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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

5 Ways Marketers Can Target Gen Xers Using Lessons From "Anchorman 2"


1. "Anchorman 2" features easily recognizable 70s and early 80s pop icons and fashion. It reflects how Gen Xers grew up watching a few powerful networks on TV. We know the casts of top shows almost like we know our own families, and it thus creates friends out of strangers easily. Marketers succeed when they channel this pop culture nostalgia. 

2. The movie depicts changing gender norms regarding gender and marriage. Gen Xers grew up with both mom and dad at work, maybe even at two jobs. Our parents divorced if they were not happy and they had boyfriends and girlfriends just as teenagers do. Marketers succeed when they depict characters struggling with gender norms. They also do well by channeling Xers nostalgia for an imagined earlier time that was better defined and less confusing.

3. The movie shows how society changed very quickly in a short period of time, and similarly how individuals reinvented their own identities in a quest for meaning. The shackles of the past were released. For children, though, watching all this instability yielded a sense of anxiety about "who we really are." Marketers do well when they develop products, services and experiences that create identity  and community out of whole cloth - and can be discarded quickly as well. 

4. In "Anchorman 2," the main character struggles with workaholism as a means of attaining self-respect. His self-esteem depends on validation by those he idolizes. Marketers succeed when they make employees at all levels feel uniquely valuable on the job - high emotional engagement and morale - work as a life's calling.

5. In the movie, the character admires the concept of connecting with his son but has trouble doing so personally. Gen Xers, having grown up unsupervised and lacking this connection, are the guiltiest generation of helicopter parents on the planet. Marketers who push those buttons with emotionally effective child-centric products, services and experiences have an advantage. So do those who can deliver an intellectual advantage as parents seek to equip their kids to be "survivors."

* All opinions my own.