As a suit - an account manager and strategic planner that is - with advertising agencies such as BBDO, DDB and JWT, I have wandered around the globe for the past 25 years, living in the UK, Australia, and America. I've worked across most product categories - from Barbie dolls to beta blockers, suntan creams to sanitary napkins.
It has been an interesting journey!
I have had the great pleasure of working with some of the world's finest brands: Cadbury Schweppes, H.J. Heinz, Kraft, Chrysler, Mattel and Meryl Lynch, to name but a few. I now am privileged to live in Cape Town and work with a very fine design company, Pure Publishing and Design, as Director of Client Services and Strategic Planning.
Enough about me.
I am writing this article to make marketers aware of what I have dubbed "THE ME GENERATION": Mes.
They are dangerous and emergent and need your attention!
The despicable "Me" generation. A generation that has come to demand instant gratification: satisfaction, fulfilment, indulgence, relief, appeasement, pleasure and enjoyment and to relish within less than five seconds.
So from whence do they hail?
They were spawned by the children of the Baby Boomers, which incidentally escaped / walked away / are luxuriating with all the money that has created the worldwide recession. Thanks guys!!!
Mes can be personified as well-educated, moneyed and charming - but their mantra is always ME, ME, ME!!! ...and then some more for ME!!! Typically they flit from job to job - averaging two years of tenure - and when the road gets tough, the Mes get going, because they are infinitely employable, credible, pretty young things.
To holistically characterise Me individuals as selfish, self-absorbed, egocentric, overpaid and lacking in acumen would be unfair. However, these are some of the thoughts that readily spring to mind.
So where did the Mes come from? Simple. The Baby Boomers were a generation who had NOTHING. Their spawn in turn tried to give their children everything that they had missed out on. They feted their children - Jeremy, Rupert and Jermyna - and lavished on them untold gifts, like a private school education, swimming and piano lessons, Barbie dolls by the truckload...and of course Master of the Universe (don't want to be sexist here!) and a tertiary education - as everyone needs to have a degree, right - Darling!?
So the Me generation is well educated and moneyed and aged between 18 and 35. They largely live at home, mum looking after the washing and ironing and life is pretty good - living in what is a bit like a five-star hotel.
So what is my point?
For the marketer, the Me generation represents a huge opportunity. This is because:
They understand quality and indulgence. They desire signature brands - cars, phones, clothes, entertainment, travel, fine food and dinning; the list goes on.
They have huge amounts of disposable income - because mum and dad are subsidising their very existence.
As narcissism runs rife in the younger generation, even more so than in the past, targeted content is crucial to capture the Me generation versus traditional advertising. This is what we do at Pure. Brand-specific information plus entertaining non-advertorial copy creates infotainment, the content that the Me generation is looking for.
It's a market of great opportunity.... as long as you understand it's not about YOU, it's all about the Mes - and there will be no thank yous, or pleasantries, on this journey! Feel for me. I own four between the age of 23 and 28!