Millennials: Big On Cause-Marketing, Not On TV


It seems that youth-oriented cause-marketing campaigns are hitting their mark.

Millennials (a/k/a Gen Y) are more aware than Americans of other generations of campaigns such as Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty (33% versus 21%) or Gap RED (26% versus 9%), according to a new study of this cohort from the Barkley marketing agency, Service Management Group and The Boston Consulting Group.

Millennials also report greater exposure to such campaigns through social media (40% versus 22%) and online news (28% versus 22%).

Media-wise, Millennials watch significantly less TV than do other generations. Just 26% report watching 20-plus hours per week (versus 49% of the rest of the population). Furthermore, they are much more likely to consume TV on their laptops (42% versus 18% of other generations), and somewhat more likely to watch it via DVR (40% versus 36%) or on-demand (26% versus 18%).



The survey of more than 5,000 respondents probed Millennials' attitudes about cause marketing, grocery and apparel shopping, restaurants and travel, as well as digital and social media habits.

Other findings:

  • Millennials seek peer affirmation/advice. Seventy percent report feeling more excited when their friends agreed with them about where to shop, eat and play (compared to 48% of older adults as heavily influenced by friends and colleagues).
  • They are somewhat more likely to grocery shop in groups. Sixty percent of Millennials, versus 69% of other generations, usually shop alone. More Millennials report shopping with a family unit, spouse and children (13% versus 6%) and with adult friends (4% versus 2%).
  • They use more channels to gather information on products/services. For example, 50% of Millennials report using a mobile device to research products while shopping, versus 21% of the rest of the population.
  • For apparel shopping, they expect hip in-store help. When it comes to where they buy fashion brands, Millennials demand knowledgeable and fashionable sales associates (29% versus 19%). They value associates' knowing how to apply discounts and offer promotions, but not as heavily as other generations do (51% versus 65%).
  • They crave adventure, and think life should be fun. Millennials seek a broader range of activities, think globally, and report a greater desire to travel. Seventy percent said they want to visit every continent in the world within their lifetimes, versus fewer than half of older adults.
  • They prefer casual dining and more snacking. Millennials report spending 18% of their monthly restaurant expenditures in fast-casual formats, versus other generations' 13%. They are also more than twice as likely as older people to eat snacks mid-morning, mid-afternoon and late at night.
1 comment about "Millennials: Big On Cause-Marketing, Not On TV ".
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  1. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, August 23, 2011 at 12:37 p.m.

    Interestingly, this study seems describe, well...about any young generation. It shows some shifts in where/how they consume media. But self-perceptions and motivations are pretty steady with generations going back to the 60's and before. Their expectations for life reflect early expectations that change as they engage with work, marriage, and family.

    That cause marketing reaches them more effectively isn't a surprise - and isn't anything new. Remember the causes in the 50's, 60's, 70's, ... A young generation has more time to spend sorting out cause relates issues and hasn't yet become suspicious of the motivations behind causes.

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