Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Millennials In The New Millennium

Shop-Talk With The Echo Boomers
By Christine Levitin-Breyette

According to a CBS news report on 60 Minutes titled, “The Echo Boomers,” my generation is, “the most watched-over generation in history” and we are “multi-taskers with cell phones, music downloads, and Instant Messaging on the Internet.”

As I sit here, doing my homework assignment, while at the same time watching my muted television, listening to Christmas music online, instant messaging my roommate who is right next door, and having just hung up the phone from talking to my mother for the fifth time today, I sadly must admit, we are guilty as charged.

As indicated in an article online titled. Generation Y: Our Next Sports Market (http://www.uta.fi/FAST/US7/REF/y-gen.html), “Younger kids look up to teens to…adopt the latest fashion, and adults often observe teens to determine what is "in.” We can prove this just observing today’s echo boomers in action. My young cousin dresses, talks, and acts identical to her 22 year-old sister and could not understand why she wasn’t allowed to go to a bar with her on St. Patrick’s Day. At the other end of the spectrum are some middle-aged women with iPods, borrowing their teenage daughter’s trendy clothes and shoes.

When asked how many cell phones she owns, Jessica Bernard, 22, explained, “I've had 8. I had to get new phones when renewing contracts with Unicel… (and I) got sick of the same phone after a while so I'd buy another one.” The Generation Y article also stated that, “One in nine high school students has a credit card co-signed by a parent, and…In a few years, today’s teens will be…spending for their first cars, their first homes, and their first mutual funds.”

Bernard further proves this point by sharing that she has, “two actual credit cards. The rest are store cards…I spend a lot of money…every day…I just have them to build credit.” Bernard also received a new car for her birthday and this summer will have to take over the payments from her mother.

Kimberly Cosetta, 23, has a different philosophy about credit cards, however her shopping habits are quite similar to Bernard’s. “I spend too much money, but I never spend money I don’t actually have. I prefer using my debit card or cash instead of my credit card because I am too much of an impulse buyer.” Many echo boomers may be similar in their actions but very different in the way they execute those actions.

In regards to echo boomers and typical TV commercials the 60 Minutes report explains, "They're out and about, shopping a lot. So, the traditional 30-second commercial isn't always working the way it was." Well, advertisers have found a way to make us pay attention by mimicking our real lives. Take, for example, the AT&T commercial of a mother discussing her cell phone bill with her daughter. The conversation goes something like this:

Mom: BethAnn?
BethAnn: WU? (What’s Up?)
Mom: Your cell phone bill is what’s up, all this texting?
BethAnn: OMG INBD (Oh my god, it’s no big deal)
MOM: It is a big deal, who are you texting 50 times a day?
BethAnn: IDK my BFF Jill? (I don’t know, my best friend forever Jill?)
MOM: Tell your BFF Jill…that I’m taking away your phone
BethAnn: TISNF (That is so not fair)
MOM: Me paying this bill that’s what’s SNF (So not fair)

In this simple and fun commercial, the advertisers are able to appeal to our lingo by using abbreviations we have created through instant messaging, and recreating a discussion that I’m sure most of us have had with our parents at some point. Also, they are able to add humor to the commercial by letting the mom understand and speak the new lingo, as well, which goes back to the statement made in the Generation Y: Our Next Sports Market article about parents looking to teens to see what’s “in.” This particular commercial was uploaded to youtube.com and a total of 1.13 million people have viewed it so far.

I’m certainly not saying that echo boomers are the perfect generation and, yes, we do spend way too much and are way too emotionally invested in electronics, but we are the creatures the previous generation created. We have become an integral part of the economy, we are the echo boomers.

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