Advertising has always reflected the likes and dislikes of younger audiences. Since its inception, it has been a youth driven industry that is primarily focused on appearance and the pursuit of an ideal.
That ideal changes with time. In the late 1970s, it was the beautiful, independent woman, who could “bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan” (thank you, Enjolie perfume). In 2019, that ideal was the highly controversial Gillette ad, “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be,” which told guys to stop being brutes and start showing up in life as woke men.
In the United States, youth culture drives a lot of the innovation and change we experience. As businesses react to the personalities and trends of the next generation, we all experience a seismic shift in the way we operate.
Decades of business experience in media has taught me many things, but one of the more important lessons is that business trends change dramatically, while the ways that businesses react to those trends does not change.
Excerpted from Dr. Joanna Massey’s upcoming book “Culture Shock: Surviving Five Generations in One Workplace."
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