In the face of the huge risks and uncertainties of the epidemic, young people of Generation Z will choose to treat serious issues or public affairs with an entertaining attitude. In fact, what this reflects is that they want to be able to control their lives and show the truth. Another self, as well as eliminating anxiety and boredom. So brands also need to deconstruct these real Gen Z thoughts to actually deliver value in a way they love.
- Generation Z looks at some issues in an entertaining way, such as using MBTI to explore inwardly and repeatedly self-affirmation. New consumer brands are already behind this entertainment mentality, helping Generation Z control aesthetics and health in a relaxed way. to provide continued value
- For Gen Z, glossy content is still attractive, but stories that don't shy away from the negative and show that they have accepted the cruelty of life and can still laugh at life are more empathetic to them, according to Mintel's survey that more than 63% of consumers aged 18-29 are more willing to pay a premium for a brand that can express themselves
- Deconstructing news and rumors in a humorous way is the way for Generation Z to eliminate the anxiety and boredom brought about by the epidemic and regain their mental health. If the brand can bring them a happy experience at this time, it will be a good response.
Amusing ourselves to death is a work published in 1985 by American media culture researcher and critic Neil Postman about the process of television audio and video gradually replacing written language, and it is also his "media criticism". One of the Trilogy". It mainly criticized the phenomenon that in the age of television media, all public discourse appeared in the form of entertainment, which led to the transformation of public discourse power from rational logic to superficial fragmentation.
Although there are still many people today who use "entertainment to death" to criticize the attitude of young people facing public affairs in the face of Generation Z and emerging media channels, amid the uncertainty and huge risks in the era of the epidemic, entertainment The way of entertainment seems to play a more positive role in the lives of young people. From this phenomenon, brands should also gain insight into the real needs of Generation Z behind the phenomenon of entertainment, and re-examine how to communicate with them.
1. Entertaining serious issues, just to regain a sense of control over life
Beginning in early 2022, the invasion of Omicron has brought many places in China back to the epidemic moment in early 2020. Young people's original expectations for a good life have been broken. For a long time, multi-city isolation and travel restrictions under the influence of the epidemic have forced Gen Z consumers to spend more time with themselves, and have begun to actively or passively examine the relationship between themselves and their lives. . MBTI has become a new tool for them to explore inwardly and understand themselves.
MBTI, which originated from Jungian psychology, as a personality test tool, is no longer an unfamiliar word to Chinese consumers.
However, at the beginning of 2022, when Gu Ailing was interviewed by the media and claimed that his personality type was INTJ (architectural personality, one of the 16 types of MBTI), MBTI began to replace the constellation and became a big one among the younger generation of consumers. hot topic. Overnight, a lot of topics and accounts about MBTI emerged on Weibo, Douyin, and Douban. Gen Z uses new tools to learn about themselves and to proactively label themselves.
But unlike in the past, Gen Z doesn’t just stop at testing and understanding the characteristics of personality types. They began to apply the framework of MBTI to analyze all aspects of personal behavior, and even all aspects of life, and it became "everything can be MBTI" for a while. This serious personality tool has become an entertainment tool for measuring all life behaviors and social phenomena.
For example, analyze the performance of different personality types after a party and take a seat:
For another example, analyze the characters in film and television literature:
Even, analyze the mode of love and friendship, use this as a social topic, and find similar people in the social circle:
In these behaviors, consumers of Generation Z are not only using MBTI to explore inwardly, understand themselves, and carry out repeated self-confirmation, but also through the entertainment of personality testing tools when facing the external environment of huge uncertainty and risk Use and analyze the life and social phenomena around you to regain a sense of control over your life.
Brand Inspiration: Helping Gen Z regain life certainty with ease
It can be seen that Generation Z looks at some issues in an entertaining way, but it is because in the face of uncertainty, there is a desire to regain control of life and the need to find a sense of certainty. DT Finance's "Report on the Impact of the Epidemic on Young People" 4 also clearly pointed out this point: the post-95s and post-00s, as the Internet generation, have obtained a large amount of news and information through the Internet, including changing numbers and a lot of negative news. and untrue rumors. All of these are easy to cause "political depression" - always concerned about the dynamics, figures, people suffering in public events, and at the same time because of their own insignificance and a huge sense of emptiness, loss of sense of security, and loss of support for A sense of control over fate.
To this end, many new consumer brands are already targeting the real needs behind this entertainment, providing partial answers to Gen Z consumers through brand upgrades or product innovations. 0-calorie and 0-sugar beverages, as well as food such as Hei Qiao and Ou Bao, help them regain control of their weight and health; Neihui and Proya have helped them regain control of their aesthetics through years of voices on equality issues.
In the future, only brands that know how to help young people take control of their lives and regain the certainty of life in an easy way will have the opportunity to bring them lasting value.
2. "Real" variety shows are popular, and Generation Z wants to find "other me"
Mintel's "Consumption Willingness in the Second Half of 2021" report5 shows that since 2021, consumers' long-term confidence in the future has returned to before the epidemic. However, with the large-scale outbreak of the epidemic in 2022, all walks of life are generally affected. The Douban topic "What impact does the epidemic have on your industry or work?" became popular again, and consumers shared the negative impact of various epidemics on their work or industry under the topic.
At the same time, pessimistic expectations of the external economic situation are also affecting Gen Z consumers. They who originally claimed to be "Unjuanable" and "Buddha lying flat" began to accept the real life of ordinary people earlier.
They have shifted from yearning for first-tier cities to realizing simple beauty based on the present:
From being forced to return home, to full of hope for domestic life:
In such an atmosphere, the variety show in April ushered in a top-ranking reality show "Welcome to the Mushroom House", with a score of 8.9 on Douban (now 8.5), and reached the top of Douban within a week "One Week Domestic Word of Mouth Variety List". Several Weibo topics, such as #welcome to the mushroom house is the poorest variety show group# # was laughed to death by the song-guessing game of fast men in 2007 # , all caused a very high amount of discussion8 .
As a derivative variety show with a relatively low production cost, "Welcome to the Mushroom House" invited 6 of the 2007 class of happy boys as flying guests to experience the rural life. They used to be the well-deserved top class back then, but they are submerged in the "little fresh meat" from generation to generation in today's entertainment circle.
But it is precisely these older "little transparents" in the entertainment industry who have contributed what Generation Z wants most: authenticity. Compared with "Longing for Life", which is also a slow variety show, which was criticized for "serious script marks", "Welcome to the Mushroom House" does not have too many script marks. What makes people laugh is the sincere and natural interaction between several guests. 9 .
Several "fast men" made fun of each other for "re-employment", and even formed a "happy re-employment" WeChat group.
They unabashedly show the embarrassment of their life and career as a fool in the show, just as the media "entertainment unicorn" commented: "There is a stick to the original intention, a sigh of life, and a little bit of ending. Difficulties in life and career.” This kind of truth precisely reflects the current state of mind of Generation Z consumers – we don’t just want to see high-ranking idols, and we don’t just want to see stars selling badly, we want to see the former top class actually It is another me in the world ("the other me"), and I also have to face the setbacks of life.
Glossy content remains attractive to Gen Z consumers, but real-life content resonates with them more than ever . Compared with the inspirational effect of simply fighting chicken blood, in the face of the uncertain environment brought about by the epidemic, the story of suffering setbacks, accepting the cruelty of life and still laughing at life makes young people feel more empathy. , this is the real life of Gen Z.
Brand Inspiration: Responding to Gen Z's Emotional Appeals with Authentic Content
According to Mintel's "Consumption Willingness in the Second Half of 2021" 13 , more than 63% of consumers aged 18-29 are more willing to pay a premium for brands that can express themselves.
In the past, brands always wanted to avoid all negative energy, negative images, and avoid negative content. But today, if a brand wants to become the "brand that shows itself" that young people expect, it can't just show "the bright side that young people yearn for", what the brand needs to do is to truly stand in the perspective of the Z generation and show its appreciation for Z. Deep understanding of the real life of the generation, not avoiding their negative emotions in life, but producing content based on real life and growing together with them. After facing the real negative, respond to the emotional demands of young people with optimism and positive emotions . This is the key for brands to win the hearts of young consumers for a long time in the future. Just like the variety show "Welcome to the Mushroom House", "Cheaters are not ashamed to talk about the frustrations of life. More importantly, they know how to ridicule and laugh at themselves, and maintain hope for the future in such self-deprecation." 14
3. Actively deconstruct negative information in a humorous and entertaining way
According to DT Finance's "Youth Epidemic Impact Report" 15 , the general emotions of young people under the epidemic are anxiety and boredom.
Therefore, eliminating negative emotions such as anxiety and boredom has become an important part of young people's recovery of mental health. Psychological consultation hotlines, public accounts for popular science of psychology, etc., have become their means of seeking help. And in the process, they also developed a humorous and ironic way.
In "Travel in the Post-epidemic Era" on the Douban Topics Hot List, Gen Z consumers have used their imaginations to construct various creative travel methods: travel in the room, travel on campus, travel in the brain ...
At the same time, a phenomenon of "pretending to travel in the circle of friends during the epidemic" has emerged in WeChat. Young consumers pretend to travel around the world through humorous imagination.
In this April, in Shanghai under lockdown, all news or rumors can be deconstructed in a humorous way. It seems that young consumers can only resolve the anxiety and boredom brought about by the epidemic through humorous methods.
In terms of brand communication, DingTalk is a good player who is good at resolving negative emotions with humor. As an online office software that is resented by both the student party and migrant workers, Dingding also brought a brand new "Online Begging 2.0 Version" this April. Like version 1.0, which asked elementary school students to rate and show mercy online, version 2.0 brought a Do Not Disturb function for migrant workers, and it even used the same ghost video to beg for mercy 18 .
Brand Inspiration: Focus on current anxiety and use happy experience to eliminate the negative emotions of Generation Z
Although Gen Z consumers are faced with very serious anxiety and negative emotions, this just makes them start to focus on the present from a distance, and start to try to deconstruct phenomena and eliminate negative emotions in a humorous way. When brands face the negative emotions of consumers, whether it is negative emotions about life or brands, it is a good way to bring them a happy experience. Just like the image of the working deer created by Ruixing, it has won the favor of many users with its humorous and self-deprecating image. As Kamengong said in the article: "In the eyes of users, the working deer has always been the image of the 'silly son of the landlord's family', which can also be seen from the attitude of netizens to apologise for Ruixing's refund. Someone is under the apology post . Such a comment, 'I watched the unlucky child of Ruixing grow up, and everyone should not kill him for my face.'" 19
From the above three insights, it is not difficult to see that in the post-epidemic era, the superficial phenomenon that everything of Generation Z can be entertained actually points to the fact that they are regaining the sense of certainty in life through entertainment, and finding the “other me in the world”. ” resonance, and dispel negative emotions. This is reflected in the current environment. What young people need is no longer the leadership and preaching from the brand, or the one-sided fight and positive energy. If a brand wants to truly enter the hearts of young people, it needs to listen to their needs equally and sincerely, and produce content that is truly resonant and provide practical solutions in a relaxed and not heavy way. This is the only way to win Gen Z. key.