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The Influencers

How to Catch a Millennial

INFLUENCER: Create culture that is entertaining, interesting and relevant for the brand and for the audience, writes TBWA\Finland's Juhana Hokkanen

How to Catch a Millennial

Being born in 1984, I was in the first group of millennials born to this world. Based on life experience, I can you tell that there is a lot that is wrong with us. We expect more, don’t like friction and tune out when you try to show us advertising. We watch series, not TV-channels. We like on-demand, not owning. We stream our music and turn off radio. And naturally we browse the internet with at least three ad blockers on. So how can you catch us with your brand?

Don’t worry, we are not the unique flowers we believe ourselves to be. We still love good stories, we still get entertained by great content, cry while watching Armageddon (okay, that’s just me) and we still share the things we love with the people we love. When it comes to a story we can relate to or entertainment that dazzles us we could be from the first generation that shared their stories by the campfire.


Shift in competition

Content has always been king but in the age of millennials it has become the tyrant. You can spend your budget on super targeted data driven media, but it will be for nothing if the content fails to impress. To make the new generation fall in love with your brand, focus on the content and the entertainment value of it.

Nowadays marketing isn’t competing with the urge to get snacks from the refrigerator during the commercial break but with the vast amount of entertaining content from countless services. Be it pre-roll, mid-roll or six seconds we will still find something more interesting to do, if you are not relevant and entertaining enough.


Please entertain us

Branded entertainment has been lifting its head for quite some time now and as the culture changes so should the way brands find their audiences. It’s the logical evolution of how marketing is done. The traditional advertising model was created for broadcasting media. As the distribution of content moves away from broadcasting model, so should advertising.


Become part of the culture

Branded entertainment is a new field that opens totally new possibilities to be creative. As you move away from the slots that have been created for advertising, you find yourself in a place called culture. There you can also find the millennials who were missing from the commercial breaks. Now the last task is to create content that is entertaining, relevant and interesting enough to break through.

When it comes to branded entertainment you have all the possibilities available to be creative. In our agency for example we have created a social media campaign where an influencer lived in the Helsinki Airport for 30 days and built the world’s longest escape room game that happened in a moving train. Comparing to the traditional ways of storytelling these cases naturally need a lot more planning. Building a cabin and thirty days of interesting and relevant content at an airport requires a perfectly working agency-client relationship. But when it happens the end result is gold.

So, to catch a millennial get out from the comfort of advertising formats and create culture. Culture that is entertaining, interesting and relevant for the brand and for the audience.



Juhana Hokkanen is head of creative technology, partner at TBWA\Helsinki

Genre: Strategy/Insight