Prabhakar Mundkur: Millennial Mania

07 Jun,2018

By Prabhakar Mundkur


Most Indian marketers seem to have been suddenly overcome by millennial mania.  Maybe it is the sheer amount of American marketing literature pervading our ranks that tries to find commonalities in a large and diverse group of people.  Our first chant for India and its young population somehow excluded the word millennial and settled at the ‘youngest population in the world.’ But that has now finally got converted to millennial mania.  Especially since current statistics show that there might be 400 million of this demographic group in our country.  That by any stretch of imagination is not a segment, it is an entire universe.  And close to a third of our overall population.  Never before in our marketing history have we looked at a third of our population as sharing such a huge number of key characteristics.  After all, it would be a miracle to generalize the attitudes of 400 million people with different incomes, locations, education, living standards, attitudes and behavior.


This has resulted in every marketer trying to attract the so-called ‘millennial’ even for products that earlier might not have been marketed to millennials.  The latest brand to attract my attention was the Maruti Ertiga which I found on twitter.



By using words like ‘chilling’ no doubt the ad hopes to attract the youth if I may use a less fashionable term.



And what do millennials do if one were to retrofit the strategy from the creative execution. They chill. They go to the gym.  They go to the office and work sometimes. They have laptops. They go shopping. They get in and out of fashionable clothes all the time. They even go fishing! (I am sure you will agree that’s a rare one for millennials!) They eat together.  They jump together. Hope that sounds like an insightful enough common factor that binds together 400 million millennials in the country.


Millennials wear denim to work 

That’s what the new Shopper’s Stop Campaign seems to say.  Maybe we have just hit upon one more deep insight that unifies India’s 400 million millennial population. No wonder I was noticing that all the young BMC workers are wearing denim whilethey repair Mumbai’s roads. Hey, but didn’t this trend start a long time ago?  With non-millennials like Steve Jobs for instance?  But anyway, the trend has just been adopted by Indian millennials who naturally are a little behind the rest of the world, which is understandable.  I believe denims are the uniform of the rebellious. Wait a minute!  Didn’t that American textbook on millennials say that it is the baby boomers who were rebellious?  Millennials are expected to be pro-establishment.  But obviously I am getting confused now.



I got a few more things about millennials from this commercial. Millennials like to break the glass ceiling and push boundaries.  Wouldn’t you say that is quite a useful insight? Except that I thought everyone likes to break the glass ceiling.


Hopefully, the viewers of the commercial don’t decide to go and buy Levis or Wrangler or other brands of denim after seeing the commercial.  I am sure there is another hidden quality about the millennials that keeps them glued and loyal to Shopper’s Stop.


Millennials spray deodorants on their shirts


If you thought that deodorants were meant to be sprayed on your underarms or on your skin, you are wrong. Not in India.  At first, I thought that Indian men and women were spraying deodorants on their clothes, because they were afraid that deodorants would play tricks with their sweat glands.  But not so. It is a practice encouraged by Indian marketers.  Take this Fogg commercial.



Certainly, it seems like Fogg has to be sprayed on the shirt rather than on the skin.  Also, it is the shirt that smells nice to the lady in the commercial.  But the ad says nothing about how the man may actually smell were he to take off his shirt.


That certainly begs two different questions:

Is it safe to use Indian deodorants/perfumes on the skin or are they meant to be sprayed on your clothes? They say they are body sprays. But perhaps they should say they are shirt sprays.


Do they work as deodorants or do they work as a perfume?


Perfumes mask body odour.  Deodorants prevent it.


Most importantly when you spray your entire shirt with a perfume or deodorant spray, does it stain your clothes?


And of course, the last question. Are these products only for Indian men?  What are Indian women supposed to do?After all, they are half the millennial population.



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