of Home Relevant to Millennials

Primesight is now part of Global

Millennials. The advertising world’s favourite word at the moment.

People are doing a lot of shouting about it but when you start to scratch the surface, it can be quite a misleading term. As Dean Burnett (a doctor of neuroscience) recently stated in The Guardian: "Can you realistically expect someone still in school and someone on their second marriage with a mortgage to have comparable shopping habits, or views on the government?"

The issue with this definition is that both a 34-year-old and a 16-year-old can be tagged as a Millennial. Clearly, their lifestyles, media consumption and spending power are worlds apart. I believe what’s more interesting is the different so-called 'tribes' and their unique behaviours and actions that make up this broad definition.

One of these 'tribes' was discussed at a recent seminar where the focus honed in on the next generation of big spenders, branded 'Generation K(ATNISS)', referencing the lead female protagonist in The Hunger Games movie franchise. This fascinating session unearthed the key traits and issues that define this generation of 14-21 year-olds.

With a distinct mindset that starkly sets them apart from first-era Millennials (25-34 year-olds), Generation K is the greatest challenge, and the greatest opportunity a brand faces.

To engage this generation, it is essential to understand what they value, what they believe, how they behave. Generation K are a powerful bunch, and have an annual €150bn – and growing – EMEA purchasing power.

So what makes Generation K different?
  • Alert: They are always 'switched on' and have grown up with technology. They are used to checking in on their mobiles and desktops frequently to keep up-to-date with their peers. They access breaking/current news via their devices and not necessarily through more traditional channels.
  • Aware: Social media has meant we’re all more exposed to the world around us. The global economic downturn, rising inequality and job insecurity have had a profound effect on them.
  • Apprehensive: They are more aware of the existential threat of terrorist attacks/bombings/beheadings, which are all viewed on smartphones leading to a fear and distrust of the world around them.

As a mother of two teenagers I can vouch that all of the above characteristics are completely true – sitting down as a family to watch a film on one screen is a distant memory.

On the rare occasions when we do get to do this, the conversation nearly always descends into an argument with me continually telling them to watch the film and stop Tweeting/Snapchatting/Instagramming and, most annoyingly, watching YouTube videos with the sound on!

To try and minimise the arguments, I have tried to understand what makes them different and look at some insight into the main traits and behaviours of Generation K.

  • They are profoundly anxious; worried about terrorism, climate change, debt, jobs and mortgages.
  • They are profoundly distrustful of institutions; only 6 per cent trust corporations to do the right thing.
  • They take 'selfies' but are not selfish; This tribe donate more and contribute more work to charity than previous generations. They care about social, gender and racial equality and making a difference to society.
  • Although they are always switched on via technology they are lonely; they crave human connection and face-to-face interaction.
  • They are makers/creators/inventors of things; They have the widest access to any sort of production process than ever before thanks to platforms such as YouTube and the availability of apps. The rise of Instagram and tools such as i-Movie mean they have access to skills the previous generation never did. The humble set of holiday snaps could now be in the form of an edited video with a soundtrack or an elaborate collage.

So knowing all of this, what is the difference between Generation K(ATNISS) and older Millennials? It turns out two main points:

1. Older Millennials are all about keeping up appearances. They share information to make them look smarter, for example, updates on current affairs and world news which may have an effect on them.

2. Younger Millennials share less, but when they do, it’s all about authenticity and their identity. For example, if they share content from a brand it will because they stand by that brand’s voice, ethos and product.

Their content is careful, curated and considered. They trust brands that speak to them in the same way; my 19-year old, for instance, trusts and respects Innocent and Rubicon drinks brands as they engage this age group with short funny advertisements that are in keeping with the brand image.

Taking all of this into consideration, how can out of home influence these different Millennial tribes? Here are some key themes to pay attention to.


A big trend with the growth of digital out of home is mobile. If mobile is their lifeline, how does out of home fit into the equation? It turns out it’s perfectly placed and is one of the key channels for driving search.

A recent Outperfom study, commissioned by the out of home governing body,Outsmart, revealed that OOH activity drives +17 per cent uplift in smartphone brand actions.

Crucially, this is massively higher for millennial audiences with +140 per cent uplift. A recent report by the IAB claims 10 per cent of UK mobile users blocks ads on their devices, with millennials accounting for two-thirds (63 per cent) of this number.

When put into this context, OOH has never seemed more relevant for brands looking to reach this savvy audience.

O2's DOOH campaign

Physical Environment

"Physical interaction comes at a premium in this digital world." Neena Hertz (Gen K author/academic/economist).

Mobile, social channels and video content are all huge for Generation K, who are said to spend up to 40 hours per week viewing and engaging. Out of home is well-placed in this regard; young people will shop, eat and drink in groups therefore leisure environments such as cinema can target them when they are together.

The average group size when visiting the cinema is three, and with the advent of interactive, digital screens, brands such as O2, Now TV and Pizza Hut have been able to create a two-way conversation with a youth audience through gamification.

Take airports as a physical environment, for example. Another trait of millennials as a whole is that with the advent of tech, they are, more than ever, co-creators, makers and inventors. Jameson’s whisky understood this, running their #BeOriginal360 campaign in Gatwick Airport this February.

Jameson's #BeOriginal360 campaign

With whisky increasingly attracting a younger, male audience, the brand gave travellers access to a 360° photobooth where they were challenged to take an 'original' passport photo.

Those who took part were entered into a competition to win a trip to Dublin to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. The takeover of screens in the terminal to live cast #BeOriginal360 passport images further promoted consumer engagement to this tech savvy audience. The result was a 39 per cent increase in sales in the activation period.

Talk in their language and make it fun

Heineken recently ran an experiential advertising campaign in partnership with Koffeecup and Posterscope, which utilised Ocean’s flash bridge capabilities to launch its new premium cloudy cider and engage with target audiences.

Aimed to disrupt busy millennials in their free time, the new beverage took inspiration from the traditional world of cloudy cider to develop a fairground wire game in a high-impact location in Westfield London – The Screen @ Southern Terrace.

An interactive Strongbow archer fired a lightning arrow to a standalone apple tree encouraging participants to play the game of guiding a ring down the lightning line without touching the edges to complete the challenge in the quickest time possible.

The game was connected to Ocean's The Screen @ Southern Terrace, where a leader board and participant pictures were featured to create a powerful customer experience.

This campaign is a clear example of how digital out of home (DOOH) connects with mass audiences, create unique customer experiences while bringing to life creative concepts.

Another great example of advertisers starting to tailor their communication message to speak directly to this generation is Fox’s DOOH campaign for their superhero comedy film Deadpool.

Eschewing traditional key characters on a billboard-type film advertising, they created a tongue in cheek, humourous emoji creative that spelt out the film’s title - it no doubt left older generations pondering, the centennials would have got it straight away.

Really, this goes back to that age old concept of talking to people as individuals and being as personal as you can. If you get this right with the connected Millennial audience and they like what they see, the opportunity for your message/brand to be spread far and wide becomes very valuable indeed.

May the odds be ever in your favour.

Originally published by Sarah Parkes on Shots 26th October 2016. Sarah Parkes is managing director of Primesight’s Airport team.