Taco Bell Should Have Read Bob Hoffman's Anti-Millennial Rant

Despite the fact that Ad Contrarian's Bob Hoffman recently gave Millennial-obsessed marketers and agency folks a good ass whooping earlier this week, some are still spewing the same ill-informed crap about how Millennials are marketers' Holy Grail. One such pro-Millennial mouthpiece is Spark Senior VP Scott Hess, who in relationship to the Highwire Brand Studio project his agency -- on behalf of client Taco Bell -- is working on with Miami U students, said: “We need new energy and fresh perspectives. We need people who have grown up as digital natives.” Oh, good God! How about people with disposable income to actually buy the shit marketers are trying to sell. Okay, yeah -- Taco Bell food is cheap, but this fixation with all things Millennial is shortsighted to say the least.

Oh, you agency production (and account management) people are going to love this. Production service firm Talent Partners has announced the launch of nABLE during Advertising Week. nABLE is a new software platform that gives Talent Partners’ clients the ability to view and manage all assets, data and documents related to their commercials and campaigns through one secure, centralized location. It provides Talent Partners’ agency and advertiser clients with all the vital information they need to be more efficient and make better decisions related to talent costs, usage rights and expirations for their campaigns. The launch represents the first step in a $25 million technology evolution designed to enhance client service, one supported by a major investment in Talent Partners by global asset management giant, The Carlyle Group.

And you agency media (and account management) people are going to love this. Yesterday at the IAB MIXX Conference in New York, the AAAA's and the IAB announced plans to launch an industry accountability program designed to fight ad fraud, malware and the piracy of intellectual property. You slimy purveyors of cheesy backroom, back-channel deals may not like this so much. Of the new service, IAB President and CEO Randall Rothenberg said: “Criminal activity threatens to erode trust in the digital ecosystem. Quality, original content is not sufficiently protected against the threats of fraudulent traffic, malware attacks, and IP piracy, and it is time that publishers, marketers and agencies stand together to combat these dangerous forces as a unified entity.” You go, Randall! 

Oh, and that's not all the IAB is going to tackle. Sadly, this one has been attempted many times before with little to no forward movement. Maybe it will be different this time. The IAB has launched the IAB Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization which aims to increase racial, ethnic, gender and economic diversity and improve peoples’ skills in the digital media and advertising industries. Tim Armstrong, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AOL Inc., will lead the IAB Education Foundation as Chairman of the Board. On his participation, Armstrong said, “The IAB has a nearly 20-year history of solving the industry's biggest growth challenges and will now focus on perhaps the most overlooked and untapped opportunity -- recruiting and growing the talent and skill sets we need in our industry. We need a dedicated organization to focus solely on building a trained and professional workforce that includes all constituencies, many of which have been left behind through much of the digital revolution -- minorities, women, the disabled, the economically disadvantaged and military veterans and their families." Here's hoping it's not just more hot air



8 comments about "Taco Bell Should Have Read Bob Hoffman's Anti-Millennial Rant".
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  1. SCOTT HESS from SPARK, October 1, 2014 at 12:08 a.m.

    I'm not a mouthpiece. I lead insights at Spark. Before joining Spark nearly three years ago, I oversaw insights at TRU, which was then the world's leading youth insights/research firm. I've helped more than 120 of the world's leading brands make more effective connections with Millennials. Coke. Pepsi. Nike. Under Armour. ESPN. ABC. MTV. Activision. EA. Etc. I've also given nearly 500 speeches about youth, Millennials, and marketing. And my TED Talk on Millennials has been viewed more than 150,000 times on YouTube. Trust me, I'm credentialed. I'm not a mouthpiece. I'm an expert.

    Millennials represent roughly 80 million people in the U.S. They're ~14 to 34 years of age. (Gen'l theory is soft science, hence the rough numbers.)

    Already they're Taco Bell's core consumer. They're not only entering their prime earning and consuming years, they're also the obvious arbiters of culture in a world where Y.A. lit and music has become a mass phenomenon, and generational barriers are falling as we all become youth-positive.

    I'm not sure exactly what you were objecting to in my comments, other than the term "Millennial." But whatever set you off, I can assure you your thoughts are wrong-headed.

    The article you reference bitches about targeting Millennials because, according to the author, they don't have the spending power of older targets. As you might guess, they're more than equipped to purchase burritos, tacos, and A.M. Crunchwraps.


    Scott Hess

  2. Bob Shiffrar from Lehman Millet, October 1, 2014 at 8:54 a.m.

    Mr. Hess, your biases are showing. You say "according to" Bob Hoffman, Millennials have less disposable income, as if it's merely his opinion. You also say he "bitches" about it. Actually, he uses hard numbers and facts to prove it. And to prove that they're an overused target for products and services that they not only don't buy, but can't afford. He also makes the relevant point that like every generation before them, Millennials' buying habits will change once they start making real money. What they purchase now isn't even close to what they'll buy then. That said, they ARE a worthy and significant audience for Taco Bell right now, so targeting them makes complete sense. Just don't expect them to remain loyal customers once they start making some decent money.

  3. SCOTT HESS from SPARK, October 1, 2014 at 10:31 a.m.

    No biases, Mr. Shiffrar. Mr. Whitman suggests I am a "mouthpiece" for marketers "spewing ill-informed crap about how Millennials are marketers Holy Grail." I merely want to remind Mr. Whitman, and apparently you, that I am not a mouthpiece but an expert; that there's nothing ill informed about our client, Taco Bell, targeting the people who actually are buying their food; and that in the QSR category, Millennials -- who represent more than a quarter of the population, and who have a direct spend of about US$200 billion -- have more than enough disposable cash to buy a boatload of tasty burritos. Oddly enough, you seem to reach that same conclusion by the end of your comment.

    Mr. Whitman may have an axe to grind with someone, but he's picked the wrong target in this post.

  4. SCOTT HESS from SPARK, October 1, 2014 at 10:40 a.m.

    Further, for gosh sakes, look at the title of Mr. Whitman's post: "Taco Bell Should Have Read Bob Hoffman's Anti-Millennial Rant." Seriously? Mr. Shiffrar, do you agree that Taco Bell would be wise to walk away from Millennials? You must agree: that's ridiculous.

  5. Bob Shiffrar from Lehman Millet, October 1, 2014 at 10:59 a.m.

    No, as I said, Millennials are probably the single best target for Taco Bell. Certainly for now they are, anyway. My only gripe was that in your original comment, you treated Bob Hoffman exactly the way you complained that Mr. Whitman was treating you.

  6. SCOTT HESS from SPARK, October 1, 2014 at 11:22 a.m.

    Fair enough. Point taken/conceded.

  7. Patrick Scullin from Ames Scullin O'Haire, inc., October 1, 2014 at 5:28 p.m.


  8. George Parker from Parker Consultants, October 1, 2014 at 7:57 p.m.

    @Herr Hess...
    You should never have flown that plane to Scotland. Still, you were only a millennial at the time, long before you became an "expert!"
    Cheers/George "AdScam" Parker

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