Millennial Marketing: WHY TV Lives On … For Now

April 28, 2016

Don’t bury the remote just yet.

Millennials as a whole are watching less TV each week on average than just two years ago, but it’s not so black and white. Women, mostly college-aged, are still tuning in to cable to watch their shows – in fact, numbers even increased (though minimal) in Q4 2013, showing that television is still hanging in with 18-24-year-olds … even if they have their phones in their hands the whole time.

Television advertising is adapting to the smartphone scourge with a “keep your friends close but your enemies closer” mentality to stay on top (for now). Brands are tailoring their TV commercials to direct consumers to social media by including Facebook/Instagram/Twitter page addresses and branded hashtags to use across platforms. And due to three major sporting events so far in 2014 – Super Bowl, Sochi Winter Olympics, World Cup – it’s predicted that there will be an upswing in television advertising revenue by 8.3% (after its revenue went down by 0.6% while digital’s went up by 17% in 2013). But, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any successful commercials during the Super Bowl and World Cup, especially, that did not include a branded hashtag or direct to an online campaign. Hyundai’s “#BecauseFutbol” World Cup commercials were clever, funny and encompassed the obsession of soccer fans without many words … and ended with a fat hashtag stamped across the screen. Bud Light’s “Whatever, USA” commercials were used as vehicles to get people to sign up for their contest online.

This is not letting the competition win – this is brands using Millennial habits to their advantage; 41% of Millennials say they have used their devices to browse for or buy a product after seeing an ad for it, on TV or otherwise. The key to being seen is utilizing a balanced, cross-platform approach, using all screens to reach all demographics and generations to the brand’s benefit. And although digital video is predicted to overrun TV advertising by 2018, for now, they have a symbiotic relationship – even if television is the bird and digital is the hippo whose jaw is getting tired …