The current hip generation, those quick-witted millennials, continue to drive less (46.3% of teenagers under 19 had licenses in 2008, compared to 64.4% in 1998), and car companies are justifiably concerned. How do you reengage an entire generation reliant on digitization for connectivity and convince them that cars are hipper than fixed-speed bikes and skateboards?
Hint: You employ a company that produces nauseatingly addictive reality shows and loosely rhymes with ADD.
MTV MTV MTV!
Not only does MTV produce and air content that becomes culture on its own, but they have a business unit that consults with brands about connecting with their consumers. MTV Scratch figures out ways for pokey old, lame companies to connect with millennials. And Scratch is trying to solve this problem for corporate General Motors.
The New York Times reports about the various strategies Spark has suggested for GM to hip itself, starting with changing the culture of the mega-company.
Last summer the GM lobby was temporarily transformed into a loft-like space, and a persona board now hangs in the color and trim lab (the place where car colors are decided). These are small things, but evidence of cracks in that old old old foundation are starting to show; the Chevy Spark will be available in techno pink, lemonade and denim this summer.
The millennials might be on to something deeper, though. A Scratch executive pointed out how the generation considers a car a huge bummer:
“Think about your dashboard. It’s filled with nothing but bad news.”
It’s true, no?
Obviously GM will have to take Spark’s suggestions with a fair amount of skepticism because cars do have to be safe, but it’s interesting just where this consultation leads GM.
(Hopefully not employing anyone from Jersey Shore as a spokesperson.)
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[photo by maxiadrian]