What TV Was for Boomers, Mobile Is for Millennials
Cue the sonic boom — the digital media industry has exploded.
Building a multichannel media campaign today makes me think of cleaning up after my twins’ second birthday party: total chaos, bits of really cool things everywhere and millions of places to start with seemingly no end in sight.
Devices, channels, formats, tactics, tools. Cross-channel strategies. Multiscreen plans. TV is out. Wait, no, connected TV is in. Data. Performance. ROI. And the list goes on and on. Does anyone really know how to piece all of this together?
Conversely, this new path to purchase is the most convenient it has ever been for customers. Access to information is on demand. Wants, needs, dreams — all fulfilled within moments. Sometimes, the one thing we’re looking for appears before our very eyes. It’s magic, right?
Well, not exactly. We’ve been here before.
A Turning Point in Advertising
The last time magic like this happened was on July 1, 1941. It was a Tuesday, and the Brooklyn Dodgers were playing the Philadelphia Phillies. But more importantly, it was the first full day of commercial television, and during that game, the first paid TV ad was aired. The ad was for Bulova clocks and watches and it cost the company $9 for the 20 seconds it ran. (To put that into perspective, during the 2014 Super Bowl, 30 seconds of airtime cost $4.2 million.)
Television breathed visual life into brands. It offered unimaginable access to masses of people. It changed the way we consumed information and sought entertainment. This new medium also changed everything about the way advertising was done: the agency business model, the creative process and the metrics. Forget video — TV killed the radio star.
And the generation that tuned into this new era of media was Baby Boomers — an original group of roughly 76 million people who, until now, held the title of the largest and most influential generation in history.
Enter the Millennials.
Born between 1981 and 1997, this group is a powerhouse. According to Pew Research Center, more than one in three American workers are Millennials, and this year, they became the largest share of the American workforce.
More significantly, Millennials as a whole recently surpassed Boomers as the nation’s largest living generation, making their $200 billion in annual spending no surprise. As if the magnitude of their size and spend wasn’t enough, they’re also equipped with the next wave of technology that’s disrupting the media empire built (and once sustained) by commercial TV: mobile.