Advertising to GenY

GenY2-150x150Targeting and attracting the GenY demographic is a priority for many advertisers.  Developing a relationship at an early age can mean a lifetime of revenues. However, this can be a rather complicated and elusive audience to convert.

To better understand them, you must first look at their experiences.  This group has seen their parents work beyond what they might consider retirement age, simply because the financial situation dictates it.  They have also faced a difficult economy.  This tends to make them more frugal and risk adverse, with less credit card debt than previous generations.  They are interested in saving, but don’t always have the knowledge or the means.

Gen Y’s tend to be critical and distrustful of much advertising. When it comes to choosing a product or service, they prefer brands that are based on a core identity with core values.  And they don’t like the hard sell. But being persuasive to this audience can be a challenge, depending on your product or service.  A trendy computer company will find it easy to have their products shared and discussed on social media sites.  But a checking account simply doesn’t have the same sizzle.  So what do you do?


It’s not enough to simply have a Facebook page, or run online ads.  Since Gen Y’s are more likely to choose a product with “street cred”, your job starts when you’re creating your products and promotions. You have to put yourself in their shoes and determine what they would find compelling.  Ideally, it will have enough sizzle for them to share it with a friend.  If you can do that, any social marketing efforts will have a much greater chance of having impact.


When it comes to the creative message, it is important to find ways to get your product in front of them without being “in their face.” Research suggests they respond best to humorous and emotional advertising that uses “real people in real-life vignettes rather than features and specifications.  They will get the factual information about products on their own.

Then of course, there is the delivery.  Consider ideas like street teams, tying in with environmental causes, and certainly, mobile advertising.

GenY is the largest American generation at 92 million strong.  And they offer a potential goldmine for marketers and advertising agencies.  As long as marketers take the time to get to know them.

The Burmeister Group is an Atlanta advertising agency, known for its integrated marketing strategies and unique brand ideas.