The Parenting Butterfly Effect: Chaos Theory and the Millennial Generation

August 1, 2017

In my Marketing classes, when I discuss knowing the demographics for the product you are developing - I invariably mention the Millennial generation.

I even showed a video of a guy from Detroit singing four-part harmony about “man buns” and eco-friendly Millennials wanting to “save the world with essential oil treatments”. You know, the video playing on Facebook that makes fun of Millennials.

Now, I know my classes are full of Millennials but I ask “how many of you are Millennials” because occasionally there are GenXers in my class. Then I sit back, watch and observe their reactions.

It is sad to watch so many heads dip low as if in shame or their eyes shift to looking at the wall. Some shrug their shoulders, some get defensive, but all exhibit the stress and anxiety that you would see in people bullied.

Even I have to admit to chuckling a bit when the video played because it was cleverly executed. But when I did, I had several students lash out that it wasn’t a funny video. They defensively said that maybe they should do a video about all the weird things GenXers and Baby Boomers do.

Now I’m laughing out loud and I told them that they were absolutely correct! Then I shifted into professor mode and turned it into a teaching moment by encouraging them to see the marketing product idea in a Counter-GenX video because it would generate hits on social media! And those hits could be parlayed into a revenue stream on Youtube.

I also told them to make sure they mentioned that we only played the (now dinosaur) Atari Pong computer game with “Flock of Seagull” haircuts in contrast to their more sophisticated computer games!

They seemed surprised that I was laughing at my own generation. But my next comment set them back.

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Contributed by Amy J. Keeley.

View the on-demand webinar “What Millennials Hear: When Baby Boomers & Gen X’ers Speak” with Amy.