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NextGen is dreaming of a better world

Apr 26, 2017 Future Talkers
gender equality, GenY, GenZ, infographic, NextGen

Let’s be honest: in today’s rapidly changing polarized political climate, we do hope that a new young generation of leaders will soon step up to decide which direction the world is heading in, before it’s too late.

As this young generation is dreaming of creating a better society and a better planet, one of the questions we asked in our global cross-generational study was: Are you in favor of gender equality? When looking into the details, we notice it’s actually Gen Z, the youngest, aged 6 to 20, who are most in favor of gender equality.
Blurring genders: Today’s kids and teens are growing up in a society where blurring of genders is the new normal, even at a very young age. Think of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s first biological daughter, Shiloh. Her parents have decided to call her John because Shiloh has been feeling more like a boy than a girl since the early age of 3. Miley Cyrus is another good example of a popular Gen Z celebrity who disagrees with the binary predefinition of genders. She openly declares she doesn’t feel like either girl or boy. To her it’s a fluid mental state that can change every day. Miley actively endorses LGBT rights with her Happy Hippie Foundation.


So how do we translate this to other industries? The classic Disney fairytale narrative with typical role patterns (a girl cleaning the house or preparing meals for little people until a prince comes along on a white horse, they kiss and marry…) has been adapted completely to concurrent Gen Z desires. In 2009, Disney made The Princess and The Frog, with Tiana as a female lead character. In 2010 there was Rapunzel, again a female lead character. In 2013, the most successful Disney franchise and movie ever, Frozen, was launched, with 2 sisters Anna and Elsa, a story about sisterhood and female bonding. There was also Brave with Merida and there will be a Frozen II of course. So it’s clear that Disney understands that in today’s society, female empowerment and strong female characters are the new way of connecting with the youngest generation.
Mattel launched a new line of dolls using the theme of Super Hero Girls, together with DC Comics and Warner Brothers. And AdAge recently reported on how the toy industry is breaking gender barriers even with a transgender Jazz doll based on the popular TLC show of the 16-year-old transgender Jazz Jennings.

Other environment issues that NextGen are worried about are topped by these 2: terrorism and the economic crisis. The latter is less of a concern to Gen Z than to other generations as most of them are not confronted with employment issues yet. But Gen Z does really stand out when it comes to health issues, racism and underdevelopment in Third World countries.


In the IT industry even, Dell recently announced their Ocean Plastics packaging (100% recycled plastics, 25% from oceans), together with Social Good Advocate, actor and activist Adrian Grenier. They are creating the first commercial-scale global ocean plastics supply chain, processing plastics collected from beaches, waterways and coastal areas and using them globally as part of a new packaging system for the XPS 13 2-in-1 laptop. This initial pilot project will start by recycling 16,000 pounds of plastics from the ocean.


A last trend related to this dreaming of a better world is enoughism. NextGen, who feels they have enough material stuff and are fed up with consuming all the time, are clearly sensitive to sharing economy initiatives such as Airbnb. Every binge behavior, such as binge drinking, sporting, texting, watching… will at some point lead to an enoughism attitude and de-toxing, de-teching, de-binging. After the launch of Sober, a nightclub in Stockholm that was not selling any alcohol, breakfast and lunch Daybreaker raves were popping up in New York and other cool cities across the globe. Millennials were suddenly enjoying a healthy breakfast and partying together, without any drugs nor alcohol. Apart from Drynuary, Facebook today is loaded with all kinds of health challenges: 40 days without meat, 30 days without using my car, 40 days without using shampoo…

In conclusion, NextGen is expecting brands and marketers to help them live better and healthier lives with less waste and a more balanced lifestyle. 7 out of 10 Millennials expect brands and companies to help them to do something back for society.

Originally posted by How Cool Brands Stay Hot