We live in a photo-shopped world where we can even buy a pair of sunglasses with built-in Instagram filter to improve our view. My 7- and 10-year-old daughters know how to put on a perfect duck-face to get more likes on Facebook. And when we have a bad hair day, we hide under our beanies and still look pretty cool. Nevertheless, Millennials are increasingly experiencing perfection fatigue. They want to enjoy authentic events with real people and stop pretending they had the craziest weekend ever. Hashtag #nofilter became so popular on Instagram (filter Walhalla) that some guys decided to track the phony use of it on their Filter Fakers Tumblr page.
In 2015, Gen Y will finally understand the power of vulnerability, which happens to be the title of one of TED’s most popular talks. Brené Brown is a research professor who delivered some New York Times bestsellers like ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’ and ‘Daring Greatly’. She’s helping people to transform their lives by embracing who they really are, without the need to live up to other people’s expectations. That’s exactly what the self-empowered Millennial generation is craving for.
Hot tweetaway: #Millennials are increasingly experiencing #perfectionfatigue insit.es/1shGpr9 by @Joeri_InSites via @CoolBrands #GenY
It’s not a coincidence that the most popular celebrities among Gen Y are proudly imperfect people. Millennial icon Jennifer Lawrence is not afraid of being herself at the most inconvenient times – which is largely documented on the Faces of JLawrence page. Lena Durham, brain and face of the popular TV series Girls, has just published her ‘Not that kind of Girl’ autobiography, sharing everything she has learned with her fans. Although Durham is only 28 and was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder as a child, her daily dose of antidepressant didn’t withhold her from raking in 5 awards (including two Golden Globes) and many more nominations (like 8 for the Emmys). Lawrence and Dunham inspire youth to go for the #uglyselfies.
Hot tweetaway: The most popular celebrities among #GenY are proudly imperfect people: @LenaDunham insit.es/1shGpr9 by @Joeri_InSites via @CoolBrands
In a JWT study earlier this year, 85% of Millennials agreed with the statement that flaws make people more authentic and 63% even said they even like to buy flawed goods. Imperfection kills boring.
Fashion brand D.EFECT is bringing more personality to its clothes by deliberately adding irregularities, errors and contrasts in its silhouettes. The slogan of the brand? The beauty of imperfection. The luxury brand created in 2009 by Lithuanian fashion designer Egle Ziemyte has set the scene for today’s oversized sweater and jackets trends. In hair style, the ‘ombre’ trend and its successors ‘sombre’ (soft ombre) and ‘reversed ombre’ all look like an imperfectly grown-out die. If you think make-up is supposed to cover wrinkles and make girls look better, you’ve probably missed the undone and off-color trend. In the world of design, the Japanese Buddhist Wabi Sabi idea has been translated in worn-out new products (not vintage), odd-shaped and cracked tableware and rough jewels (for instance Jade Mellor).
Hot tweetaway: Flaws make people and products more #authentic says #GenY insit.es/1shGpr9 by @Joeri_InSites via @CoolBrands #millennials
Fruits and vegetables are often judged by their appearance, a problem contributing to US supermarkets’ $15 billion loss in unsold produce, 750 billion on a global scale. Stimulated by the EU’s 2014 mission to lower food waste, supermarket chain Intermarché celebrated the beauty of the ridiculous potato, the hideous orange or the failed lemon. The supermarket also distributed soups and juices made from the inglorious vegetables in its stores. Intermarché sold 1.2 tons of the misshapen fruit and vegetables per store during the first two days and most of the new range sold out before it could be replenished. In-store traffic increased by 24% overall and sales of all fruits and vegetables at Intermarché grew by 10%. Earned and social media of the campaign reached more than 13 million people in France.
Other retailers came up with the same idea in different EU regions: REWE’s Wunderlinge in Austria, Edeka’s Nobody’s perfect campaign in Germany, Coop in Switzerland, Sainsbury in the UK. Other giant FMCG corporates like Kraft Foods spent over 2 years R&D’ing a new production process to deliver unevenly sliced meat from their factories that looks like homemade amateur carving board work.
Do you apply this “failosophy” in your marketing and advertising?
Although some fashion retailers like DIESEL (the #DIESELREBOOT campaign with wheel-chaired reporter Jillian Mercado), JCPenney and American Eagle I’mperfect have embraced imperfections in their advertising; other brands like Victoria Secret’s Perfect Body campaign are still not quite getting the Millennials’ view on beauty. The idea of portraying human flaws in advertising is still one bridge too far for many a marketer. Let’s hope 2015 will finally allow advertisers to dare greatly and to bring back the human voice in a P&L sheet-driven business world. It’s the one thing we can learn from disruptive Silicon Valley start-ups: while launching in beta, you are certain to gain a first mover’s advantage AND learn from real user feedback. Or as GenYers would phrase it: “It’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than to be absolutely boring”.
Hot tweetaway: It’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than to be absolutely boring says #GenY insit.es/1shGpr9 by @Joeri_InSites via @CoolBrands
In this series of blogposts, we give a view on the Gen Y consumer and societal evolutions for 2015 and beyond. It is based on multiple brainstorms and discussion with a number of trendwatchers including Herman Konings (@soeproza), Tom Palmaerts (@palmaerts), Sven Mastbooms (@Sven_Seven) and Joeri Van den Bergh (@Joeri_InSites).