Toyota’s latest ad campaign for its Venza model contrasts Millennials with Empty Nesters, taking a sly poke at the former while re-thinking how we view the latter. Check out the video below to see what we mean.
While the video is clearly meant to be funny, it does bring up a couple of interesting discussion points about generations – shattering some stereotypes and re-inforcing others.
Let’s start with the Empty Nesters. In the US the notion of retirement has traditionally attracted a fairly negative set of connotations. You only have to see the type of advertising aimed at older generations to understand this. From life insurance, to prescription drugs to mobility devices, the life of an Empty Nester has been defined as one that is fraught with danger. In fact sitting through an episode of the six-o-clock news on any of the networks is enough to make a 30-something wonder exactly what it is they’re working toward. A life full of arthritis medication and Medicare supplements doesn’t seem like a barrel of laughs.
But the perception of boomers is beginning to change. Whereas aging used to be about how to best manage a decline in quality of life, Boomers are increasingly viewing retirement as an opportunity to enter a new phase of life. Despite the economic downturn Boomers are emerging as one of the groups with the highest disposable income. They’re willing to experiment more, try new things and even explore new career goals that were simply out-of-reach while they were raising their children.
The Venza campaign captures this new outlook perfectly and represents how marketers are beginning to change how they message to Boomers.
But while the Boomers get a new lease of life, in Toyota’s campaign the Millennial fits almost every stereotype imaginable. Detached, slightly aloof, and eyes glued to a computer screen while indulging in a never-ending stream of social networking. It’s an image we can all relate to. The irony of course is that this is exactly how Millennials are viewed by many from older generations, who equate constant technological connectivity with being disconnected from the **real** world. But as we noted before, to a Millennial this is their reality. Mistaking detachment with not-caring is a big mistake. Millennials do care about a whole range of issues and technology is giving them the tools to act on them. But the big biggest challenge for Millennials is that while they have the tools, they often don’t know how to take the first step. That’s a problem of leadership – or lack of it – amongst Millennials. But that’s a subject for another post!