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They’re barely out of their teens and already advertisers are salivating at their numbers


Generation Z. GenWii. The Homeland Generation. Plurals. Post-Millennials. Tweennials. Digitarians. They’re the Next Big Retail Disruption. They’re barely out of their teens and already advertisers are salivating at their numbers (more than 80 million) and their earning potential (more than 2 billion). Their boots are barely on the ground and they’re already bringing up the rear in the never-ending march of generations. At the front are the Baby Boomers, heads held high, bolstered by the final gurgle of the largest wave of sustained economic growth in history, hiding their faces at the thought that their grandiose attempts to save the world were nothing more than ripples. Close behind them are Generation X. The cynics. The jaded. The limited. The Watergate Generation. Then, the endlessly-dissected Millennials, born during the halcyon days of the 80s and 90s, growing soft in a time of peace and economic prosperity that was then shattered by year after year of terrorist attacks and financial crises and corporate malfeasance. 80 million people growing up attached to their parents’ teat, narcissists raised by narcissists, innocents without innocence.

They are the digital brood, using smartphones in the womb. They have the world at their fingertips and they’ve seen it all: sex, violence, global conflict; The Great Recession; The War on Terror and The War on Drugs. They’re concerned about the future and the world they’ve been left. They’re Snapchat with a social conscience. They’re the era of 11-year-old activists and 17-year-old organizers, concerned about everything from the environment to LBGT rights, to feminism and slut-shaming. They’re a generation using the egalitarian platform of the Internet to explore global issues, raise funds, raise awareness, make charitable donations. They outnumber the Boomers and the Millennials. They’re the most informed generation in history. They have access to greater tools for organization and dissemination than any group before them. They’re mature and yet dismissive. Their attention-spans are short and their passion boundless. They wear seat-belts and kick down doors. They’re multicultural entrepreneurs. They use tech and innovation, use the system to change the system. They want endless customization and mobile work environments. They don’t want a brand. THEY ARE THE BRAND – their experiences, their clothes, their check-ins and selfies and online shopping and instant communication. On them is the weight of the world and our past blunders. On them is the onus to fight climate change and corporate stupidity. On them is the task of creating a viable and sustainable future. On them is the need to fight an increasingly globalized marketplace with globalized activism. To combat the billboards and Native Ads and Clickbait with Blackspots and Netbombs and hacking the mainframe of consumer indifference.

Jesse Donaldson

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