A Gen Z Perspective on the Future of Finance
Four friends are in a heated debate on what credit card to pick as a 20-something. The debate features a 19-year-old, involved in the crypto space, day-trading, and NFT collecting since 2012; another 20-year-old who just earned his real estate license and is a top 10% active user of the Robinhood investment app; a 19-year-old, with no finance or personal investment knowledge, who is regretting her mistake of asking which credit card she should next apply for. And then there’s me, a 21-year-old, somewhere in the middle—really interested in the industry and moderately active when it comes to my personal investments and financial health.Read more
The conversation goes for five hours with a plethora of different providers discussed, escalating to where I think our next installment of Sunday brunch might be canceled. Two days go by & our friend announces that she has signed up for—wait for it—a company that we’ve never even heard of. She explains that she went rogue because of the benefits and how educational the onboarding process was to her; a five-hour debate for no cigar.
This is a great representation of how diverse our generation is when it comes to financial knowledge, needs, and priorities. As Ryan Hollister explains: “They’re (Gen-Z) just in a very different spot financially than their parents were in the previous generations. Their view of the world is a lot different… Simply offering them checking accounts and loan products is not necessarily meeting their needs.”
This resonates with our approach to traditional banks and services. According to a survey conducted by PYMNTS, Gen-Z is the least interested in traditional finance with 83% of the respondents stating they are frustrated with the traditional banks and credit unions as they are today. Yet, to this day, we still trust traditional banks and service providers more than neobanks. Studies overwhelmingly show that Gen Z bankers still prefer traditional financial institutions to neobanks and feel more comfortable opening accounts with them.
On the flip side, there is web3, NFT, and cryptos—an entirely different beast in the world of Gen Z and finances. There are 15-year-old digital artists like Jaiden Stipp that became millionaires overnight with their NFTs. When I was 15, I would not have known what to do with that amount of money. All in all, this got me thinking: How can a financial services provider even begin to address all these niche problems we have?
To find answers, I went to Current, a FinTech company based out of NYC with a mission to improve financial outcomes for Americans. To this day, Current has 4 million members. The platform provides mobile banking services from checkings to savings, getting paid faster, and everything a traditional bank can do, minus the fees. My friend, Adam Hadi, VP of Marketing at Current, shed light on the questions of how they built a brand that earned Gen Z’ers trust. And with a claim to the most followed financial brand on TikTok, Adam’s word holds weight in this space. Here are some key takeaways from our chat:
1. Tackle core problems first!
Adam: “Getting your core banking, being the place in which you put your paycheck, hold your money, is kind of the center of the financial world…and then you can build spokes off of that.”
Emir’s Take: No matter who you are targeting, there are universal problems when it comes to financial health. Having a card, a secure place to put your money in, we all need them. Once the brand has those tackled, you can penetrate into other services to delight consumers.
2. Financial decisions are hard. Acknowledge that, and simplify it!
Adam: “When you first enter the workforce […] there are a lot of things to figure out […] things that I take for granted just having learned at this point by being around it. You haven’t done that when you’re 18,20, 22—for a lot of people it’s intimidating—so they just ignore it. That leads them to make a lot of financial decisions that are not in their best interest. By simplifying a lot of that, bringing features & tools that typically aren’t available to you and making them not just available but accessible and easy to use, that’s what we are doing for an entire generation.“
Emir’s Take: It is hard for Gen Z to dip their toes in the financial waters. It is really confusing. Admitting that is not wrong; it only builds brand trust. The aim of the service providers should be to eliminate the friction.
3. Be approachable.
Adam: “We have a brand that feels approachable, relevant; making a promise we can deliver on in the app. […] Wiith Current, what you’re seeing on the surface is hopefully nice and simple & easy to understand. And then, behind the curtain, financial technology is incredibly complex and, again, that’s why it’s not available to your average person.”
Emir’s Take: Create a brand that is authentic, genuine, and welcoming. That’s it.
4. Build your unique community.
Adam: “Community has always been a big deal when it comes to finances. […] We can move together, do things together. Community is powerful. It’s inherent in what we do. Within the creative world, a lot of what we do it’s just based on relationships. That’s kind of hard to replicate because again it has to be real, it has to be authentic, you have to be delivering on that. In many cases, these are relationships that have been around for years […] It’s trust that’s hard to replicate & takes time. We’re the future of banking – that’s where it makes sense to be, the key here being there’s an authenticity to it.”
Emir’s Take: Your people are everything to your brand. Building relationships and nurturing them is what makes your brand different from other players. And trust is crucial for that. If your community can vouch for you and trust you with their money, others will too.
Adam’s TLDR: “Probably comes down to: in marketing, you can’t really fake it. You can’t really fake it for very long. Whether it be the promises you’re making, how you’re bringing in customers & then delivering on customers. You’re not gonna get there.
Whether it be our actual technology, how we work with creators, it’s all fulfilling reality.”
Web3 – Web3 has become a catch-all term for the vision of a new, better internet. At its core, Web3 uses blockchains, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs to give power back to the users in the form of ownership. A 2020 post on Twitter said it best: Web1 was read-only, Web2 is read-write, Web3 will be read-write-own.
Cryptocurrencies– A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that is secured by cryptography, which makes it nearly impossible to counterfeit or double-spend. Many cryptocurrencies are decentralized networks based on blockchain technology—a distributed ledger enforced by a disparate network of computers.
THIS WEEK IN HOT GEN Z TRENDS: GRAB THE POPCORN 🍿
We’re sharing the biggest trends in Gen Z’s world this week. Want these trends sent directly to your inbox? Sign up for The Screenshot, our weekly Gen Z insights newsletter.Read more
The “Don’t Worry Darling” production has been an adventure, to say the least. The psychological thriller, directed by Olivia Wilde and featuring the likes of Harry Styles, Florence Pugh, Gemma Chan, Chris Pine, and Nick Kroll, was expected to be a hit. However, more and more drama has unfolded from the set. In September of 2020, Styles replaced Shia LaBeouf, as the latter was facing accusations of sexual harassment and emotional abuse from FKA twigs, as well as poor behavior to other cast members. Since then, “Don’t Worry Darling” has endured beef between Pugh and Wilde, Styles (allegedly) spitting on Pine and (definitely) kissing Kroll, Pugh refusing to promote the movie in person or on her socials, and recently-divorced Wilde and Styles becoming a couple. After debuting on September 23, the movie has been subject to both criticism and love. Though it currently has a 36% on Rotten Tomatoes and is negatively viewed by critics, fans of Pugh and Styles, as well as typical moviegoers, have enjoyed the movie thus far. @Loverrycore on Twitter posted, “‘Don’t Worry Darling’ is actually so good when you don’t have [someone] in your ear telling you it isn’t,” and this sentiment seems to be similar in most non-critic viewers. Staying drama-free, Kroll and Sydney Chandler joked about being a supporting actor on his TikTok. The rest of the cast could take some notes.
Happy Hawaiian History Month! To recognize the month, the Screenshot is bringing you five Hawaiian Gen Zers to know.
1. Melemaikalani Makalapua (@melemaikalanimakalapua on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube) is a 20-year-old living in Northern California. Her content focuses on Hawaiian culture and #LandBack. Melemaikalani is a professional hula and ‘Ori Tahiti dancer and offers classes to her followers. Check her out to learn more about Hawai’i!
2. Lehuauakea (@_lehuauakea_ on Instagram) is a 26-year-old queer artist. They create art with ingredients from nature. Lehuauakea identifies as māhūwahine, Hawai’i’s third gender. They were featured in the New York Times for their work and partnered with the Human Rights Campaign for AAPIHPI Heritage Month. Visit their website to see more!
3. Timothy (@timothy.burke on Instagram and TikTok) is a Hawaiian living in Colorado whose goal is to “spread aloha.” He makes funny videos about different shakas, Hawaiian flirting, and living on the mainland. Timothy also uses @humblebroke to help others budget and learn about finances. Follow him for a laugh!
4. Lilinoe (@lilino.e on Instagram and TikTok) is an intersex Hawaiian and Sicangu Lakota environmental activist. Her posts center around her experience as an Indigenous person and decolonization. Lilinoe is also writing a book. Check out her life on either platform!
5. Tama (@tamatcha18 on Instagram and TikTok and “It’s Tama” on YouTube) is a 22-year-old asexual filmmaker. They are in the process of making a film. Tama uses her platform to talk about asexual and Hawai’ian identities. He also teaches. Follow Tama to see all this and more!
Four years after Greta Thunberg began striking for climate justice, Gen Z is back in the streets to demand more from companies and governments. According to Fridays for Future, the September 23 strike is centered around #PeopleNotProfit and Loss and Damage. The latter acknowledges the disproportionate impact of environmental damage on colonized countries and influence of imperialist nations in accelerating this destruction. In other words: the countries causing climate change are not the ones dealing with it. Thus, activists are calling on these extremely wealthy bodies to pay for the damage they’re causing. To see photos from strikes around the world, check out Friday for Future’s Twitter. At the UN General Assembly this week, Secretary-General António Guterres called for Loss and Damage provisions and fired at Big Oil for “feasting on hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies and windfall profits while household budgets shrink and our planet burns.” The clock is approaching midnight to combat ecological devastation, and conglomerates and Global North countries must acknowledge the millions who’ve protested and ensure comprehensive climate provisions.
Similar story, different islands. Gen Z is reigniting the discussion over the liberation of Puerto Rico and Hawai’i by using social media. Tourism in Hawai’i has been a topic of debate, especially during the height of the pandemic, as reckless travelers destroyed natural infrastructure and disrespected COVID guidelines. In June of 2021, the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization approved a draft resolution calling on the US to remove its influence on Puerto Rico. Accounts like @ethio_rican and @ainamomona use their platforms to catalyze Zoomers to organize around decolonization. The rise of social media has allowed younger people to learn an intersectional history education, beyond what’s told in white-washed school textbooks. Only ⅕ of universities in the UK report decolonizing their education, and the number is similarly drastic in the US. The hashtag #decolonize has over 165 million views on TikTok, full of users speaking on generational trauma, donning cultural attire, and calling out racism and colonial mindsets. It’s pivotal that Kānaka Maoli and Boricua, as well as other exploited ethnic groups worldwide, receive liberation and full decolonization.
Gen Z adores you, Harry Styles! After performing at Madison Square Garden for 15 consecutive days under “Harry’s House,” Styles sold out every show. He performed between August 20 and September 21, with breaks for other performers, festivals, and awards shows. To commemorate the record-breaking achievement, Gayle King presented Styles with an MSG banner — one of three, along with Elton John and Phish. Of course, the internet could not get enough of Styles the past month. The hashtag #LoveOnTour has 4.7 billion views on TikTok, and #MSGisHarrysHouse, one of the concert series’ slogans, has 29.2 million. On his last night, Styles gave feather boas to all of the attendees. He worked with non-profits Everytown and HeadCount to raise over $1 million for gun violence prevention and register hundreds of voters. All this to say: we don’t want to say goodnight to Harry’s House!
✨ IYKYK ✨
✨ Proud of your company’s journey? Document how far you’ve come on TikTok or Reels with AJR’s World’s Smallest Violin. Check out JUV’s TikTok to see how to use the sound.
✨ 2022’s newest offering: the most unexpected collaborations ever! Heinz Ketchup partnered with Fenty for a “ketchup or makeup” kit, as well as a purposely-stained thrift collection with ThredUp called “Vintage Drip” (yes, I’m obsessed with the name). Depop also just released a collaboration with Pop Tarts. Though they may seem strange, we’ve been loving the unconventional creations resulting. Who else is ready for a Gucci x Taki’s collab?
✨ To jokingly show pride in your cooking, use this capture from “The Bear” on Hulu. @Realityresmy on Twitter jested, “the way this meme has done more promo for ‘The Bear’ than Hulu has.” Throw on an apron and get ready to go viral!
Screenshot of the Week
JUV’s Director of Brand was as confused as all of Gen Z trying to decode the Olivia Wilde-Harry Styles potential romance. With “Don’t Worry Darling” and Harry’s House, Styles is living rent-free in our minds right now.
THIS WEEK IN GEN Z HOT TRENDS
After almost 71 years, Queen Elizabeth II has ended her reign. With her death comes the question: what’s next for the monarchy? Reactions to her death have been mixed, especially amongst Gen Z. As a generation feeling further than ever from the monarchy, and having never experienced pivotal royal moments like glamorous royal weddings and Diana’s death, it makes sense that we lack the attachment to Charles and his family of other generations. A 2022 study found the support for it in 18-24-year-olds to be around 33%, compared to 77% in those over 65 and 62% overall. A circulating graphic on social media maps out every country England has invaded over its reign — all but 22. The hashtags #NotMyKing and #AbolishTheMonarchy have trended across platforms, especially Twitter, with the former receiving almost 200,000 interactions in the last seven days. With some anti-monarchy protesters facing arrest from British police, scrutiny further increased. Whatever the result of this discussion is, it’s important to view the queen’s reign with both sides in mind.Read more
To commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month, the Screenshot is bringing you five Hispanic Gen Z creators to have on your radar.
1.Eric Sedeño (@ricotaquito) is a queer and Latine creator, activist, and graphic designer. Sedeño has worked with Duolingo, the National Park Service, NFL Youth, and more. He is a Mexican-American from Texas, and “feels a need to be queer Latinx excellence.” If you want to feel like you’re on FaceTime with a DIY-obsessed friend, check out Sedeño’s TikTok!
2. Daphne Frias (@frias_daphne) is a Dominican-American activist passionate about disability justice, climate change, and gun violence prevention. She founded Box the Ballot and is vocal about her experience with cerebral palsy and cancer. Frias was elected as the West Harlem Democratic county committee representative at only 21 and attended COP26 with the New York Times Generation Climate Initiative. You can see more of Frias’ incredible work on her Instagram!
3. Anayka She (@anaykashe) is an Afro-Panamanian content creator and singer. She creates nostalgic music that melds soul and R&B. In 2021, she received over 241,000 streams on her Spotify, in 149 countries. She has dropped a 2021 EP, as well as five singles. Check her out on all music platforms, TikTok, and Instagram!
4. Ethereal Michael (IG @thebirthofethereal and TikTok @2qu33r2func) is a non-binary, Latine influencer living in Arizona. Their content is based around fashion, with DIY fashion, OOTDs, and photoshoot content filling their page. They partnered with Nordstrom to showcase back-to-school outfits. Give them some love on social media!
5. Sage Dolan-Sandrino (@thhrift) is an Afro-Cuban and trans activist, model, and journalist. She founded the TEAM zine and starred on “Growing Up” on Disney+, a show detailing Dolan-Sandrino’s experience as a trans woman of color. At only 21 years old, she is in Teen Vogue’s 21 under 21 and GLAAD’s 20 under 20 and has worked at Gucci and the National Black Justice Coalition. She is an incredible young activist and artist and can be seen on her Instagram!
Another week, another huge celebrity event. In this edition, we’re diving into the Emmys and New York Fashion Week. Gen Z showed up to NYFW, creating content, modeling, and even designing clothes. For a generation that grew up on Pinterest DIYs, this is no surprise. Accordingly, brands catered their content towards social media over fashion magazines. Our generation’s favorite model, Mathieu Simoneau, served with Tom Ford, while Euphoria’s Angus Cloud brought in an Estimated Media Value of $417,000 for Tory Burch. The company TradeZing hosted a two-day NYFW event focused on all things metaverse fashion, from metaverse shows to an NFT gallery. Gen Z’s love of Y2K culture led to a heightened focus on designs of the era, with Fendi celebrating 25 years of its iconic ‘90s Baguette Bags. As for the Emmys, Gen Z racked in various wins. Zilennial cusp Zendaya won lead actress in a drama, while Euphoria was awarded 16 nominations. Diverse shows like “Queer Eye,” “Squid Game,” and “Watch Out for the Big Grrrls” took home awards as well. Zoomers hope to see more diverse selections in future years, as the Emmys still platform a majority-white ensemble. Next up, film festivals!
The live-action “The Little Mermaid” is making waves in pop culture. The movie, including the likes of Halle Bailey, Melissa McCarthy, and Awkwafina, is set to be released in May of 2023. With the trailer alone facing 104 million global views, the movie is bound to be a staple in our media. Conversations around the movie center around Bailey, a Black woman, playing Ariel. Black parents on TikTok have been posting their children’s reactions and, yes, I cried a little watching them (see posts by Janell Brown, Dari, and Mac to get in your feels). Despite the joy coming from more Black representation in media, white people have taken offense by Ariel being portrayed as non-white in this version, even asking why the opposite racial switch can’t happen with Black Panther and Tiana in a live-action version. Kahlil Greene explains the debate well in this TikTok. Bailey responded to this racism, saying, “I want the little girl in me and the little girls just like me who are watching to know that they’re special and that they should be a princess.” As for me, I know Bailey will be an incredible part of our world!
TikTok is doing Gen Z’s least favorite thing: imitating another social media app. The video-based platform is taking on BeReal’s feature, prompting users to post a 10-second video or still photo at a random time in the day. TikTok Now, as they’re titled, is currently available in US-based users’ apps. Zoomers are unengaged with the new feature; check out JUV’s TikTok of TikTok Now reactions. Dare Obasanjo Tweeted, “ You aren’t a major social media app until you’ve blatantly ripped off a feature from an up & coming competitor then posted a breathlessly earnest post about your innovative new feature.” That basically sums it up for us. After basically every app has copied TikTok in some form, it’s jarring to see the social media giant do the same to another app. Gen Z is sticking to BeReal — thanks, but no thanks, TikTok.
✨ IYKYK ✨
IYKYK is a new section of the Screenshot dedicated to all the trends you need to know, now. Each week, we’ll bring you three audios, memes, or dances that are taking control of our social pages.
✨ Chris Pine is Gen Z’s newest mood. He has recently made headlines with the release of “Don’t Worry Darling.” We’re in love with his facial expressions, with one interview video going viral. One user commented, “He looks like he’s the first female prime minister for a European nation;” another captioned it, “Me replying to my manager’s joke with ‘LMFAO.’” As a brand, use the photo to express frustration or boredom. An example is Evernote’s description: “When you hear someone say we’re just a notes app.” Unlike Pine, people won’t be apathetic seeing this post!
✨ If you haven’t received the memo: laughing emojis are out. Though it can be tempting to respond to funny texts or popular TikToks with the emoji, Zoomers are not having it. Some alternatives are the skull emoji (💀) to signify dying of laughter and the crying face (😭) for when you’re laughing to the point of crying. If opting for letters, try lol, bye, or lm(f)ao — either capitalized or lowercase.
✨ Remember asking your parents to hang out with friends as a kid? Gen Z and popular brands are bringing this vibe to social media, with the text “my mom said we can … if it’s okay with your mom.” We’ve substituted it for “drink coffee and gossip,” “fall in love in October,” and “get married.” Use this format to advertise products, and make sure to check out JUV’s take on it on our Instagram!
App Overlap – Everyone Wants to be BeReal
If there’s one thing that can be said in certainty about Gen Z, it’s that we love ourselves a good social media app. With the oldest of our generation having made the transition from begging our parents for Facebook accounts when we were in middle school, to fueling the rise of the once-revolutionary Instagram app (and everything in between– Snapchat, Vine, TikTok, and BeReal to name a few), social media is a natural instinct for Gen Z. With the rise and fall of different social media platforms before our eyes, it leaves us wondering what the future of social media will look like– can we expect these various platforms to keep popping up and gaining popularity? Or will existing major tech companies simply try to mimic the features of the new apps, shutting down any arising competitor (think: the rise and fall of Vine due to Instagram’s adoption of video features)?Read more
We have seen evidence of both these reactions in the past. The decline of one social media platform in particular is crucial to defining Gen Z’s digital footprint: Facebook. The fall of Facebook was a slow burn. It started with older people (rather than just teens) infiltrating the platform. This shifted us towards Instagram– a newer, hipper website that had similar functions to Facebook’s photo-sharing, but was sleeker and trendier. In recent years, we’ve seen the same things that happened to Facebook happen to Instagram, this time with TikTok being the younger, hipper social media form that steals the thunder. TikTok took Instagram’s video aspect and ran with it— eventually creating a platform so powerful and loved that Instagram had to adapt its own practices to mirror TikTok to stay afloat.
On the other hand, we have social media platforms that have explored new methods of connection. There is one platform in particular that stands at the forefront of this movement now: BeReal. BeReal has proved revolutionary in many ways. It embraces our generation’s love for photo sharing, authenticity, and connection, while rejecting the formality and polishedness of other platforms. It is, however, crucial to mention that the rise of authenticity in social media definitely started with TikTok, as people posted more casually and in a less curated fashion. When people post their BeReals, they’re giving their friends insight into the reality of their lives– an unmanicured, brutally honest, glimpse into their everyday routine– and Gen Z responds well to this. Dying is the trend of presenting a perfect, unflawed life on social media. Gen Z is all about being real.
With all this development of new and existing social media apps, it begs the question of where the future of social media is headed if fewer and fewer companies are creating new sharing innovations? Will we be stuck in an endless loop of the same photo and video sharing methods we’re already using? Or will new innovative functions, like that of BeReal, continue to pop up and dominate? It’s also crucial to consider how new technologies (think artificial intelligence, holograms, etc.) could breed new social media forms in the future.
As social media platforms continue to evolve, we also must contemplate what these changes mean in regards to content creation. Right now, the trend that dominates social media is short form video content, but, is it possible that we’ll see a change occur as more people are embracing the still photography necessary to capture BeReals? In the future could there even be new social media apps that require a different kind of content rather than photo, video, or text? What might this look like?
Overall, we’re seeing new innovations in socials left and right. TikTok now has stories. Snapchat has a fully operating news feature. There are whispers of Instagram demoing BeReal’s technology to add a similar feature to their own app. While we can conjecture all we want, only time will tell what the future of social media holds. We’ll just have to wait and see if big tech companies continue to copy competitors’ ideas, or if the free market’s spirit of deviation from the norm will reign supreme.
Weekly Ztat – Sustainable Products
69% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that buying sustainable products was important to them, but only 33% of respondents felt those sustainable products were accesible.Read more
Over half of respondents buy sustainable Food and Beverage options ‘often’ or ‘very often.’ Compared to clothing, beauty, and furnture products, Food and Beverage had the highest rate of consuming sustainable alternatives.
Gen Z’s Take on Style, Trends, and NYFW
Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably know that it is Fashion Week in New York right now. Perhaps the most chaotic time of the year in the city, the air is filled with excitement, high energy, and a love of fashion. I took a stroll through the Lower East Side and ended up at a street-DJ event hosted by Zack Bia. A lowkey, intimate, relaxed gathering, all attendees showed up dressed to impress. Most of the people who showed up seemed to be between the ages of 18 and 25– the perfect spot for me to inquire about Gen Z’s fashion habits and thoughts on New York Fashion Week.
Nearly every person I talked to seemed to have the most unique, authentic style. I asked a few different attendees how they would describe their personal style, and garnered answers such as, “Loud and obnoxious… but cute and functional”, “Comfort-first”, and “A reflection of my mood that day”. It’s clear that Gen Z very much expresses themselves through their fashion, and looks to dress ergonomically and practically, as well as make a statement about themselves through their clothing.
When asked about their thoughts on NYFW, attendees had a lot to say. Some had nothing but positive things to say about the event, noting how fun the whole week was, from afterparties to fashion events. “The whole week is really fun. Everyone steps out fitted and is just excited to celebrate the art of fashion. I’m here for it,” one individual noted.
Others pointed out some of the downsides to the week. “It’s fun for sure… but it all kind of feels like a big competition… what shows are you invited to? What afterparties are you going to? It’s all really exclusive so sometimes it bothers me,” an interesting take from another Gen Zer.
My next question I went around asking was “Who are the Gen Z style icons?” Getting various answers ranging from “Bella Hadid”, “Billie Eilish”, and “Zendaya” to social media presences like Evita Nuh, Luka Sabbat, and Molly Blair, it became clear that our generation is drawing inspiration from a range of sources. “I get a lot of my fashion inspiration from social media, like TikTok and Instagram mostly,” one of the gals I talked to mentioned.
Trying to gauge more regarding what exactly matters to Gen Z when it comes to fashion, I asked those I was surrounded by to tell me what they look for in a clothing brand and what qualifies a brand as a place they would shop. The answer I received overwhelmingly was surrounding the importance of sustainability. Several individuals noted that their highest priority is making sure the clothes are sustainable and not fast fashion. “I try to stay away from fast fashion as much as I can… by thrifting or even making my own clothes, honestly. It’s just really important to me to do as much for the Earth as I can”. Pleased to hear about our generation’s enthusiasm for sustainable fashion, I packed up and left the event, with what I felt like was a bit firmer grasp on Gen Z’s thoughts on Fashion Week and fashion in general.
THIS WEEK IN HOT GEN Z TRENDS: ALEXA, PLAY “CAMPUS”
Week of September 12Read more
We’re sharing the biggest trends in Gen Z’s world this week. Want these trends sent directly to your inbox? Sign up for The Screenshot, our weekly Gen Z insights newsletter.
President Joe Biden recently announced his executive order to cancel large portions of the national student debt, currently around $1.75 trillion. This decision has an astounding impact on Gen Z and Millennial students and recent graduates. With college costs at an all-time high and federal aid at a modern low, young people have had to pay much larger portions of their income toward college costs. According to the College Board, a public four-year college costs 2.58 times its price in 1992, with private four-years 1.97 times its 1992 price tag. To further exacerbate the issue, in the past 10 years, the government has decreased the money allocated to federal grants by 32%, federal loans by 34%, and federal aid (like work-study) by 36%. These numbers, combined with a recession, inflation, and high rent, create a cocktail of financial despair for our generation. Biden’s plan is the first stepping stone in easing the monetary pressure on young people.
With every new iPhone release comes a slew of online commentary. The September 7 “Far Out” event was no different. This past Wednesday, Apple released their iPhone 14 collection, three new Apple Watches, and AirPods Pro 2. The new technology is meant for extreme conditions; the iPhones can detect car crashes and connect to satellites in hard-to-reach places, while the Apple Watches can withstand large temperature variances and last for much longer. Of course, Gen Z had a lot to say about the devices. Social media users commented on the glitches old iPhones develop once a new edition releases. Others reacted to the high price tag and the similarity to previous iPhones. Samsung, Apple’s biggest competitor, clapped back in person and online, posting a billboard stating “Welcome to the party, Apple. We’ve been filming in 8K for 2 years, 6 months, 4 days, 21 minutes, and 51 seconds.” Their newest advertisement shows someone switching to a foldable Samsung phone from what appears to be an iPhone. Two things we know will always exist: Samsung and Apple beefing, and Gen Z meming on both of them.
Did someone say Rory Gilmore? The passing of Labor Day marks the beginning of the school year for Zoomers in high school and university — and, of course, the trends that come along with it. This year, we’re going back to our roots: Disney movies. Accompanied by the Monsters University theme, TikTok users list things at college they didn’t see in the movie. Bella Thier captioned her video, “i don’t remember sully and mike having to walk up 117 steps everyday just to get to their dorm.” The unexpected parts of college range from dirty dorm water to Canvas discussion posts. On Twitter, Claire Trần joked about unrealistic “college majors as outfits” posts that appear on social media every school year. Instagram users posted about their excitement for the last day of school. Yes, we’re in our Rory Gilmore era, but that doesn’t mean we won’t complain about high school and college while we’re at it.
Gen Z is looking to be Generation Union. Approval for unions is at its highest point in decades, especially among those in the Zoomer and Millenial generations. 72% of those 18-34 approve of unions, and 73% of Gen Z specifically would join a union right now. This reaction is due to various factors — wages inadequate for rent and tuition, quiet quitting and quiet firing, labor shortages, embracing of worker solidarity, and more. Mayuri Raja, a young worker at Google, told the Christian Science Monitor that “the way people see me in the United States has been shaped entirely by my status … as a source of labor. It would be foolish of me, honestly, to not organize as a worker when my oppression is tied to my ability to produce labor.” Workers located in big and small companies globally have harnessed the recent fiscal and political instability to raise issues of fair wages, mental health support, and labor unity. NPR even posted a Reel on how to start a union. Unions are winning at a 21st-century high; the current win rate is 76.6 percent. All of this to say: the age of the union is back again.
As we pass Labor Day, fall is slowly beginning (even though I’m still suffering from 90-degree temps — thanks, Southeast). Gen Z is saying goodbye to satin and sundresses and hello to our Miley Cyrus aesthetic. In other words: time for cowboy boots, leather, pumpkin drinks, and tumblrcore. We at JUV are expecting earth tones, monochrome, and indie sleaze to fill social media this fall. Our 2005 aesthetic is becoming 2015 as the weather cools. Trends to stay are coquette styles, film photography, and (oversized) business casual. Though these are some dominating aesthetics, Gen Z has developed a unique individuality in fashion and lifestyle. We aren’t scared to go against the grain or try contrasting styles. We’re excited to see Zoomer’s takes on popular culture for this fall’s trends!
✨ IYKYK ✨
IYKYK is a new section of the Screenshot dedicated to all the trends you need to know, now. Each week, we’ll bring you three audios, memes, or dances that are taking control of our social pages.
✨ Twitter allows 280 characters — right now, though, brands only want to use one word. A new popular trend on Twitter calls on companies to post one word describing their goods. From Amtrak’s “trains” to Shock Top’s “beer,” this initiative is simple but hilarious.
✨ If there’s one thing we know about Gen Z, it’s that we love to see brands that empathize with us. A key tip for company social media is to create opportunities for interaction. For some, this could be letting comments name a product, or naming items after customers. For others, it could be creating hug spots or interviewing potential buyers, à la WNRS. Whatever you choose, building that relationship is key!
✨ In the era of aesthetics, consumers love to see a curated scene for how the product will fit into their lives and personal themes. Moodboards like Parade and Woofpalace’s perfectly advertise items for sale in an adorable, Gen Z fashion.
Screenshot of the Week
Colgate and uphill walks, Penn State and endless parties, NYU and toxic Stern boys … Every college has its red flags, and Gen Z loves to point them out. We asked members of our team to comment on the 🚩🚩🚩 of their campus, and the responses are hilarious. See some of them here!
Exploring Accessibility; A Photo Essay by Jamie Pearl
This past week, I had the privilege of meeting up with a dear friend of mine, Ryan. About half a year ago, Ryan was in a ski accident that resulted in her becoming a quadriplegic wheelchair user. We caught up at her apartment, where she showed me her space, let me play with her new, insanely adorable puppy, and discussed various topics regarding accessibility.
Previously a special needs teacher, Ryan’s perspective on accessibility shifted greatly when she, herself, became disabled. “Before my disability I really was non-confrontational, and this whole experience has turned me into someone who advocates for herself and other people as well as for what I want and need, because I should be valued just as much as other people in our society. I think a lot of people might find it obnoxious, but it’s just how I need to be.”
Ryan brought up the issue of isolation when it comes to ADA spaces. “Accessibility is making sure people can get to all places in a building or in a park, and they can join all of the other people instead of being separated”, Ryan explained to me. “For example, in arenas and sporting events, there is an ADA section, but what if you want to go down and be with all of your friends? You’re separated from everyone else and you can’t access parts of the space and be a part of the group.”
We then discussed the topic of living spaces for disabled persons. Ryan explained the nuances of finding a home as a person in a wheelchair. “There’s a lot that goes into finding a living space that people don’t think about,” she noted. “[In a wheelchair] you’re just lower than everyone else, and people don’t think through where light switches are, or where thermostats are, or if you can get under the sink or if you can even reach the kitchen sink.”
When it comes to representation of disabled people in the media, Ryan expressed how she hopes to see more narratives surrounding disabled people’s lives, rather than how inspiring they might be. “The goal would be to tell a story that’s not all about one’s disability but rather just one’s life and experience,” she explains.
“No One Wants to Work These Days”; Debunking Myths About Gen Z in the Workplace
When I tell people I work at a Gen Z company, they usually say two things: the first is “OMG WOW THAT’S SO COOL”, the second is “OMG WOW THAT SO COOL…my kid is Gen Z. I don’t understand you guys at ALL”. Obviously, I don’t [prefer] the latter, but I think it sparks an interesting and necessary conversation about the inflated sense of intergenerational understanding that we seem to have. With Gen-Zers coming of age and entering the workforce, it is important to debunk some of the myths about Gen Z in the workplace. More specifically, I want to address two main misconceptions:Read more
1) “Gen Z Has Unrealistic Expectations”
Now more than ever Gen Zers are bringing the fullness of their unique identities and digitally crafted perspectives to their work and sharing it within a workplace. This is a good thing.. actually, a great thing! While Gen Zers do want change, we are very practical about how we wish to bring about such change. For example, I’m only 22, and I’ve already lived through life changing events, most of which have taken place within the last two years. Some of which include global health crises, two economic recessions, life altering supreme court decisions, mass-shootings, an insurrection, a climate climate crisis. As a cohort of young people, we’ve divested from the traditional expectations and goals we’ve been taught to look forward to. We’ve seen that our futures are not promised and are fighting for a life that does not feel like it can be taken from us by more “unforeseen and unprecedented” circumstances. Gen Z doesn’t want radical change overnight, but we do expect radical change in our lifetimes. Our survival depends on it. Gen Z doesn’t have “proof of concept” that the traditional values of the workplace and society at large will work in our ever-changing world. Gen Zers are suffering the consequences of decisions that we did not make. Older generations can learn from our lived experiences and make real-time changes based on the adverse effects their decisions had on us.
Consider this: Gen Z does not have unrealistic expectations– our expectations outgrew and are no longer compatible with some of the traditional values and expectations of the workforce. This framing challenges workplace culture and organizational structure to be the agents of change versus Gen ‘s values and morals.
2) Gen Z is lazy
Gen Z is NOT lazy—we’re just burnt out. How could we possibly be lazy after experiencing all of the crises listed above? As it pertains to the workplace, we need to create a clear distinction between the Gen Zers on your team and the Gen Zers that live in your homes. We are not your children and the failure to distinguish the attitudes your Gen Z family members give you versus the valid critiques and boundaries Gen Zers establish in the workplace shuts down any chance at intergenerational dialogue within the workplace. The more you compare me to your son, the less valid my feedback and team contributions will seem. Gen Z is not a monolith—we are multi-faceted beings that have unique insights and a wealth of information that we are ready to bring to our jobs.
Gen Z is shaping out to be the most educated generation yet—continuing the upward trend of high school and college graduation rates. Despite this great accomplishment, our research found that 56% of Gen Zers feel underestimated at their jobs and 32% of Gen Zers would leave their jobs because of poor workplace culture. Perhaps the implicit bias against the capabilities of young people in the workplace coupled with the expectation Gen Zers have of their employers creates the perfect storm for an overall lack of enthusiasm. This leads to “quiet quitting”, the process of prioritizing your mental health and well being by no longer going above and beyond for your employer. In other words, doing the minimum amount of work possible in order to keep your job. Like any other generation, Gen Z wants you to believe in them, and not discount us as key players simply because of our age or “lack of experience”.
The future of work is here, and it’s time for employers to invest more into understanding this new generation of employees. Gen Z is not “too difficult to understand.” We share similar values with past generations and use the teachings of those before us to formulate new and innovative ways to materialize our collective desires. Employers can [& do] benefit from facilitating intergenerational dialogue and amplifying the voices of Gen Z in the workplace.
THIS WEEK IN HOT GEN Z TRENDS:
“NOBODY WANTS TO WORK THESE DAYS”Read more
September 6, 2022
Week of September 5
We’re sharing the biggest trends in Gen Z’s world this week. Want these trends sent directly to your inbox? Sign up for The Screenshot, our weekly Gen Z insights newsletter.
JUV’s CPO Responds to Quiet Quitting
“During The Great Resignation and the era of quiet quitting, thousands of employers are focused on retaining the best talent. Understanding this generation, our nuances, and our needs can sometimes be overwhelming. But the truth is, we simply want to work for a company that cares about us as people, not just employees. 47% of Gen Z don’t believe their companies care about their wellbeing. This sentiment can lead to burnout. The best way to encourage employees to give their best is to actually provide an environment where you are giving to your employees just as much as you expect them to give.”
Maia Ervin can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Employee shortages, burnout, quiet quitting — all symptoms of a bigger workplace problem. Gen Z is notorious for communicating boundaries and expectations, and this carries onto our jobs. With rising prices for *basically everything* around us, young people want to make enough money for a fulfilling lifestyle without prescribing to the intense “hustle culture” of previous generations. Emily Ballesteros explains the pain of seeing young workers wanting “reasonable things” like “time to eat, … time with friends and family, [and to] get off of work before 6 PM,” but never receiving the basic tenets of work/life balance. Although Fast Company reports that 80% of discussion around quiet quitting negatively views the trend, mental health professionals see it as a reaction to years of allowing work to interfere with personal affairs — something exacerbated during the pandemic. So what can businesses do? Forbes lists 10 ways for upper management to increase workplace satisfaction, from giving praise to not assigning weekend work. You can also check out JUV’s new TikTok on the discourse. Hopefully, quiet quitting will be a red flag for employers to change their habits.
Remember Lady Gaga’s meat dress? Or Kanye interrupting Taylor Swift? Or Britney Spears dancing with a snake? The MTV Video Music Awards have been iconic since their start in 1984 (hello, “Like a Virgin” performance!), and the recent 2022 ceremonies did not disappoint. With 7 of the 25 award-winners being non-English, 2022 was a win for musical diversity. From his concert across the waters in NYC, Bad Bunny told fans in Spanish, “I always knew that I could become a huge artist without changing my culture, my slang, and my language. I am Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, from Puerto Rico to the world.” Acceptance speeches also teemed with drama: during her acceptance speech for Video of the Year, Taylor Swift announced her new album, Midnights. Dove Cameron and Lizzo both gave love to fans, with Cameron dedicating her award to “the queer kids … for getting an overtly queer song onto mainstream radio” and Lizzo thanking fans for “supporting me and loving on me.” To hear more of Gen Z’s response to the VMAs, look out for a TikTok later today at @juvconsulting!
In order to signal the transition between trends or lifestyles, Gen Z has begun to use “era”s. This term began with flop era, used to describe albums or singers that did not maintain previous levels of commercial success. Now, it can be used to describe loving a certain color, listening to an artist, suffering from mental health issues, or, in one TikToker’s case, being left behind on vacation. Along with individuals, professional groups, from Yale Admissions to Entertainment Tonight, have adopted the term on their socials. Actor Simu Liu reposted an announcement of his new Netflix feature with the caption “Excited to be joining this phenomenal cast of humans as I ENTER MY VILLAIN ERA.” If your brand is trying to enter its ~social media guru~ era, JUV is here to help! Reach out to shaina@juvconsulting with any inquiries – we want to help you reach Gen Z!
T-Swift never goes out of style! From beef with Kanye to criticism of the music industry’s treatment of artists, she’s been around the block in her fifteen-plus years of pop culture relevance, racking up 30.7 billion (yes, with a b!) views on TikTok. Swift has accompanied Zoomer’s awkward middle school dances, our prom photography sessions, and our graduation parties. As the North Kingstown High School’s Current Wave put it, she’s Gen Z’s older sister. With the fakeness of social media and immature drama, Swift is vulnerable, showing us her brightest highs (see Paper Rings) and darkest lows (ie: all of folklore). With her new album, Midnights, expected on October 21, social media is buzzing with theories, aesthetics, and easter eggs. Meet you at midnight?
Gen Z is saying goodbye to hot girl summer! A new user survey from Hinge reports that 45% of those on the app are looking for long-term romances after the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic has passed. With half of Hinge’s users between the ages of 18-29, this response reflects a trend across Gen Z, similarly appearing on sites like TikTok. Videos captioned “things I want to experience as a hopeless romantic” have amassed millions of views, ranging from building Lego sets to dancing in the rain. Though reasons to reject hookup culture vary — including the hopeless romantic mindset, energy exchanges, and feminism — youth across the board have decided to commit to long-term, mentally beneficial relationships. Bey and Jay, watch out: Gen Z is coming for your title.
Screenshot of the Week
The term “fast-paced work environment” is a long-standing joke among young workers. It is dually critiqued as representing “boring,” slow-paced office jobs and those that combine the work of many into one person’s responsibilities. @OneKenBoi joked that “if by fast-paced environment you mean I will earn an hour of pay every 30 minutes then yes.” Gen Z wants to be compensated fairly for their work and treated as more than a work machine.
Can I crash at your place?Read more
Evaluating living situations for the most independent generation to come into adulthood with no independence.
Can we make crashing on your parents’ couch cool? With the way housing prices are heading, we might have to. The New York Times reported a third of our generation is living at home (and plans to stay) thanks to the ever-growing cost of living.
In a recent congressional hearing, US Housing and Urban Development Secretary, Marcia Fudge said, “today it is harder to find an affordable home in America than at any point since the 2008 financial crisis.”
We wanted to put the findings shared by the New York Times to the test with our Receipt Network. In July 2022, we found 65% of our Receipt Network is currently living with family or relatives, doubling the NYT figures. The average age of our network is 18-19 years old.
They certainly aren’t alone. Our findings were supported by similar figures from Pew Research, which showed moving back in with Mom and Dad reached new heights across generations at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For those living independent of family, they’re spending an average of 40% of their income to do so (Source: The Receipt Network).
Even when we’re living on our own, we aren’t really alone. 30% of respondents are in shared living spaces, and nearly one-third of those living with roommates still spend over half of their income on housing.
Stephanie Gong, JUV’s Director of Production, has had to get creative with housing to stay within her financial means. “My partner and I lived with my parents for a month in transition to a 2-bedroom, which we shared with another couple, during the pandemic…It’s so tough for me to figure out what should be done but I’m one for making sure that I have a clear picture of my finances and what I need to budget month-to-month and sticking to it,” she said.
Merely 4% of respondents reported living independently without roommates, and they spend over half of their income on housing in 5 out of 6 cases (Source: The Receipt Network).
94% of these respondents live in suburban and urban settings, where the cost of living can be the most devastating. A study from PYMNTS found that 65% of Gen Z respondents are living paycheck-to-paycheck, and the study was conducted ahead of the recent inflation spike.
It has never been more expensive to be a budding adult. Our Gen Z in the Workplace Yellowpaper found that 58% of our generation is currently completing or recently completed a college education. 45% of us are working part-time while in school to make it happen. Meaning, we don’t even have the luxury of a full-time income to offset the cost of living.
Noorie Dhingra, JUV’s Director of Innovation, is making a move to NYC this fall, “I stayed at home for the last 3 months and saved about 95% of my paychecks from multiple jobs, and now it’s all going to housing,” she said.
There is no doubt that Gen Z is shaping up to be a generation of passion and drive, but these trends could mean we had no other choice.
The data collected from the Receipt Network featured 144 respondents from 26 countries. These results are not generalizable to all of Gen Z, but help contextualize findings from other studies. Data collection was open from July 22nd through 24th of 2022 as part of JUV’s Weekly Ztat, where we gather quick-pulse data from our Receipt Network of over 5,000+ global Gen Z’ers.
Sign up for The Receipt here.
WHO RUN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY? BLACK GIRLS.
Beyoncé’s last album is an ode to: Black queerness, to ballroom culture and dance, to thickness and self-love. More than anything, it was an ode to joy, for the people needing it most. From the house influences, to the sampling of old gospel songs, the project was an amalgamation of a Black queer person’s childhood and present, from the roller rink, to the sanctuary, to the ballroom.Read more
The album came out exactly a month ago today, and it has received rave reviews from critics, as well as a long-lasting collective meltdown on all social media platforms as everyone lauds her ability to platform and incorporate queer voices as a straight woman. Among the internet chatter is praise for her ability to create an album that serves as further proof that Black women and the Black queer community sit at the epicenter of culture, particularly the culture around dance music.
This album is for us, by us, and it’s very clear; at the intersection of bounce and house music and gospel sits a group of Black young people who relate to and find joy in these spaces, and are often ignored by the general public while being profited off of. Beyoncé approached Renaissance as a celebration of these spaces; a queer cookout where we’re all invited to the table.
The past two years have been exhausting for us all, and the summer where we collectively committed to being “outside” deserved a soundtrack. Black women delivered in spades, and not just Beyoncé. Flo Milli’s most recent album “You still here, Ho?” was a y2k-infused dance rap album, opening with Tiffany “New York” Pollard (a reality show icon and cultural figure) claiming her status as the “Original HBIC”, setting the stage for an album dedicated to maintaining that energy.
At 22 years old, Flo Milli is the definition of Gen Z Black girl magic. This is seen explicitly in her music, such as the aptly titled “Pretty Girls”, and “PBC” (short for Pretty, Black, Cute). She is unabashed, confident, and loud. Where women are taught to shy away from compliments, Flo Milli raps about being “Conceited”. She makes music for the purpose of instilling confidence in her listeners, and goes viral on TikTok for doing it (“Conceited” has over 820 thousand videos under one sound alone). She loves herself, and isn’t afraid to say it. She takes up space, and makes music encouraging other Black young women that do the same.
Flo Milli’s last album is for the ones who have been told they’re “pretty for a Black girl”, but know they’re beautiful by any standard. For girls who slick their edges down and wore big gold hoops well before it was a trend to do so. For the Black women who pioneered culture and aesthetics as we see them today, without seeing a shred of credit outside of the spaces they occupy. In an interview she did to promote her first album, she said that she made music for women to feel confident and hot. That same ethos is present throughout this new album, in an era where musicians (especially young Black women and femme artists), are often expected to have a socially conscious slant in their music.
What do Beyoncé and Flo Milli’s albums have in common? They are meant to uplift those who push forward culture, and are doing so through joy. Black women and queer people are constantly pushing forward culture, introducing language, style, and dance that everyone seeks to replicate. We write the songs that blow up on TikTok with dances we choreograph, done in outfits Black women were popularizing in the 90s, with barely any credit (let alone celebration) of these contributions.
The subversion of that cultural erasure, and dedication to praising and uplifting young Black women are where both Flo Milli and Beyoncé thrive, as well as all of the other Black artists emerging in the music space. This is what makes their music so effective, and why Gen Z continues to give all their love and support. We want music for twerking in the car, and showing off our new hairstyles. We want music for walking down the street and holding our heads high instead of turning our eyes to the ground. We deserve backing tracks for unmitigated Black joy, and this is what this summer of music has given us.
Black women and femmes are constantly laboring. We are at the backbone of social movements, working twice as hard in the workplace for a fraction of the wages of our peers, and the places we seek to carve out self-care and joy (through our hair, fashion, and creative expression) are often taken for granted, or distorted into something digestible for those outside of our demographic. These two albums honored those places.
⬆Last Week’s Ztat In last week’s Ztat, we wanted to learn more about how Gen Z thinks about travel. Here’s what we learned:Not so independent: Our respondents travel solo 6% of the time, compared to 86% who travel with a few close friends (45%) or family (41%). Nearly half of respondents reported discounted stays would keep them coming back, followed by free amenities like WiFi and Parking (37%). TLDR; free = loyalty. ⬆ WTF is The Weekly Ztat?! Every Friday we’ll send you a short survey (usually one to four questions) to get your thoughts on a current trend. From pop culture to politics and everything in between, we want to hear from YOU. Plus, in every Ztat newsletter, we’ll share the results from the previous survey question so you can see what community members thought. Insights may be featured on JUV socials, in trend reports, and even client work, so remember just how far your voice can go. ⬆ Get That Bag! Shoutout to Xuanthe Nguyen for winning last week’s raffle prize. We appreciate you! Keep filling out our Weekly Ztat survey for a chance to win!
THIS WEEK IN HOT GEN Z TRENDS: WHAT, LIKE IT’S HARD? ￼
Week of August 29Read more
We’re sharing the biggest trends in Gen Z’s world this week. Want these trends sent directly to your inbox? Sign up for The Screenshot, our weekly Gen Z insights newsletter.
Wondering about all of the images in this issue? These are Shuffles — collages created on Pinterest’s newest standalone app. On Shuffles, users can select objects in an image and paste them together to create collages, as well as animate these objects: for example, making a record player spin. Those on the app can also collaborate with friends to create designs together. Brands can utilize Shuffle to display a product’s various angles, curate an item’s aesthetic, and show its practical uses. If you want to learn how to add a little *spice* to your social media strategy using Shuffles and other networks, email shaina@juvconsulting!
We’re ready for our Elle Woods moment! The 2022 midterms mark Gen Z’s entrance into the bureaucratic world. As the Senate and House have average ages of 64 and 58, respectively, youth campaigns have the ability to disrupt this generational gap in politics. Maxwell Frost, expected to be the first Gen Z federal official, is a Florida progressive who previously worked with March for our Lives and the ACLU. Karoline Leavitt, an Assistant Press Secretary under former President Trump, will face a Republican primary in September. As Gen Z confronts an unclear future and unwelcoming political environment, it’s more important than ever to hear youth voices in elected positions and advocacy roles.
Gen Z for Change, a coalition of 70+ popular TikTokers focused on driving political progress, has released a letter to Amazon in light of critiques by employees and labor unions. These creators have pledged to remove any Amazon monetization on their platforms until the company meets demands ranging from a $30/hour minimum wage to the halt of union-busting tactics. This action reflects Gen Z’s resistance to exploitation in the workplace. Younger workers want a work-life balance that values mental health, paid time off, and strong social values, according to Firstup. If you didn’t know by now, TikTok is for much more serious topics than expected.
Want an opportunity for shameless self-promo? This trending TikTok sound is captioned with “Products I regret buying and why” (with products substituted by clothes, skincare, slimes, etc.). Users sarcastically list items they love, with reasons like “makes me look like a dewy skin goddess,” “gets too many compliments from literally EVERYONE,” and “too convenient for laundry.” This audio is a great method to advertise products, with brands showcasing their cult classics. Vanilla Bella Boutique showed their brand’s “worst” clothing choices to an audience of 582,500 likes. This trend will only last so long, so capitalize on it while it’s still relevant!
Andrew Tate, former kickboxer and current media mogul, has been banned from all of the social media giants after facing criticism. Tate came to popularity after launching Hustlers University, an “online money-focused community” with professors in different business models like cryptocurrency and stocks (HU has been labeled a pyramid scheme by many). His digital fame came from posting misogynistic, racist, and pedophilic content, covered further by Matt Bernstein in this post. Instagrammers and Tweeters have compiled ironic content claiming Tate has been kicked off of universities, Grindr, the Clock app, and more. So … see you on Tumblr?
Can I say chaotic neutral? “Never Have I Ever,” currently in its third season, is captivating viewers with its raw and unfiltered display of adolescence. The Netflix show centers around Devi, a nerdy high schooler looking to lose her virginity. From a character confusing the book “1984” with Taylor Swift’s “1989” album to another having a party with her therapist to celebrate getting a boyfriend, the show is a classic among Gen Z. The diverse cast, true rom-com energy, and authentic high school storyline have made it a hit, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 94%. This show highlights how we want flawed and relatable characters over perfect but bland ones. The underlying message: Gen Z wants problems, always.
Screenshot of the Week
Our Screenshot of the Week is the “Girl Explaining” meme, used in posts such as Banana Phone and Turning Green’s. To use this meme format, caption the image with important information in uppercase. An example is KALW 91.7 FM Radio’s post, captioned “YOU SHOULD SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL PUBLIC RADIO STATION NOT ONLY BECAUSE LISTENER SUPPORT KEEPS JOURNALISM INDEPENDENT BUT ALSO BECAUSE COMMUNITY RADIO IS IMPORTANT FOR A CITY’S CULTURE, ARTS, AND MUSIC SCENE.” Your followers will be more excited than him to see this!
A Closer Look at the ‘What I Eat in a Day’ Trend
What was the last thing you ate for dinner?Read more
Whether you cracked open an at-home meal kit and got to cooking or went through a drive-through for your favorite fries and shake, you probably weren’t thinking about recording your not-so-eventful food festivities. On the contrary, for many Gen Z content creators, their meals are the most exciting part of their day. Regardless of what and where they are eating, young people are documenting and sharing their daily eating habits online.
The act of recording yourself and what you eat in a day is (unsurprisingly) called the “What I Eat In A Day” trend. #WhatIEatInADay has amassed 12.2B hashtag views on TikTok, and 751K posts have featured the hashtag on Instagram.
Generally, the trend opens up with the creator showing their entire body as they transition into pictures or videos of what they ate on that particular day, along with an audio explanation. Whether someone is kicking their day off with a green smoothie and oatmeal bowl or downing a whole pizza at 11 am, participants of this trend aim to show off their day’s cuisine.
While the trend is still in full swing on For You Pages and Instagram feeds, it was at its peak in 2021. During this time, “What I Eat in Day” videos were highly associated with the health and fitness community. Highlighting calorie counts, strict portions, and expensive health foods were a few reasons this trend had become controversial. To gain insight into how Gen Z views this trend in 2022, we asked The Receipt–our research network of 5,000+ Gen Zers from around the world–how they feel about it. We found that while 49% of respondents feel neutral about “What I Eat In A Day,” there are also some mixed sentiments as 20% feel negatively toward it, compared to 30% that feel positive. Is this surprising? It might not be, given the evolution of the hashtag from last year until now.
As this content has maintained its popularity, the types of videos have shifted in style. Gaining control of a hashtag seemingly exclusive to those who live an unrealistic and overly aesthetic lifestyle, young people are showing up with their unphotogenic wraps and bowls of grocery store ice cream.
5 Gen Z creators shaping this trend include @jellybean.celine; @thehungryfoodie; @natalienoriegaa; @snackeatingsnacks; @stephpappas. What do these 5 Foodies have in common? Their average pallet. They may throw in a fancy dinner or bougie brunch but keep most of their content centered on realistic dishes, normalizing an average diet; potentially influencing a new outlook on this trend.
Regardless of what food content circulates online, it’s important to remember that everyone’s diet and relationship with food are different. With this in mind, there are some perks to this trend. “What I Eat In A Day” videos can be a great way to learn about new food brands, recipes, and cooking tips–all while feeding your eyes! On the flip side, they have the possibility of directly (or indirectly) promoting diet culture and negative body image.
Overall the “What I Eat In A Day” concept isn’t solely harmful. It has its pros and cons, as most Gen Z trends do. Given the popularity of this type of content, the hashtag doesn’t seem like it will die out any time soon. Instead, it’s on course to continue growing into a more inclusive online space encouraging all body and lifestyle types to join in on the trend.
THIS WEEK IN GEN Z HOT TRENDS
More on TrendingRead more
⬆ Earlier this year we chronicled the rise of the Indie Sleaze trend – the early 2010s tumblr era of winged eyelashes and brush backed hair – now we’re seeing another 2010s reference through the Teenage Dirtbag trend on TikTok. Think all things neon, a snapback cap worn backwards and shutter glasses, fashion really did slip back then but nostalgia is keeping it cool!
⬆ After grueling days in the Capitol trying to get his Senate colleagues to vote for his amendments to the IRA Bill, Bernie Sanders was tired. A picture was taken of the king sitting on the Capitol steps, and it instantly became a meme with 100k+ likes.
⬆ TikTok’s latest trend fights back against fat shaming – upending an occurrence of the early days of the internet where fat shaming was common across forums and posts. It started when a trend started with people wearing baggy clothes with phrases like “bet she’s fat under those clothes” appearing in the video to then revealing a slimmer figure. Others then took over the trend, refusing to show a slimmer figure taking a stand against whatever people are wearing. Fat shaming really has no place on the internet.
⬇This week, a CEO posted a picture of himself crying after having to lay off staff. The reception was mixed, but mostly negative. Gen Z was definitely not here for it. We get that layoffs are difficult choices, but it’s just plain weird to share pictures crying on social platforms garnering sympathy when others have lost their jobs. Tone deaf much?
⬇ Mattel has slapped a Nicki Minaj collaborator with a lawsuit. Minaj worked with Rap Snacks, a snack brand that celebrates hip hop artists, on a range of chips last year. The brand used the Barbie iconography – something Minaj has taken on as part of her artist branding – on their snacks and Mattel isn’t happy to see it.
⬇ Real Housewives cast member Kathy Hilton was on Watch What Happens Live when Andy Cohen had her name famous faces. When shown Lizzo, she said it was Precious – the 2009 namesake film character played by Gabby Sidibe. People weren’t happy, calling it ‘fatphobic’ and playing into offensive tropes. Even if she didn’t know who it was to say that Sidibe and Lizzo look anything alike other than they’re larger Black women. A message to anyone that’s listening – don’t do this.
A Conversation with the voice behind The Screenshot
Jawwad, you have been an integral part of not only The Screenshot but of JUV Consulting in general, when did your relationship with JUV start and how?Read more
My journey with JUV started in Spring 2020, it was peak pandemic and I had just finished university so I was on the look-out for something fun to do while I looked for a new gig. Around that time, I came across Ziad on social media and intrigued I stalked him a little – that’s when I found out about JUV. At the time, JUV was hiring new consultants, I applied and the rest is history!
What was your role and how did you help JUV grow?
Joining as a consultant, I got to work with clients ranging from consumer goods to sports tech. It was wonderful getting to work with brands that had a mission and were on a journey to genuinely make themselves more in tune with their purpose.
Not long after, I was given the fantastic opportunity of leading on the Screenshot efforts, from a new pandemic project to a full fledged product of JUV. It’s only going to get bigger from here.
What will you miss most about the Screenshot?
Finding fun ways to write trends to slide Gen Z lingo into them whilst also keeping some level of legibility that wouldn’t completely make our audience go WTF?!
What was your favourite edition?
We had an edition where we gamified the Screenshot and did a vote on our readers’ favorite editions. It got noticed by Mike Nallan of Morning Brew fame. That was cool.
… favourite trend?
Any time I exposed our readers to a new meme, that was truly the moments that I was living the Screenshot dream (in my head anyway!).
… favourite article?
I enjoyed reading our Gen Z Yellowpaper on… the color yellow. It’s fascinating how a color can really define a generation, and have so much meaning embedded in it.
The one I enjoyed writing the most is the one about the metaverse, it’s an emerging tech that I do believe will change the world (Ziad would disagree!). Getting to write this from a Gen Z perspective with a lens on equality and justice was definitely my favorite part.
Can you tell us where you’re off too?
I’m going to focus on my job working in advertising for the Guardian. The Screenshot has been my side hustle for the last 18 months, balancing my full time job with bringing our Screenshot community trends & the tea. As it grows, I want to let it become the star it’s destined to be, and its time to hand over the reins to someone that can give it their undivided attention.
Any last remarks…
Working with the best Gen Z talent throughout the last two years has been awe-inspiring, exhilarating and just plainly fun. JUV really has captured the best Gen Z talent and with its mission, it will continue to do so because it truly offers a change from the status quo – unafraid and unfearing to say the things everyone else is too afraid to say.
I’m going to miss working with some phenomenal people, but also chatting to the people that make the Screenshot what it is – our readers. Thank you all & peace!
They Grow Up So Fast…
Happy 2nd Birthday to The ScreenshotRead more
Working on The Screenshot has been an absolute pleasure and we cannot believe the successes we have accomplished along the way. Click the photo below to hear what the 2nd Birthday of The Screenshot means to our JUV Community.
JUV Consulting Screenshot Team
THIS WEEK IN GEN Z HOT TRENDS￼
⬆ As TikTok is ascending to become *the* social media platform for all things content & inspiration, former champion Instagram is feeling the heat. In its attempts to adapt it has taken on a lot of TikTok’s features, including the introduction of Reels and prioritisation of video. They recently changed users’ home feed to look more like TikTok, but after backlash from creators and celebs – including from the first family of the internet aka the Kardashian-Jenners – they’ve rowed back. Unionising does really help!Read more
⬆ Shawn Mendes has cancelled his tour due to his mental health. Fans have been broadly supportive of him. It must’ve been a tough decision, and we need more men coming forward and talking about their well-being. Wishing Shawn the best.
⬆ Beyonce is back, baby! With her new album dropping this week, the pop icon is expected to storm to the top of the Billboard charts. It’s already her most acclaimed album to date according to Metacritic alongside breaking records. And this is only Act 1..
⬇ Off the back of viral news that Kylie Jenner used her private jet for a trip that she could’ve easily taken by car, analysis by Yard – a UK based environmental marketing agency – showed the top 10 private jet colluding celebrities. Taylor Swift topped the list and the memes have been keeping the internet on this week tbh. See the full list of celebs here.
⬇ Roblox has gotten rid of its iconic ‘oof’ sound due to licensing issues. Mashable describes it as “is the sound a character makes when they die in the game or resets — but it’s moved beyond the sound of a small exclamation to evolve into a beloved rallying cry for the Roblox community.” We’re going to miss it too.
⬇ YouTube supremo PewDiePie faced backlash this week for mocking a deaf woman. The video creator published a video reacting to TikToks, in this he included a video of a deaf woman using sign language and mocked her nails as if she was doing it for fun. Once brought up, he passed it off as a mistake and didn’t apologize. Not good enough.
Investing in a College Degree: Is it Worth it for Generation Z?
Your university years have resulted in a degree with your name, your major, and the school’s name in an ornate font—that doesn’t really represent the rising rates of imposter syndrome in academics, hypercompetitive nature, and the desire to break into other pursuits of life.Read more
For years, much of the population has considered following this “cookie-cutter” route: attend four undergraduate years, graduate from college, and get a job or go to graduate school. It is—or was—the traditional, promising route towards securing a career.
If there’s anything Generation Z is known for, it’s definitely our ability to redefine the standard. Sure enough, we’re rerouting this educational path too. It isn’t just our indecisive tendencies when choosing a path, but we certainly are pushing for the most efficient—some will say shortest—way to reach our intended outcomes and professional successes. If you ask today’s college-age groups about their take on higher education being a necessary and worthwhile investment, you’ll mainly be met with the flip side of the matter: there are alternatives to a standard college pathway that spare the expected negative financial, emotional, and social factors that students often deal with.
As the most outspoken generation yet, we like to work smarter and not harder, but this isn’t necessarily a shortcut to our career success. Reported by Fast Company, around 49 percent of Generation Z does not envision themselves graduating with a degree from an institution. As other young audiences weigh in, the common reasons for its decreasing popularity include the wide selection of opportunities where people can receive the same quality of effective training, acquire the proper hard and soft skills for their career, enroll in apprenticeships or programs, and the ability to do so at a significant fraction of college tuition. It’s generally in one’s best interest to gain as much relevant experience as possible without the blow to finances—as the average cost of tuition in the United States is around $33,000.
On the other hand, while corporate jobs seem to be highly sought after, numerous young people have reconsidered the greater benefits and work-life balance by starting their own initiatives; Oberlo’s findings have cited a large increase in small businesses at 9.8% from 2017 to 2021. A quality found in many young adults, the heavy prioritization placed on different lifestyle practices like traveling, volunteering, and other pastimes have greatly disrupted the views on the typical 9-to-5 commitment, which is typically associated with a 4-year degree and the standard career pathway. Many have also become interested in relatively low-maintenance streams of income lately, such as investing.
One of the defining characteristics and motives behind pursuing a higher education is to sharpen up on field-related skills and a competent background in a particular industry. However, company-specific training programs are causing the need for degrees to become unneeded. With arguments that the current college model doesn’t specifically tailor to certain careers—as hands-on experience takes the lead—and that an employee’s required skills often differ between companies, some corporations have already released their own “curriculum” and modules to equip their future workers with the skills needed for their practices. The expansive prospects of technology have opened the door with collections of self-taught courses, tutorials, and self-initiated projects. Today’s employers have started to value these actions highly over a college degree, due to it being considered as action-oriented and an actual real-life application.
No, this doesn’t necessarily mean that your Instagram stalking days count as your breakthrough into your marketing research career. Would it be a good addition to your knowledge? Honestly, it might—only because employers do see their employees’ authenticity, firm goals, and drive as a sign that they’re willing to learn more about opportunities to fulfill the job successfully (and when we want to know something that’ll benefit us, Generation Z really does whatever it takes). Additionally, with the economy and various job sectors recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies have since aimed to make their positions more accessible. Workers are needed to take up vacant openings as business operations return to a more “normal,” pre-pandemic state; hiring managers have turned off college degree filters on job listing platforms. A hallmark of this action, MarketWatch has stated that “opening up the pool of applicants for certain jobs has made the candidate pool more diverse.” Could this be a stepping stone in increasing equitable practices and inclusion in the workforce—like for those who initially couldn’t afford the overbearing costs of college or received training elsewhere?
A degree isn’t the make-or-break factor anymore. Instead, it now seems like a pure passion and determination to learn could potentially replace a college education, and it’s pretty clear that Generation Z has already checked that box.
THIS WEEK IN GEN Z HOT TRENDS
⬆ If you hadn’t realized, Little Miss has been trending across the internet over the last week. It’s basically what’s your brand or worst habit? Add Little Miss in front of it and you’ve got your little miss meme. I’m Little Miss Eats Too Many Croissant Then Complains About Feeling Sick.Read more
⬆ Keke Palmer is the moment, forever. As the lead in Jordan Peele’s new film, Nope, Palmer is being reintroduced to audiences again. Any Disney/Nickelodeon kid of the 00s will know of her but now she’s really taking off. A viral tweet compared her career to Zendaya’s, noting the colorism that possibly exists in their level of mainstream success, and Miss Keke was not having it. She touted her successes over the years, don’t be taking her shine away!
⬆ The new Black Panther trailer was released this week. The first film was a generation defining blockbuster that shattered expectations, and it looks like the next one will live upto its standard. We cannot wait!
⬇ A Pink Sauce has gone viral on TikTok with the creator racking up the sales, but with the sauce having some dodgy labels and terrible packaging it’s not looking good for her. Read more here.
⬇ Logan Paul gave his opinion on Jordan Peele’s latest release in a long Twitter thread,he got ratio’d with a tweet that said nobody cares about his opinion. Oops.
⬇ A video went viral across social that compared a scene from the Netflix’s hit film, Don’t Look Up, to a real life news report. The film scene showed news presenters brushing off climate concerns, while the real life news presenters told a meteorologist to stop the doom and gloom in response to historic heatwave temperatures this past week. We 👉literally👈 can’t believe this is still happening.
TikTok: The Rising Star in Promoting Neurodiversity
In 2022, social media is nothing if not a paradox. With instant information loaded at the tap of a finger, self discoveries are at an all-time high—and we aren’t sure how we feel about it. Studies have shown that the breadth of access to information via social media is repeatedly leaving people clinically overwhelmed, insecure, with anxiety and burnout statistics high on the charts of internet fatigue. Especially post-Covid, with more and more people exhibiting signs of a “freeze” trauma response, apps like TikTok present a complex issue of information overload.Read more
If you are Gen Z, there’s little-to-no chance that you aren’t aware of the seemingly psychic algorithmic abilities of TikTok’s “For You Page.” [For those that are newer to the TikTok scene, the “For You Page”, dubbed FYP, is the hubbub of content exposure and sharing on TikTok.] At times helpful, other times spooky, & nearly all times leaving you personally attacked with accuracy, TikTok’s algorithm is uniquely catered to each user’s interests, interactions, and overall TikTok footprint. There’s something akin to pure camaraderie in the comment section of TikToks that hit home just a little too closely for quite a few people. My FYP has shown me videos echoing personal thoughts not even 30 minutes after having them—without ever voicing said thoughts aloud. It does not take long to be on TikTok before you are having a similar experience. The FYP phenomenon can be overwhelming, but also informative. Two years ago, I had my own medical discovery prompted by TikTok that effectively changed my entire life.
I was minding my business mid-pandemic & TikToks about undiagnosed ADHD in adults started filling my FYP. ADHD was something I had always associated with my hyperactive, quirky childhood best friend who struggled with her grades & was unable to sit still. What I now know as a common misunderstanding, I thought ADHD was a condition that you could outgrow with age. I was seeing TikToks about later-in-life ADHD diagnoses’, specifically in women; TikToks entitled, “5 Symptoms that Might Indicate You Have Undiagnosed ADHD”; TikToks that told me to put a finger down for each situation I had experienced, with the tagline that these were potentially indicative of undiagnosed, unmedicated ADHD – and I related to nearly all of them.
This triggered an identity crisis and deep-dig of ADHD and its medical history, including any information I could find regarding the drastic statistical gap in diagnoses’ for women. It turns out, similar to the last 30ish years discovery and overhaul on treating depression & anxiety (I highly recommend The Body Keeps the Score for more information), ADHD has been misunderstood & misdiagnosed for years, with some experts estimating that 75% of adults with ADHD remain undiagnosed. While hyperactivity and short attention span are symptoms perpetuated by stereotype, ADHD presents in a much wider, more complex breadth of symptoms and struggles for each individual.
Fast-forward to being psychiatrically evaluated, and I was receiving an ADHD diagnosis at 23 years old. The most accurate reaction I can recount is feeling like I had just been dealt the most relieving gut punch. On the one hand, I finally knew why my brain worked the way it did. The disconnects I often felt in my relationships, my daily routines, and life scenarios had very real explanations. On the other hand, 23 is the age when people kind of start expecting you to have your life together. (Disclaimer: time is not linear and personal success is not determined by capitalistic metrics of achievement…but that’s a conversation for another day). People would ask me where I went to school (which I had dropped out of), where I was working now (as an actor in the pandemic) and what I had planned for the future (lol). Receiving an ADHD diagnosis was like I had been given the script for the movie of my first 23 years of life while the end credits were playing.
Much like receiving a late diagnosis, a tricky part of having ADHD is the paradoxes. Every ADHDer presents this differently, but the underlying experience is shared. For me, it looks like hating routines, but needing clear structure and guidelines to be successful; like being highly sensitive, but struggling at times with bluntness or lack of etiquette in my own communicative patterns. A common experience for ADHDers as a result of these paradoxes is overcompensating or “masking” our ADHD for the sake of fitting in and conforming to neurotypical society. This creates an inner paradoxical experience, as we live with a self that feels very much split between two realities.
If ADHD were a bad joke, the punchline is that one of the biggest gaslighters of ADHD today is…people who don’t know they have ADHD. In a capitalist society that wants you to conform—and adding patriarchal structures to the mix—it feels unmeasurably easier to present as a neurotypical person externally, than to live freely in your neurodivergence. Frankly, it makes sense: masking, coping, and adapting is the only perspective of the world an undiagnosed individual has ever experienced. As a result, undiagnosed ADHDers unknowingly perpetuate this societal paradox through a lifetime of meticulously adapting to the neurotypical world.
The statistics of individuals potentially living with undiagnosed ADHD are daunting. With this in mind, it’s critical to consider how these numbers are affecting our society at large. It means that people with ADHD are not the exception, they are another valid part to the whole of society. We need to be having conversations about how we can create more inclusive spaces for neurodivergent folks now. The neurodivergent community does not stop at ADHD, but asking questions is a good stepping stone to learning more. So, how can a workplace collaborate with ADHDers, (likely some of the highest achieving on the team) to make the workplace a more accommodating environment for all employees?
–Be clear with expectations. This is generally a good habit, but there is no such thing as too much communication when it comes to establishing structure for someone with ADHD. Along with this, verbal affirmations are hugely important to reassuring people with ADHD that they are on the right track.
–Be intentional about connecting. Typically, coworkers enjoy socializing for the sake of socializing; employees with ADHD (especially the extroverts) need it for the sake of dopamine. Our brains are hardwired to process dopamine at a deficit from the neurotypical brain. Getting moments of connecting with other people is essential to maintaining dopamine throughout the day.
–Connection creates healthy accountability. While ADHDers need structure, we can also struggle with feeling trapped by routines. When I have a manager who is consistent with checking in on me (to genuinely connect), I am significantly more motivated in my work, and I am also getting dopamine from feeling valued as a person.
–Be conscious and accepting of different working habits. People with ADHD can often struggle with a typical 9-5 work schedule. There can be a multitude of reasons for this – take time to get to know what works best for someone with ADHD and be open-minded to a non-conventional working structure.
–A key struggle of living with ADHD is burnout – while burnout is a human experience, much more common post-COVID, ADHDers are statistically more likely to experience burnout, per a plethora of reasons. If you know an ADHD employee, it is essential to recognize the signs of burnout & allow them space to move through it (the only way for anyone to truly recover from burnout). We will come out on the other side even more motivated and ready to re-invigorate the team with our natural enthusiasm.
Let’s get one thing straight – I come from a privileged perspective; as a cis-gender, able-bodied, white woman, all of these privileges (among others) contributed along the way to me receiving a diagnosis, even if later in life. To share about my diagnosis, and what I’ve learned, is to also account for those privileges, and acknowledge that for non-white, non-able-bodied, non-cis neurodivergent folks, the same privileges do not exist. Even with my privileges, getting a diagnosis started entirely by chance through an app—if this was my story, what are marginalized neurodivergent folks missing out on or excluded from in their own experiences?
This brings me back to TikTok – the collateral damage caused by information overload is real, as anyone with a TikTok knows the feeling of a mushy brain from mindless scrolling. Yet, I also owe it to TikTok for my ADHD diagnosis. TikTok was the launchpad to me finding answers to lifelong questions, to me finally having a shot at constructing my own version of adulthood. It’s an opportunity for marginalized communities to access information and opportunities that they might otherwise have been excluded from. With the potential for such critical personal discovery at our fingertips, TikTok’s excess of information is certainly worth more than an immediate write-off. The disadvantages of social media are tangibly felt by our society, but the benefits provide substantial food for thought, too.
4 Ways to Accommodate Neurodiversity in the Workplace￼
Growing up NeurodivergentRead more
“Nearly 1 in 5 Americans may experience some form of mental health condition each year.” According to the US Department of Labor. As someone who falls into that statistic, having been diagnosed with four mental health conditions, navigating life hasn’t been easy.
Being diagnosed with severe anxiety, depression, OCD, ADHD, and an eating disorder has made for a difficult upbringing in many ways. Despite challenges, I’ve never let my conditions hold me back from moving up and forward in life. Going to therapy and continually trying new medication paired with coping mechanisms have been crucial for my healing and recovery. Since graduating in 2020, during a time that declined my mental health further, I’ve made it a goal to improve my quality of life as a neurodivergent adult–especially within the workplace.
Who is Responsible for Creating a Mental Health-Friendly Workplace?
When crafting a safe and nourishing work environment for neurodivergent people, I believe the responsibility lies on both the individual and the employer. As a young professional, I do my part to work on personal habits that help me perform my best.
Some practices include organizing my to-do lists in a way that helps me prioritize work. Sometimes it’s setting timers for tasks to help me avoid procrastination or spending too long on one thing. I’ve also learned to write down everything, from quick conversations to hour-long meetings; that simple action accommodates my memory and auditory processing issues. While I need to take individual action, it’s up to my employer to provide me with an environment where I feel safe to speak up about support. On top of that, my current employer has practices in-place accommodating neurodiverse needs, which should be commonplace at any job.
Accommodating Neurodiverse Employees
I believe that the following should be taken into consideration when shaping a work culture suitable for neurodiverse professionals:
- Flexible Work Location
Global pandemic aside, being allowed to work remotely to some capacity should be non-negotiable. Whether fully remote or hybrid, there should be no forced daily commute. Not having to have a daily commute is highly beneficial for neurodivergent people. It means being able to work from your most comfortable and creative spaces. It means having the option to avoid overstimulation or severe social anxiety triggered by loud in-person settings (during the commute or in the office).
JUV allows its contractors and employees this much-needed flexibility; having extra time to myself at night or sleeping in more in the morning can sometimes make all the difference in my mood and productivity for the day.
- Internal Calls Being Webcam Optional
There are days when it’s hard for me to care for my hygiene and appearance, so I prefer the webcam be off. There are days my anxiety is severe, making it easier for me to speak when I know I’m not on camera. It’s not every day, but when those days hit, I appreciate the option to be webcam off without feeling judged.
- Normalizing Mental Health Days
It’s common to feel burnt out, overly stimulated, or low energy in the workplace as a neurodivergent professional. It doesn’t make me a weak or unengaged employee; it’s a sign I need a mental reset. JUV Consulting has normalized mental health days & breaks, which I admire because mental health is just as important as physical health. If someone can take a sick day, they can take a mental health day. Of course, some people may take advantage of mental health days, but they can do the same for a cold.
Employees who take their job seriously and are grateful for the accommodations offered won’t take advantage of the systems in place. From an employer standpoint, I find that implementing this policy shows the company’s trust in its employees and appreciation for them.
- Encouraging Casual Check-Ins with Managers & Colleagues
I’ve been lucky enough to have genuine connections with managers and colleagues where we can have casual conversations centering around how we’re feeling in general, if we feel comfortable with workloads, etc. My direct manager encourages bringing our authentic selves to work; this means being open and honest if I’m feeling overwhelmed or dealing with negative feelings.
Establishing a work culture where managers and colleagues check in on one another is a great way to destigmatize mental illness in the workplace. It builds connections among team members and instills in employees that it’s okay to speak up if accommodations and support are needed.
Neurodivergent People Belong in the Workplace
We’re passionate, hardworking individuals who appreciate a work culture that normalizes talk surrounding mental health and disorders. We can’t “turn off” a mental health condition just because we’re working; it stays with us even on the job, which is why working for an employer who accepts us as our neurodiverse selves, is crucial.
Gen Z’s Love-Hate Relationship with BNPL
Why pay now when you could pay later? This is the logic Apple Pay is bringing to users through the launch of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL). Let’s break down what the f*ck this launch means to Gen Z.Read more
The looming threat of recession hasn’t stopped Apple from leveling up their financial services. According to NerdWallet, BNPL, “like its name suggests, ‘buy now, pay later’ lets you make a purchase and receive it immediately but pay for it at a later time, usually over a series of installments.” Pretty simple, right?? The service exploded with pandemic-induced online shopping. Some of these installments can come with an interest or late fees depending on the number of installments.
You can still be eligible for BNPL services if you have a bad or no credit history, a potential advantage for up-and-coming consumers still figuring out their financial portfolios. With this option, Gen Z can now use methods of purchasing like BNPL to alleviate the instant financial pressure of a big purchase.
The hashtag #buynowpaylater has around 75 million views on TikTok, some being paid ads. Some are calling it a blessing, and some are calling it a curse. Scott Galloway, a marketing professor at NYU, called BNPL “the equivalent of the subprime mortgage crisis” for millennials and Gen Z in a Pivot podcast episode because of how it tricks people into buying things that they cannot afford. There are even TikToks about how people cannot afford the installments anymore, in a humorous way.
According to a survey conducted by Piplsay, 43 percent of Gen Zers have missed at least one payment in 2021. Another study done by Qualtrics for Credit Karma says that number for both millennials and Gen Z is more than 50 percent. At JUV, we wanted to test these numbers with our own research through our Receipt network, made up of 5,000+ engaged Gen Z’ers from around the world. Our Director of Research, Steph Strickland, helped compile insights from our proprietary research, and here’s what we found.
TLDR: It is undeniable that there are some risks with using BNPL products such as Klarna, Affirm, Afterpay. It is also undeniable that these past months were difficult for BNPL players, however, as CB Insights CEO Anand Sanwal recently wrote in his daily newsletter: “BNPL ain’t dead.”
BNPLempowers Gen Zers financially. There are a lot of us who have never used a credit card before, let alone that some of our international friends studying abroad are not even eligible for a credit card outside their home country. BNPL helps with financing as long as I know how to use it correctly.
And that’s where the problem starts. These products are innately empowering customers, however, there is a lack of awareness, transparency, and education around it, just as our insights concluded. Elle, in their article on BNPL, claimed that such installments can be used for two different purchases: “1) to purchase necessities, and 2) to buy non-essential items that help them maintain social status and clout, despite not having the means to pay for them.”
So, instead of positioning themselves as an installment service with no questions asked, BNPL brands should be a partner for Gen Z in financial literacy. BNPL products need to meet Gen Z where they are with full transparency.
Written By Emir Lise, Co- Authored By Steph Strickland
The Past, Present & Future of Gen Z Yellow￼
Where can we find light in this never-ending shade?Read more
There is something to be said about the pantsuit. It’s iconic, symbolic in its marking of the shifts in politics and culture. Most notably, we can turn to female politicians to highlight this phenomenon. Hilary Clinton’s pantsuit; white, stoic, regal. Elizabeth Warren’s; shockingly pink, brash, room-commanding.
When 22 year old poet, Amanda Gorman emerged on the 2021 inauguration stage, standing on the precipice of a building that months before was scaled by insurrectionists, she was wearing a bright, bright yellow.
An Un-Brief History
Since the beginning of our traceable human history we have seen yellow envelope our lives. It’s the color of fire, the sun, gold. Yellow warms our faces and brings us life. It covers the walls of the pyramids of ancient Egypt and prehistoric cave paintings. In the bible, it’s the color Judas wears. In impressionist flashbacks, Van Gogh colors his paintings in yellow.
So how did yellow, a color that has been worshiped and deified, one found in cave paintings dating back 17,000 years, become associated with one of history’s newest generations?
Rumblings of “Gen Z Yellow” started popping up in the late 2010’s, as the spiritual successor to millennial pink, just as the media was being acquainted with Gen Z—the generation quickly coming of age as Millennials moved onto adulthood and out of the zeitgeist.
The Death of the Girlboss
Many tied the rise of “Gen Z yellow” intrinsically with the death of the “Millennial Pink”. Once seen as boundary pushing, Millennial Pink defined the decade of the “Girlboss”, that has since devolved from feminist mantra, to a Gen Z punchline.
Millennial Pink, a hue somewhere between the light pink and salmon range of the color wheel, is a soft, comforting tone. As Ellen Gutoskey for Mental Floss writes, “…if it looks like something your old Barbie dolls wore, it’s probably too bright to be considered Millennial Pink.” The associations with pink have helped form the color’s relevance amongst Millennials; from its calming effect on people to an homage to the 80’s and Millennials’ childhoods, the widespread use of the color is nothing short of a cultural moment for those born between 1981 and 1996.
Early adopter of Gen Z Yellow Hayley Nahman, wrote in 2017 for the now defunct Man Repeller (another casualty of the death of the Girlboss) contrasts Gen-Z Yellow as “the natural evolution of Millennial Pink… It maintains that pleasing-to-the-eye softness of the sweetest shades of millennial pink, but without the overplayed infantilization. “It’s both nostalgic and modern. It has zest, energy, optimism. It’s frequently unflattering… ironically speaking, and it pairs well with impractical shoes and weird sunglasses.”
If Millennial Pink is Instagram infographics, Gen Z Yellow is casual Instagram. As Nahman says, Gen Z Yellow is the encapsulation of “trying and caring… but only for your own agenda.”
A Gen Z Yellow for a New Gen Z
It is, however, important to note that the 2017 Gen Z of Nahman’s article is not the Gen Z of today. Today’s Gen Z is living in an era post-Trump presidency, post-Covid and post-Tik Tok. When the early drafts describing Gen Z Yellow were written, the only recognizable Gen Z representatives were Millie Bobby Brown and Greta Thurnberg.
Today Gen Z is mainstream, and so are its role models. From Amanda Gorman to Olivia Rodrigo, the Gen Z aesthetic is still unnameable and ever changing, but yellow remains as its center.
There was once a painter, who refused to use the color green. He believed the color belonged exclusively to nature. Yellow does not occupy this same space. Yellow moves between the natural world and a deeply technological one. It’s the color of dandelions and of the emoji. It’s at once nostalgic and innovative (think Arthur’s sweater and Cher Horowitz’s skirt suit as well as Beyonce’s Lemonade). It’s a color that exists in the in between, everywhere and nowhere.
Considering how Gen Z was shaped by seminal global moments like our parents’ reckoning with the financial crisis, a student debt crisis of $1 trillion, and eco-anxiety around the ramifications of climate change, we not only have the vocabulary to articulate our emotions, but to express them in the ways that we experience them—complicated and nuanced. Yellow is the default color across the emojis on your keyboard and is simultaneously the color that increases mental activity, awareness, and energy, for everyone, not just Gen Z. This generation’s access to information and awareness of the world around them has allowed them to feel every emotion, more visceral than any generation ever before, expressed in our highs 😊and lows 😕.
Color psychology tells us that it is a color that makes us feel warm and happy, and even brands have picked up on that association. From legacy brands like National Geographic to tech giants like Snap to emerging Gen Z brands like Snack TBH, yellow highlights their brand identity.
TikTok user @tallneil has also called out the emergence of the color “acid”, popping up among Gen Z aligned brands like Our Place and Parade (who calls the color Parakeet). Like Gen Z Yellow, it’s genderless, unnameable, and unflattering. As Gen Z evolves, does the color that defines the generation evolve too?
Hello Yellow, Goodbye Millennial Pink
In 2021, the world was reckoning with a pandemic, resurgence of social justice movements, and a reorientation of what “normal” looks like in a contemporary sense—hint: there is no such thing as “normal.” That year then Pantone revealed “Illuminating” as the color of the year, a distinctively & joyfully Gen Z yellow. While we stay cognizant of the realities of the world around us, we have to cling to hope where we can. Even when it’s symbolic and/or branded, expect that it will propel us all to act. To unequivocally be the generation that holds institutions and stakeholders accountable, sets the trend—whether it’s on TikTok or in politics—to build intergenerational action that’s brighter, bolder, and blaringly honest.
Days Like These, a Personal Essay
It’s days like these that make me hauntingly aware of not only my own identity but how others view my identity. I have occupied this earth as an African American female for 23 years and every day seems to be getting increasingly harder. The air seems harder to breathe, my chest tightens more frequently, my head pounds with anxiety and my feet no longer touch the ground. At many times I feel as though I am floating – transitioning from one place to another, talking without saying anything, hearing without listening, existing but not living.Read more
Friday morning I watched as my newsfeed was bombarded with information. Information regarding a decision that touches every inch of my identity. I watched as my IPhone relentlessly lit up.
The words shown across my screen “Roe v. Wade has been overturned after 50 years.”
And just like that, whatever hope you still had left seemingly disappears.
It’s days like these that make you question quite literally everything. You question your existence on this earth, your purpose in society, your perception of others, of yourself, of our country. This is not the life my mother imagined when she immigrated here with the promise of a brighter future. Where has that bright light that she once saw disappeared to?
I do not know what the future holds for myself and the other femme identifying people around me. But what I do know is that being a woman has saved my life and it will save my life today. Being a woman has given me purpose, community, friendship and love. If you are a femme identifying person, if you are loved by a femme identifying person, this is your fight as much as it is mine.
I will fight for your freedom if you fight for mine.
Let’s Take Action
Here are the “13 Trigger Ban” States and organizations you can support in these states with credit to @themeteor on Instagram:
The Resurgence of Film Amongst Gen Z
In recent years, Gen Z has famously been dubbed the “Nostalgic generation“. Holding on to everything and anything from the past that may provide comfort, our generation is known to revel in this feeling of contentment. Why, you may ask? There are a few reasons. Firstly, many attribute it to our collective desire for escapism. It is undeniable that our generation, as a whole, has lived through some incredibly turbulent, troubling times. From incidents that shaped our adolescence, like the 2008 stock market crash, to recent trauma that we are still very much coping with, like the pandemic, we have experienced some truly difficult times. Thus, we find comfort in the familiar, and specifically in the familiar things that help us connect with others.Read more
Everyone loves a good dose of nostalgic feelings– those warm, happy, “feels-like-home”, “those-were-the-good-old-days” vibes that are so incredibly comforting, especially during trying times, are pretty much priceless. When it comes to the term “nostalgia” (especially in the context of Gen Z), many are quick to relate the concept to anything Y2K (the year two thousand). From the resurgence of Juicy Couture velour tracksuits and colored butterfly clips, to wired headphones and flip phones, everything early-2000s-related is certainly at the heart of how Gen Z defines nostalgia today. However, the nostalgia stretches beyond just the past twenty years or so. We specifically see this exemplified in the renaissance of film photography.
Whether it be 35 mm film, Polaroid instant film, or whatever other niche film stock people are able to get their hands on nowadays, all film is revered for its ability to emulate the extremely treasured sense of nostalgia.The graininess, the saturated colors, the inexplicable value of the physicality of the image… Everything about film photography feels wonderfully special and oddly familiar. Following the classic “everything old is new again” trope, the use of film and even the movement to replicate the “film aesthetic” has become more and more popular in recent years, being deemed “vintage” by the general Instagram public. This was specifically demonstrated in Instagram’s 2010 launch, where not only was the app icon a vintage camera, but the filters were supposed to mimic that vintage, film-y feel.
Beyond the aesthetic being appealing, there is something so refreshingly simple about the act of taking a film photograph. In a day and age where we are watching literally every aspect of our life turn digital, the simplicity of (sometimes somewhat blindly) snapping a photo with one button is appealing. While that, of course, only applies to automatic cameras rather than manual cameras, film cameras in general are still multitudes more straightforward than digital cameras. We see a prime example of this yearning for the simplicity of the film photography process when it comes to Huji Cam, a phone app. This app is basically a disposable camera simulator where the user snaps a picture and then has to wait for the image to “develop” before they can view it. The tagline of the app is even, “Just Like the Year 1998”.
Another key point that explains the resurgence of film photography amongst Gen Z is the fact that it is one of the most affordable ways to practice photography– specifically when using disposable cameras. Though even the cheapest methods of film photography are no bargain, they are far less expensive than digital methods. And, in a world where inflation has become a serious issue, efforts to save money do not go untapped.
Overall, the comfort, ease, and sense of nostalgia that the act of shooting film photography exudes is more than attractive. Film transports us to a time where not everything was digital, life was simple, and photographs were firstly and fore-mostly physical memories. Seeing as film photography was once declared a dead medium, the resurgence of the practice highlights a renaissance in the way Gen Z individuals capture and document our lives.
Photography By – Jamie Pearl
Happy Black Independence Day
Happy Black Independence Day! Understanding Juneteenth and Continuing the Fight for Liberation 159 Years LaterRead more
If you’re wondering why you didn’t have to go to work on Monday, it’s because it was the 157th year of Juneteenth (aka Black Independence Day or Jubilee Day), but only the second year observed as a federal holiday. June 19th (Juneteenth) was the day that Major General Gordon Granger and Union Soldiers marched into Galveston, Texas, and announced the abolition of slavery to enslaved people. This day was two years after President Lincoln had already established the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth is the day many enslaved people learned about their liberation for the first time.
Yet, 159 years later, we still struggle and fight for liberation.
While we’re celebrating 157 years of the acknowledgment and the understanding of our freedom, modern-day slavery and oppression still exist and look slightly different than they did in 1863, so our fight and path to liberation look different.
Political unrest and racialized state violence during the infamous “Summer 2020” propelled Juneteenth into the national spotlight. That summer highlighted the deep-rooted history of systemic violence and oppression that still impacts Black people today. It was the first time that many Americans heard words like “systemic oppression” and “institutionalized racism.” Today, the fight against these systems of oppression and Black liberation takes many forms. We fight for access to healthcare, access to equitable education, reproductive justice, universal basic income, abolition of the prison industrial complex, disability rights, gender equity, queer and trans liberation– the list goes on and on! The oppression of Black people is inextricably linked to the oppression of every marginalized group. Therefore, it is our duty to uplift and fight for Black liberation so that we can successfully dismantle the foundation that every system of oppression in America depends on— anti-black racism.
As a 22-year-old racial equity practitioner, I am aware that I am fighting for a future I may never see. However, I am responsible for ensuring that the generations after me reap the fruits of our labor and live the lives we dream of today.
I’m also aware that this seems like a daunting and never-ending fight – – because it is. Luckily we fight one day at a time. We win the battle before we can win the war. But, like in 1865, the first step in accessing liberation isn’t being aware of freedom.
Kwame Ture once said, “the only progress for our people is a rising consciousness of the masses. if you have rising consciousness and worsening conditions, there’s no question you’re heading towards the path of revolution”. In the day of social media and hyperconnectivity, we can raise awareness about the atrocities and mobilize around these causes. I don’t mean hashtag activism or posting a cute graphic on your Instagram story. I mean taking the time to research and promote well-vetted information about instances of injustice and urge people to do something about it. We can’t just believe that everyone already knows about these issues. 2020 highlighted that that is not the case. You don’t know what you don’t know, so taking the time to educate yourself and others about the issues that plague our society can bring about change. When we raise awareness, we can no longer sustain the suffering we are forced to endure.
The next step is to act. Voting is not the only way to promote change. In fact, the abolitionists that fought for liberation didn’t even have the ability to vote, yet they fought relentlessly and succeeded. Acting can include protesting and donating to community organizers and mobilizers who dedicate their lives to fighting for equity and liberation. Change doesn’t need to start from the top down. Instead, we can leverage our access and privilege to help others continue the horizontal movement of resources and opportunities rather than doing it for them.
Now here is where things get tricky. Corporations are often the proponents of some of the most violent and oppressive acts of violence in the US and globally. If we truly want to remedy this, there must be some recrimination of the past and an actionable pathway forwards that exemplifies equity. Marginalized communities are constantly told to move and forget about the past. We cannot effectively move on without acknowledging past actions, reversing the damages, and ensuring that no one will have the authority to marginalize others or be the victim of systems that disenfranchise and marginalize communities.
This step is the hardest because it requires us to confront a very uncomfortable reality and asks us to take responsibility for actions we have intentionally or unintentionally perpetrated. It also requires us to deny ourselves access to privilege and opportunities to create opportunities for others. This is the hardest and the most important step in liberation.
Lastly, as critical stakeholders of our global community, we have the unique opportunity to use the innovation that our industry is built on to create a world that achieves and sustains liberation. We shape the culture and make the messages the world uses to learn about themselves and other communities. Prioritizing cultural competency and social responsibility as cultural curators will enhance individuals’ interpersonal interactions and activate change one person at a time.
Liberation is long, challenging, and demanding. But, most of all, liberation is necessary and continues 159 years later.
Until we collectively start doing the necessary work, we will never have liberty and justice for all.
Our struggle is yours, and yours is ours.
THIS WEEK IN HOT GEN Z TRENDS￼
More on trendingRead more
⬆ People are sick of corporations using Pride to pinkwash their harmful activities and seeing it as a PR opportunity. One way that businesses have used Pride as a smokescreen for their activities is by partnering with queer influencers – this is being ridiculed through this meme. Lol with us by searching ‘As a gay teen…’ on Twitter.
⬆ British icon Kate Bush has seen her classic hit ‘Running Up That Hill’ jump in the charts after it featured in the new season of ‘Stranger Things’. It introduced the indie-pop star to a new generation of listeners, and she’s grateful for it.
⬆ The British version of Love Island is back. The OG star of the new coming of dating shows is ready for its new season – what’s different this year? Instead of partnering with fast fashion retailers as in past years, the show is partnering with Ebay to focus on rewearing and upcycling old clothes. Not only this, the promo pics for the contestants were left untouched. As a behemoth of a show, it’s using its influence for good – you love to see it.
⬇ Kim K has said that she would try eating poop if it would make her look younger. Her comments brought on a predictable onslaught of remarks, we believe everyone should feel good with how they look, but if she wants to look like us – we’re here for it!
⬇ One Direction’s Liam Payne has truly become a meme – and not in the good sense. The pop singer was on Jake Paul’s podcast claiming that he’s the best selling band member post-1D, popular culture blogs disproved this claim not long after. This comes after his recent confused accent video from the Oscars that we were just WTF about!
⬇ Months on from the Oscars slap, we’re still seeing comments about it coming up in the news – Jada Pinkett-Smith and Vivica Fox recently talked about it so it came back in the news. We say let’s move on from the event, let them heal behind closed doors and make good – we don’t need to keep hearing about the tragic episode.
7 Gen Z Pride Activists to Follow￼ ￼￼
In honor of June being Pride Month, JUV wanted to highlight some Gen Z LGBTQ+ activists to follow. The LGBTQ+ space is constantly fighting against social stigmas that still run in society today, so it is incredibly important to continue supporting and recognizing these activists in any capacity you can for the amazing work they do. Happy Pride Month!Read more
The Empathy Alliance, founded by Sameer Jha at just 14 years old, is an organization focused on supporting students being bullied for their queer identities, as well as making schools safer for LGBTQ+ youth. They also educate teachers on the LGBTQ+ community and work with some of the largest LBGTQ+ organization in the US to promote queer youth mental health. Jha spearheaded this initiative and continues to create a positive impact on the LGBTQ+ space today.
2. Ose Arheghan, (they/them)
Recipient of the Student Advocate of the Year Award at the 2017 GLSEN Respect Awards, Ose Arheghan, took action motivated by his past experiences with queer microagressions starting as early as 8th grade. Through writing and volunteering, Ose spread awareness and advocated for sexual and racial diversity. They currently attend Ohio State University and work with Advocates for Youth.
3.Ashton Mota (he/him)
Ashton Mota is the project champion of Gender Cool and the co-author of A Kids Book About Being Inclusive. As a Black person in the LGBTQ+ community, Ashton quickly realized that families of Black youth are not as supportive as he had hoped. In a Yahoo article about his work, Ashton stated, “Working with GenderCool was like something that stood out to me, basically because my only job is to tell my story and let the world see me for who I am — past my trans identity.”
Check out Ashton on Instagram.
4.Ziggy Mack Johnson (he/they)
Fashion influencer, content creator, stylist, and designer Ziggy Mack Johnson focuses on the realm of Black LGBTQ+ support. Through Ziggy’s large platform of over 44,000 people, he fundraises for various organizations supporting the community and advocates through his posts.
5.Zoey Luna (she/her)
Zoey Luna is an activist for transgender youth protection and anti-LGBTQ+ bullying policies. When she was just 13 years old, her school district attempted to expel her because she used the girl’s bathroom. After lodging a complaint with the US Department of Education, she continued to fight for LGBTQ+ rights in the education system. Zoey also starred in an HBO documentary that covered her story at 15.
Check out Zoey on Instagram.
6.Desmond Napoles (they/them/he/him)
Under the stage name Desmond is Amazing, Desmond Napoles is a Gen Z youth advocate and model, and teen drag performance artist. As an outspoken gay teen, Desmond has been able to make a huge impact in the LGBTQ+ space, with over 157K followers on Instagram. They’ve walked runways in New York, launched their own clothing brand, founded online communities for LGBTQ+ youth, and more.
Check out Desmond on Instagram.
7.Sarah Rose Huckman (she/her)
Exclusionary bills from state legislatures and discriminatory attacks against transgender youth continue to grow. But, Sarah Rose Huckman wouldn’t have it. As an athlete and activist, Sarah was a crucial part of changing the policy set by the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association (NHIAA) to require transgender athletes to go through a surgery to be consistent with their gender identity. She was also featured in a documentary about her story after taking down this piece of legislation.
Check out Sarah on Instagram.
How Gen Z is Traveling in a Post-Pandemic World￼
Throwing graduation caps, hugging distant friends, and hitting bucket-list travel destinations are making a comeback. We feel safer, and we’re finally starting to see the world outside of our bedroom walls. More than half of Americans are traveling more in 2022, and we wanted to know how Gen Z would help resurrect the travel industry in a post-COVID-19 world.Read more
In partnership with the Unraveling Travel Webinar and panelists Rob Roche, Area Director of Leisure Sales at Auberge Resorts Collection; Kenan Saleh, Head of Lyft Media at Lyft; and Amelia Schaffner, Founding Director at The Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Emory University, we surveyed The Receipt*, our in-house global research network of over 5,000 young people, to see their hot takes on traveling in 2022. Here is what we learned…
First Things First: Gen Z Travel Priorities
When it comes to making travel plans, Gen Z is price-conscious. With prices rising due to the pandemic (and aftermath) it’s no wonder that most respondents prioritize cost when traveling. Inflation in this sector means 23% of American travelers have canceled their upcoming trips. And if gas prices continue to rise, 58% say they’ll be taking fewer road trips this summer.
Our respondents also claim affordability is the key barrier to staying at a five-star resort. They would rather spend money on activities and food, or have the flexibility to extend their trip in lieu of some luxuries in housing. In addition to the cost, factors like local culture, comfort/luxury, and food also play a role in deciding on where to travel.
As a generation touted for their involvement in mitigating the climate crisis, respondents in our study took a surprising turn with their prioritization of sustainability in the travel sector. 54% ranked sustainability as the least important factor when choosing a travel destination. This gap in values could be attributed to a lack of infrastructure for sustainable purchases in the travel sector or even an ‘off the clock’ mindset that applies to eco-practices as much as it does to Zoom calls.
A Life of Luxury?
Despite Gen Z’s tight grip on their wallet, 50% of respondents said they were “likely” or “very likely” to stay at a 5-star hotel this year.
Gen Z may be willing to invest in a luxurious experience and comfortable stay if they deem it worth the money and experience. But when does this luxury hit a price ceiling?
The key to this investment? Bang for our buck. Respondents said they were most likely to choose a 5-star resort that was all-inclusive (67%) and in a special destination (59%). These findings point to a generation that may be willing to travel to a far destination for a comfortable stay if this means they are able to explore unique cultures to get a worthwhile experience for their money. Experience is the true luxury to our respondents.
Where we’re headed…
Comparing travel before and during the pandemic, Rob Roche, the Area Director of Leisure Sales at Auberge Resorts Collections and Unraveling Travel panelist says it best, ”Because of the pandemic, people weren’t going to go on an airplane and fly somewhere, they were going to go local which is what we call a staycation.”
For the latter part of the pandemic, Gen Z wasn’t flying anywhere, but they were taking at-home or driving distance trips. 56% of respondents said they travel less compared to pre-pandemic.
In a post-pandemic world, Gen Z will do what it takes to get to where they want to be. 59% of respondents said they would be comfortable traveling up to 8 hours to a destination.
It’s hard to say if traveling will ever return to its pre-COVID trends, but that won’t stop Gen Z from continuing to explore the world around us and treating ourselves to a life of luxury.
If you need us, we’ll be ditching our Zoom calls to chase waterfalls.
JUV Consulting is a Gen Z collective that works with companies to create purpose-driven and authentic marketing campaigns that engage young audiences. Contact us at email@example.com if you would like to learn how to reach Gen Z, or sign up for our weekly newsletter, The Screenshot, to get Gen Z insights straight to your inbox.
*Based on a JUV Receipt survey sent in 2021 (“Gen Z on Flying and Choosing Travel Destinations in 2022”: 507 respondents, aged 14 to 24, conducted online in December 2021; average respondent was 18 years old).
A Day in the Life of a Young Black Professional Working Through Sensationalized Trauma
If you’re reading this, you probably went to work on Monday, May 16th, or Tuesday, May 25th.Read more
On Saturday, May 14th, 13 innocent people were killed in the act of domestic terrorism and racially motivated crime in Buffalo, New York. On May 24th, 18 innocent children and teachers were slain at Robb Elementary in a mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
In ten days, we lost 31 innocent due to mass shootings. And we were required to work throughout all of it.
For the last ten years, every summer felt like “open season” on young Black bodies. I was about 11 when George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin. The Sandy Hook Shooting was a few months after my 13th birthday. I was 18, a freshman in college when Parkland happened. Today, I am 22 years old, and I’m the Associate Director of Social Impact at JUV Consulting and watched two mass shootings occur in ten days.
I’m on the older side of Gen-Z, so I’ve graduated high school, undergrad, and finished the first year of my graduate program in the last decade. Yet, I can’t help but think of the thousands of co-workers, classmates, bosses, friends, and community I could’ve had with the people that lost their lives in the last decade of violence and trauma I’ve witnessed.
I say this to illustrate the framework and the lived experiences that shaped this generation’s personal, academic, and professional perspectives. A decade of political unrest, national trauma, and global crises shaped the future of the workforce.
Today, I held a restorative circle at work, a safe place for our community to share the heaviness of our hearts with our staff members. We rallied to cry, curse, and scream our frustrations with being subjugated to witness more senseless violence.
As a young Black professional, Gen-Z is tired of the well-meaning mass emails and messages of support. Tragedies like the ones we’ve seen this month evoke conversations about the intersections of race and mental wellness. While many Black and employees of color are vulnerable to experiencing systemic violence and tragedy, many of us are desensitized to feeling extreme emotions when these situations occur. Not because we are inherently more resilient or unemotional— but because we do not expect our workplace communities to “show up” for us in a way that extends beyond the platitudes sent on the company listserv.
Before clicking send on the email titled “Supporting You During Unprecedented Times,” stop and think, “what does my support look like when times aren’t hard?” We forget humans are attached to the name we read in sensationalized news headlines as a society. Your staff members and co-workers are afraid of being the next names featured in a breaking news headline.
As the future of this country and workforce, we demand that our lives be honored while we are around to see it. We require support and empathy from our jobs. Performance metrics and long-term operational viability mean nothing if no one is left to fill the seats. Support your staff through crises by:
1.Allocating paid mental health days
2.Hosting town-halls and safe spaces led by trained professionals to promote community healing and discussion
3.Providing continuing education programs on social justice and EDIB best practices
4.Creating and accurately funding affinity groups for underrepresented, marginalized communities
5.Upholding and implementing internal and external commitments to advocacy and corporate social responsibility.
These are not perfect solutions to supporting your staff’s emotional needs or stopping the world of violence we live in, but it’s a start. Businesses are the curators of our cultural zeitgeist and milieu. We have an obligation to use our position to promote equitable and sustainable societal changes. Our social responsibility starts in our backyard.
While we continue to work and heal from the world’s chaos, we look to our employers to support us and make us feel valued beyond our labor. The past ten years have shown us that our lives can be taken from us at any minute. While we’re here, we deserve to be celebrated, supported, and met with dignity.
Our lives are worth more than the next trending hashtag.
If Gen Z wrote the rules for the Metaverse…￼
Metaverse, NFT, crypto, metaverse, NFT… you get the picture, it’s all you hear about these days. Heavy on buzzwords, light on detail. But as a nascent phenomenon, it’s not unexpected that the picture isn’t totally painted. As the hype is off the charts, we need to take the time to talk about where the metaverse is really taking us beyond its promise.Read more
The metaverse may chop and change over the coming years but there’s a high probability it’ll be here. Look at Vine, for example, a micro-video blogging site that was popular with younger millennials and Gen Zers – it shut in early 2017. Even after it shut, the demand was there, and the reference to iconic vines and the compilations still reverberated across the internet. Years later, an app by the name of TikTok comes along to fill the gap and has now taken the world by storm. So, even if the Metaverse doesn’t look as it is now, it will grow to become something that we won’t be able to avoid.
What is the metaverse?
Let’s start with what it is: the Metaverse is the name given to the rising web3 phenomenon that will enable humans to connect in the virtual world in a way that web2 doesn’t allow. This will be through virtual spaces that feel realistic and mock the real-world environments we live in – including everyday living and gaming – the latter of which is the way we’re interacting with the metaverse currently.
Bloomberg projects its growth to reach an $800 billion industry size in just two years. Though with projections like these it’s important to remain sceptical, it shows how fast the industry is expected to grow over the coming years. It’s no surprise that Facebook rebranded to Meta and made its sole focus to capitalise on the future of the internet.
What’s Gen Z’s hot take?
Gen Z’s attitudes towards the metaverse are mixed, to say the least. At the moment, the initial instinct is that the metaverse is a plaything of Gen X and older millennials. The barrier to entry for virtual headsets and accessories is currently a luxury as the price tags are high. Without economic barriers taken into consideration in this area, Gen Z will be unlikely to invest in the full experience metaverse.
In a YPulse survey, Gen Zers are more likely than Millennials to say that the metaverse is ‘cool’ and ‘fun’, but on the other hand, they also say it’s ‘scary’ in higher numbers too. We’re definitely not crazy about it, but we are paying attention.
How will the Metaverse change our world?
The Metaverse will change many ways of living. From mental health growth to accessibility needs, how we connect and live our lives will be much different.
The upside is that we will have people participating in society more than they could in the real world. Without sounding too much like a tech mogul, the metaverse will allow us to forgo the boundaries of the physical world to live more. For example, with people that are hard-of-hearing or deaf, interacting in the metaverse without the barriers of reliance on lip reading – they’ll have the option to switch on their subtitles settings that’ll enable them to interact with the world around them in ways they couldn’t imagine. People who are physically disabled, they’ll get to experience the world freely and alongside others. Accessibility and equality are big on Gen Z’s agenda, it’s definitely something we’ll get behind, but only if that’s made a priority in the new world.
While we are excited about the metaverse, we still crave the feeling of being present with others. Two years of being without social interactions, we cherish it even more and forget those hybrid style meet-ups, we need physical communication! Being native to the internet and seeing its effects on ourselves and others, we know how too much internet can be bad for our mental health.
The metaverse is full of excitement and thrill, not least from Gen Zers. It may or may not transform the way we live, eat, work and socialise, but we’re hoping that it’s done with the productive and positive elements – economic, emotional and physical accessibility – in mind rather than the tunnel vision priorities of capital and profit-making.
My Silly Little Apartment & the Philosophy of Home
In middle school, I started thrifting not only due to finances but as an emotional outlet—cut to now, I’m scouring Zillow in my free time to look at apartments I simply cannot afford. I guess you could call it…growth?Read more
I grew up privileged that my parents were always able to cover my essentials (food, clothing, housing, etc), but a distinct shift in my mentality surrounding housing & finances occurred in my 10-year-old brain after my family’s house foreclosed: it was a jarring confrontation with an increasing reality that many Gen Zers (at least 75% of them) have simply grown up with – in the words of Kim Kardashian, “Nobody wants to work these days.”
Contrary to Kim’s tone-deaf take, it turns out individuals can be working as hard as they are able and family finances will still not be endless; that money will, in fact, make life a helluva lot easier; & the people telling you that money cannot make you happy seem suspiciously unwilling to get rid of their own. But I digress…
Fast forward 14 years, including working through my own reckless-spending phase to overcompensate for how tightly my parents held their finances post-2008, and I’ve now moved into my second Brooklyn apartment since relocating from sunny LA. I’ve lived in a variety of settings, from dorm rooms with sweet & horrendous roommates to moving back in with my parents (mid-pandemic), to living with friends (successfully & unsuccessfully), as well as more co-habitation with nice people who remained just roommates. It’s also worth noting that having a roommate as a Gen Zer is not going away any time soon, due to steep rent increases nationwide. Combine that with a plethora of jobs & living in two of the more expensive areas in the world; suffice it to say that I have cultivated a better idea of what my dream living situation looks like, but also understand the obstacles of achieving that in today’s world as a twenty-four-year-old Gen Zer who studied theatre in college.
Here are a few tidbits I’ve gathered on how I create a home for myself.
The first – and I cannot stress this enough – @stooping. I quickly learned that when it came to investing in a space I love, all hope was not lost for me – mainly because my new apartment is almost exclusively furnished by what’s been left out on NYC streets, free for the taking. The luxury is in mentally repurposing the scratches on my authentic mid-century desk to be part of the grain design. You will never, I repeat, never catch me buying furniture brand-new in this city, because I am already on the M train on my way to snatch your $150 West Elm ottoman that you bought 12 months ago, for free.
The second tidbit is more heartwarming & embarrassingly cliche, but I stand by harmless cliches as pillars of truth in our nation: I have started investing in my space being beautiful not just for visitors, but for myself. Along with 52% of my peers, I find myself staying at home more than ever since the pandemic. Of the many things COVID taught me: if I’m going to be stuck indoors in my own space again, I want it to be a space that I love. And, even though pandemic measures continue to loosen where I live, working from home is the norm now – I really see a difference working from a space that I have taken the time to fill with colors and knick-knacks that mean something to me. I’ve positioned my desk simply so I can watch the clouds go by as I work. It also means taking 15 minutes, every day, to keep it clean, just for me! Little pieces of investment all add up over time to color your space a more pleasant, cozy, and inviting space to enjoy life.
Finally, the past two years have solidified that home is as much a physical space as it is an ever-evolving magnifier to the experience and belonging of those around me. World events, like the Ukrainian Crisis, highlight my ignorance and privilege – that I can ponder from the comfort of my un-bombed room how a community can be ripped from me in a flash, and the places I hold dear so easily taken for granted. The privilege of having a home should emphasize in my personal scope the overwhelming reality of so many unhoused individuals in my very own city.
While my parents’ dream was to buy a home, mine looks a lot more like simply enjoying my life for however long I have it and putting back good into the world, in any avenue or path I take. I think part of being a Gen Zer is the keen knowledge of wanting to soak up your life for what it is while also recognizing the desperate need for inclusion and tangible engagement from every individual; to make our world a space that can feel like home for all, rather than some.
The 90’s Called – The Resurgence of Y2K
As society attempts to progress in the wake of a pandemic, fashion is looking back. From upcycling runway pieces to the 2022 Met Gala theme historically reflecting on “the Gilded Age”, these days, nostalgia is anything but outdated.Read more
The grip of Y2K aesthetic specifically in Gen Z wardrobes is a strong and steady one that seems to only be gaining steam as summer promises an abundance of chunky sandals, low-rise pants and Olivia Rodrigo-approved tank tops. It’s arguable that, with an age range of 10 to 25 years old, the pandemic hit Gen Z at the most impactful and formative life stages of any generation at the time. I was 21 when the world shut down – I watched as all my friends’ college graduations became a distant dream and post-grad life an even more confusing experience. It’s only natural that our wardrobes would start to reflect such a jarring shift. Fashion recycling itself is nothing new – but Gen Z resurrecting Y2K indicates in a striking way my generation’s ability to contribute revitalizing perspectives to often outdated narratives.
In the past year I have seen firsthand how societal narratives are the bread and butter of trends. If you were on the same side of TikTok as me back in 2020, you learned that the uptick in zombie and fantasy movies post-2020 is the subconscious outgrowth of filmmakers and audiences processing the past two years of dystopian trauma. Similarly, Y2K fashion exhibits the characteristics of a generation that has lost a lot and in many ways has nothing left to lose. I have always had an unironic passion for fashion – but probably my favorite thing about Gen Z & Y2K fashion joining forces is how Gen Z manages to address harmful, traumatic stereotypes that perpetuated fashion long before Y2K. But if I’m gonna tell you how Gen Z is saving fashion from itself, it’s important that we talk about Y2K fashion at its core – and why it represents in a significant way where Gen Z is at today.
Y2K fashion embodies sexual liberation – harkening back to the 1920’s – where clothing silhouettes were created in direct opposition of the societal norms expected of women at the time. In the 1920s, corset-defying flapper silhouettes exploded; in the 2000s, the minimalistic, 50s-esque silhouettes of the 90s were replaced with colorful, loud pop-star it-girl looks of Destiny’s Child or Christina Aguilera. It’s also worth noting the historic erasure of Y2K trailblazing from Black artists like Aaliyah or groups like Destiny’s Child, & the credit that often goes to Britney Spears or Paris Hilton for looks that they did not originate. Y2K fashion is about extremes and juxtapositions of feminine with masculine tropes – the popularization of an edgier brand like Ed Hardy monopolizing skin-tight tank tops and low-rise flare jeans is a perfect example.
Unfortunately, nonconsensual hypersexualistion & body shaming was rampant in this era (not that it wasn’t in eras before or after, but it stands in history that whenever a female-identifying individual is comfortable showing their skin – men have found a way to make it about themselves.), especially in film. While the 2000s was the golden age of some of our favorite rom coms (think Maid in Manhattan, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Brown Sugar), it was also an archival goldmine of body-shaming, racist, fatphobic, and misogynistic ideals that specifically undermined and invalidated sexual liberation and social progress of women at the time. It was the culmination of all the years that Hollywood has subjugated women and erased non-white people from their stories, and is responsible for much of the trauma and toxicity that Gen Z is working to unlearn today.
Fast forward to present day – if the Y2K era was so traumatic, why is Gen Z embracing its clothing in hoards? The answer is simple – nostalgia is healing. Y2K marries nostalgia with self-expression, two things in high priority for Gen Z. In fact, Gen Z’s investment in emotional literacy is often described to their discredit, as if processing your feelings isn’t one of the best things you can do for your mind and body. But many psychologists would argue that allowing your emotions is a great trait to possess – with lifelong health benefits. Given the last few years, it may very well be a critical factor to personal success in the years to come as Gen Zers work through COVID trauma. And if there’s one thing that Gen Z is going to do, it’s express themselves. It’s giving, “wearing your heart on your sleeve”—literally.
COVID changed everything – including our wardrobes. It reminded us that life is too short to not wear what we want. When I talk to my friends about our hopes for life post-COVID, so often it is just to enjoy ourselves now – to make the most of the time we have. Y2K aesthetically embodies that shift in culture, “something akin to sartorial redemption through the lense of women’s empowerment,” according to the Zoe Report. It’s a return to our childhoods – reliving some of our best and comfiest memories – think Juicy Couture sweatsuits. It’s a reclaiming of our bodies – what we didn’t have the confidence to wear in childhood or were shamed out of wearing. It’s living in the moment – who can forget the eccentric Y2K night and party looks. When it comes to nostalgic trends, no one is doing it like Gen Z. And if we are talking trend predictions…can you guess the cultural reset that Gen Z has already begun resurrecting to make its bloody return? It’s only Twilight!
Gen Z has taken the best aspects of Y2K fashion and puts in the work to leave outdated gender binaries and objectification in the past. Gen Z understands that Y2K fashion can be for all bodies, not just a select few. Gen Z embraces nostalgia as a place of comfort and safety in a return to childhood and self-expression. In 2022, Y2K fashion has given us the chance to be the main character in our very own rom com—but this time, we’re learning to love ourselves.
Gen Z Company’s Wild Work Calendar Hailed Online: ‘Dumb B**** Focus Time’
Newsweek – A Gen Z company is causing a stir after its work calendar was shared online, revealing hilariously named meetings, including “dumb b**** focus time.”Read more
A video shared to TikTok from a New York-based firm called JUV Consulting has amassed more than 1 million views after being posted earlier this month.
The clip, shared to @juvconsulting, was captained: “Chaotic is an understatement to describe my coworkers calendars.”
The on-screen caption says “what a Gen Z agency team calendar looks like,” as a man films various entries, including “pls let me grab a coffee” penciled in for 10.30am. “Skinny lunch break” takes from 12-1pm, while one person ensured they weren’t disturbed by scheduling in “don’t even think ab it: I’m clocked TF out.”
One music fan made time for “mid-day Megan Thee Stallion break,” and one person begrudgingly wrote “scheduling this 1:1 bc I have to,” and another employee put in the calendar “self care time.”
The clip has gone down a storm online, with a follow-up shared to TikTok last week.
The part 2 included more unique meetings and entries, including “sorry @ the Revolve Festival,” and a “weekly gossip sesh,” a “chicken coop call,” and someone else simply wrote “you know the drill, DONT TXT.”
And some co-workers made time for “bestie dinner bc I love you and we are best friends.”
Rachel Clark, associate director of social media, and director of brand, Kennedy Daniel, told Newsweek: “The funny meeting titles became an outlet for us to joke with one another while also getting work done. We definitely don’t like to take ourselves too seriously and sometimes scheduling [Megan Thee Stallion] dance breaks is the way to make sure of that!
“While not everyone does their scheduling like this, this kind of openness is encouraged so we can schedule meetings when people can truly be present and engaged rather than be thinking about how they should have grabbed a coffee beforehand.
“A personal fave around here would definitely be the first one that kicked off these kinds of funny titles, “spa day at the virtual office bc capitalism is stressful.” In the meeting, we literally showed up with face masks to use while we went through the agenda items.
“The tldr [too long; didn’t read] of it is; the way Gen Z looks for and engages with jobs has changed—and the business world is a lil spooked by it. Having kombucha on-tap and overanalyzing Euphoria in the break room will only go so far in engaging Gen Z employees—we actually want to be aligned with the work we do and that the company as a whole does.
“With Gen Z soon to be a significant part of the workforce, brands really need to ask themselves how they can tackle the effects of ‘The Great Resignation.'”
Numerous people commented on their most-viral video, praising the work atmosphere, as Kitty joked: “At least they’re honest.”
Your exBestie commented: “I just started working at a company like this and I’m obsessed. It’s honest and makes me feel less trapped at my desk.
Bestie dinner bc I love you and we are best friends.”JUV Consulting
Laura Nelson admitted: “I do this and I’m a millennial. Just out here trying to make corporate life fun.”
S8insDouche asked: “Question.. as a millennial… how do y’all not get fired? or yelled at?”
Harold raved: “I love them so much. I feel like Gen Z just inherited Gen X energy and then made it 10000x better.”
Dr. Kristen Casey noted: “I love these work life boundaries.”
And Lea added: “Can corporate life be like that all the time pls.”
JUV Consulting explained more about their brand on their website, saying they are: “A Gen Z community working with clients to center the voices of diverse young people.”
The start-up was created by teenagers, as the site went on to say: “We were founded by three 16-year-olds in 2016 who found themselves in rooms with politicians, leaders, and ‘youth experts’ who were constantly talking about how to engage Generation Z without actually talking to us.”
Gen Z refers to people born after 1997, with the Pew Research Center defining those born 1981 and 1996 as millennials, anyone born between 1965 and 1980 as Gen X, and baby boomers as those born between 1946 and 1964.
The latest defined generation is now part of the workforce, with research on company culture, from website Great Place to Work, revealing the cohort to be more discerning when it comes to their employers.
The site collated responses from more than 32,000 Gen Zers from 350 companies across the U.S.
They said: “In our survey results, Gen Z returned lower marks for their employers than any other generation and were more likely to intend to leave.
“They’re also more discerning than other generations when it comes to finding a sense of purpose in their work, with an 8-point drop from other generations for the statement, ‘My work has special meaning.'”
Update 4/29/22, 5:36 a.m. ET: This article was updated with comment, video and photos from JUV Consulting. The headline was also modified.
The best 2022 Gen Z marketing campaigns so far – and what you can learn from them!
As we know, Gen Z is the largest consumer segment in the world, totalling 68 million people just in America. Consequently, brands have been repositioning their content to match Gen Z needs. For years, brands in the marketing industry have been workshopping and trying new strategies to figure out what works because the reality is traditional marketing isn’t it anymore.Read more
As Rolling Stone puts it, “In order to establish meaningful connections, brands need to have an even deeper understanding of how their target audience uses each platform than ever before.” That means figuring out influencers, how to talk to Gen Z, how to get creative with content strategy, and how to communicate with transparency and personalization.
So, who did it right so far? In the first quarter of 2022, we’ve noticed a handful of campaigns and strategies particularly compelling. Here are our favorites here at JUV and what we can learn from them!
Wendy’s on Twitter
What did they do?
Anyone following brands on Twitter knows Wendy’s sarcastic, comical voice is one to love. They tweet constantly, hour by hour, and respond to users with witty remarks. Recently, they also tweeted several posts that relate to Meta and Oculus- one with Wendy, their mascot, wearing the Oculus headset, and another about “Wendyverse.”
Brand voice is everything. Wendy’s develops a comical brand voice that Gen Z adore and vibe with, as the generation itself is very focused on memes and satirical content. In addition to this, these references and cross collabs with popular brands, such as Meta, that are already deeply connected with Gen Z are great ways to tap into the Gen Z market as well.
Netflix & Tik Tok
What did they do?
Another brand that took to Tik Tok to expand its market was Netflix. The brand posts comical content and repurposes some of the entertainment that they already have to create relatable quick bites of content. They also have had interactive games, such as “Guess the Netflix Show,” and other memes.
Netflix got the memes part of TikTok right. Their content is funny and relatable, which Gen Zers adore. They follow trends on time, such as the cake vs. real trend, and produce content that is timely. Once Bridgerton released its new season this year, they released a whole host of tik toks to go along with it, which captured millions into their audience.
Lululemon Ambassadors & Microinfluencers with blissfeel
What did they do?
Lululemon leveraged ambassadors and micro influencers on Instagram to create reels and other content. They also launched #blissfeel, along with their new running shoe meant for “sustainable, injury free running.” The shoe was also focused on putting women first.
This brand was able to tap into the Gen Z market primarily through microinfluencers. Gen Z loves seeing smaller influencers that they trust on a more personal level wear these products, and will feel more enticed to buy them. By creating reels, Lululemon also automatically reaches more Gen Zers as much of this consumer segment enjoys short form video. The fact that the product itself was made in order to put women first is also a win for Gen Z, as the consumers deeply care about social justice and impact.
Dunkin Donuts x Elf
Dunkin’ Donuts and e.l.f Cosmetics recently launched a joint makeup collection inspired by coffees and donuts. This uncommon brand collaboration led to a lot of media coverage, which was great to increase reach into the Gen Z consumer segment. The partnership with the popular brand was a great way to connect and entice Gen Z to not only buy the e.l.f products, but also served as a reminder that Dunkin’ was there to serve coffee whenever they needed.
Generation Z is continually growing and changing, and as their likes and preferences change, brands must learn how to adapt to them. Brands have done well, and others have struggled, but a common agreement is that formulating marketing efforts around Gen Z wants and needs, focused on authenticity, honesty, transparency, diversity, and sustainability, is a strategy that needs to be implemented across all brands going into the future.
How Brands Should (Authentically) Engage with Pride
June is here, which means queer folks are preparing themselves for what is to come in Pride Month. (And no, I’m not talking about upping their workout routines for that #SummerBod.) Every year, hordes of major brands, everything from Target to high price-tag luxury brands like Gucci will throw their hats in the ring for the queer (and straight) dollar—releasing collections, initiatives, and statements about how much they love and support queer people. However, in my opinion, the queer community is failed time and time again by brands who inauthentically attempt to engage with us during this month.Read more
What does Pride Month inauthenticity look like?
From throwing rainbows, #YasQueen, or “Ally” on everything from accessories to even dog sweaters, queer Gen Zers like myself would rather start off a conversation this month with how companies internally treat queer employees. Is corporate allowing policies, associates, or their partners to actively disempower those whose wallets they are supposedly targeting? Is there queer leadership present in their Pride representation?
Don’t get me wrong—do I have multiple pairs of previous Pride collection shoes, a windbreaker, and even a few t-shirts sitting in my closet right now? You bet I do! But when it seems like brands don’t actually care about the queer community, inclusion, or equity for all, releasing Pride collections, statements, or even partnerships is not only tone-deaf, but actively harmful.
We are being tricked into the story of rainbow capitalism, being sold “we love you and support you”, when in boardrooms and shareholder meetings, that is not the discussion whatsoever. And Gen Z is more than ready to call out rainbow-washing.
I’m sorry, but who thought it would be a good idea for a company like Capital One to throw rainbows on their bank windows this year when the banking and lending industries still actively discriminate against queer people?
How can companies authentically show up for the queer community?
I would personally love to see a company that spent millions of dollars to sponsor a Pride march float and get their employees merch redirect and redistribute that money. Whether it went to LGBTQIAP+ community centers, HIV/AIDS testing support, or queer housing initiatives for LGBTQIAP+ youth, who make up almost half of all homeless youth, it would be money better spent. Or, if they were so set on releasing a Pride month collection, why not donate a major portion of those proceeds back to the communities they’re profiting from while also ensuring queer representation in everything from high level decision making to marketing? This is not even step one.
Brands and companies, before they commit to any external work, need to clean up their acts in-house. How do they handle discrimination against their queer employees? Do they partner with other corporations that haven’t cleaned up their shops? What does support look like for “non-traditional” parental leave, whether adoption or surrogacy? Do they even ask associates to include their pronouns in email signatures? It is small things like this that matter a hell of a lot more to queer people than being able to buy a backpack with a rainbow on it.
What does the future of the queer community look like?
These demands are not going anywhere. With 1 in 6 Gen Z adults identifying under the queer umbrella, it is not long before these ideas will enter the mainstream (which, in some part, they already have). I do not think it is radical to ask for companies and brands to put their money or their policies where their mouth is – because some brands already have, and are even founded upon these principles. The PHLUID Project, a genderless fashion brand, partnered with us to launch the #QueerAnd campaign, where we were able to uplift diverse, queer, young people’s voices in an actually authentic and impactful way for the world to see. It is never too late to learn about and pay homage to Pride’s roots, in celebrating intersectionality, direct action, and abolition.
So, for all you shoppers out there this month, I ask you: please be intentional, do your research, and be an active ally. It’s unrealistic for me (and for all of us) to think that we should never splurge on that cute tank top we need for Hot They/Them Summer. But, if we support brands and companies that have a record of caring for the queer community authentically, we can show brands that don’t that equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDI&B) are not just preferences when we are selecting brands that will get our coin, they are necessities.