What Pepsi, Radio Shack and NBC Are Telling You about Gen Y

Radio Shack has decided to rename itself. It’s dropping “radio” from its name. The term “radio”, it seems, has a 20th
century connotation. That’s enough to make anyone over 50 cringe. Just
a few years ago “Radio Shack” was the place to go when you wanted
anything high tech. That was, of course, way back — when radio was high tech and students walked to school uphill both ways. “Radio” is old!

In a similar vein, if there was ever
any question that Generation Y is changing the way businesses do
business, you need look no further than Pepsi’s announcement
that they would not be a sponsor of the 2010 Super Bowl. Why? The
company thinks the Internet is a better place to spend ad dollars. This
ends a 23-year sponsorship for Pepsi, dating back to Michael Jackson’s
monster ad in the mid-1980s.

Pepsi’s announcement is huge. It
confirms the power and pull of Generation Y. This is the first
generation that has never known a world without the Internet. Nearly 80
million strong in the United States and over 1 billion worldwide, Gen Y
is reshaping how we meet, greet, shop, and even get our news.

And in 2009 the SciFi Channel became “Syfy.”  Apparently
NBC “tested” the new name with a focus group, at which one participant
stated: “If I were texting, this is how I would spell it.” This was
enough to convince executives that Syfy would be a big success among
the all-important Generation Y consumer.

The year 2009 was a pivotal, and
often tragic, time for many businesses, thanks to the near-collapse of
our financial system. Moving forward, many existing businesses will
recover and new ones will emerge. But the longest lasting effect might
be the impact that Gen Y, the digital generation, has on the way
businesses operate. Don’t be duped into thinking life will return to
normal — unless you’re braced for what is becoming the new normal.

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