Observations by Jaclyn Rosen

It was Nick Shore’s MTV Insights Article “Q: What’s the Opposite of Nirvana?” that led me to question the role humor plays in the lives of Millennials and explore a bit more about how marketers are using comedy to capture our attention.

“As someone charged with studying Millennial behaviors, motivations, insights and trends I have, of course, bandied about a lot of rhetoric about the generation using optimism, fun and unity as their way of pushing back on Gen X values. Of a generation bullishly refusing to go to the dark side, even in the face of, say, a trillion dollar pile of student debt,” Shore writes.

We’re all pushing hard to stay afloat through challenging times. And, well, humor is the perfect antidote to our overwhelming everyday struggles.

We bond equally over dim-witted Internet memes (they’re really inside jokes for our generation) and intellectual, witty humor on shows like The Colbert Report, The Office, and New Girl—just to name a few.

In the run-up to the 2012 election, Comedy Central partnered with TRU Insights and Insight Research to analyze the role humor plays in Millennials’ political beliefs, behaviors and capturing their vote. According to the study, “62% like it when politicians use their sense of humor; 55% want politicians to show their sense of humor more often; and 54% agree the funnier a politician, the more likeable he/she is.”

Obama apadted a looser, more easygoing demeanor than Romney throughout his campaign, and often relied on jesting to undercut his opponent. While I’m by no means attributing Obama’s success in the Presidential race to his comical advantage, it’s interesting to observe that he clearly understood the effectiveness of using humor over inciting anger, for example, in, targeting the Millennial population.

Brands that utilize humor in their marketing and communications gain strong Millennial followings because they’re able to effectively deliver the message they’ve devised.

As my friends and I drive past an advertisement on a bus of two “sketchy drunk guys” we can’t help but be captivated. It simply speaks to us in a  language we relate to. GatorWell’s advertisement hooks us in, and then effectively delivers the message of being safe while drinking in a nontraditional, humorous way.

Think about it. Why are we so captivated by Geico’s commercials? Why do we share videos on Facebook of Old Spice’s “Manly” advertisements? And why does everyone remember the slogan from Dos Equis?

So many brands are trying to understand Millennials as consumers, while they should be aiming understanding us members of an audience waiting to be entertained. There’s no doubt that the way to tap into my generation is through humor; it’s the most organic way to spread a message on social media platforms, and it’s the most efficient way to start a buzz both on and offline.



MTV Press: http://mtvpress.com/press/release/q_whats_the_opposite_of_nirvana

Yahoo Finance: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/millennials-candidates-humor-60-millennials-174500700.html

The Information Daily: http://www.theinformationdaily.com/2012/11/12/obamas-2012-victory-shows-the-rise-of-the-millennial-generation