Depending on whom you ask, millennials are either planet-wise, tech-savvy givers who are going to deliver the world into a brave new era, or entitled, dubiously skilled whiners who think they’re going to deliver the world into a brave new era (you know, like every generation before them). But one thing is clear—twentysomethings haven’t had the easiest ride in these straitened times.
As a new campaign for Bloomberg Businessweek states up front, 22.6 million 18- to 34-year-olds are living at home with mom and dad. And the campaign, from New York’s Walrus, positions the business title as just the tool to help those Gen Y "house barnacles" acquire the kind of edge that can rocket them to career success—or at least their own apartments. The agency cleverly targets not only the stay-at-home millennials but their friends and parents with a line of cards that act as hints to get a subscription, get some job savvy, and get the hell out of the house. The cards are available in electronic format at BBWgetsyouahead.com, and physical cards can be found at Papyrus stores in New York and San Francisco (they come with a link to a free subscription to BBW).
Agency founder and creative head Deacon Webster says the idea stemmed from a Bloomberg article titled "Young U.S. Adults Flock to Parents’ Homes Amid Economy." "It seemed likely that the parents and friends of the unemployed might be feeling the pain of this just as much as the unemployed themselves, and they might be looking for a way to help or at least show some support," says Webster.
And, of course Bloomberg Businessweek is served up as a catalyst for ideas—about potential career opportunities and job interview answers.
Once the campaign creators knew they wanted to use the parents as a conduit for the communication, "the e-cards were really the only logical way to express it because if there is one thing that parents like to send over the Internet, it’s funny e-cards," says Webster.
The cards gently rib the millennial targets (sample cards: "We were surprised when you came out, but we’d be more surprised if you got out." "We’re not ashamed of you but we’re getting there"). But the site acknowledges that they are largely not to blame. It reads: "While giving millennials grief is highly entertaining, we want to acknowledge that the woeful state of the economy is not their fault. These free issues and e-cards are intended to help a generation that could sure use a hand, not to blame them. Millennials are, however, entirely to blame for Saran Wrap-tight jeans.
See some of the cards in the slide show above.