How Ford Learned That Millennials Aren't Just Car-Hating Hipsters

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Hey, millennials! Ford is upset with you, you damn kids! They need to know why you all prefer growing mustaches, riding bikes, sipping PBR and strumming your guitars to buying their Fiestas and Mustangs!

Okay, they're not upset, exactly. But like that parent who finds out that their teenager's browser history is full of My Little Pony slash fiction, they're just trying to understand. In this case, they're trying to better understand the buying habits of teens and young people, who, as you may have heard once or twice by now, aren't interested in cars or driving.


To figure out how the kids really think, Ford did what any sensible megacorporation would do: they hired a consultant.

As Gothamist reports, Ford on Thursday convened a panel at ad agency Oglivy in which they discussed "myths" and "facts" about millennials, accompanied by this helpful pamphlet with quotes from a management consultant and "generational expert."


See, Ford? Millennials will buy cars... eventually! And they like music. And they like to be connected. And, um, some of them own houses. They are also between the ages of 16 and 31.


Spot-on commentary from Gothamist here on that "generational expert," which, like Internet cat agent, is a thing that wasn't a job 10 years ago:

Jason Dorsey, a management consultant, marketer, and self-proclaimed "Generational Expert" sought to explain the buying habits of the millennials, which, actually, can't really be explained, because it turns out "millennial" is just an insipid generalization. Sorry to disillusion you.

"Advertisers are trying to reach everyone with the same message, when they are too dispersed to all hear the same thing," Dorsey pointed out. You know, it's almost as if the term "millennial" is just an empty catchphrase tingling with vague connotations but doesn't actually mean anything in "The Reality." In fact, isn't it about time we all accept that "generation" is probably the most banal and arbitrary form of classification there is? (No disrespect to "those people in marketing" who get paid to shove made-up labels down consumers' throats.)


Another panelist brought in to teach Ford about young people's spending habits was David Rabkin, the senior vice president of consumer lending products for American Express, who lamented that he can't give children credit cards.

If you've ever wondered why this country has faced such hard times in the last few years, it's people who think stuff like that is actually a good idea.


And once again, we learn that the real reason kids don't buy cars is because they're too busy living their lives through social media. It has nothing to do with high unemployment among college graduates or maybe even a desire to avoid the unhealthy spending and debt habits that plagued our parents' generation.

Nah. It's all about cell phones and Facebook and "staying connected on the road." Really.