How To Market To An “Unmarketable” Generation Y Dad

2 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

Honestly, I can’t remember the last decade I bought any product because of an ad I saw.  Yet still, I buy things… am I unknowingly responding to ads anyway?

Even though I consider myself an unmarketable Generation Y (born in 1981 or later) dad, I will buy products based on the principles a company stands for, like Annie’s Homegrown and Chobani, and I privately boycott their competitors; because publicly banning is officially uncool.

(Hint: Social justice is especially a major selling point to Generation Y.)

With that being said, I easily parted with $4.24 today on a product other than food or gas:

I bought you your first Monster Jam monster truck today. I just couldn’t contain myself!

Why did I part with a 5 dollar bill of my blow money today? Did you do something special? Did you earn it somehow?


Other than firmly standing behind the moral principles of a company, another way to market to a stubborn dad like me is to make me believe that I am bonding with and/or teaching my child by buying the product; especially when laced in 1980′s nostalgia. (Dads love to teach their kids lessons!)

(Plus, it helps the company to lavish in the fact that I’m not a doofus dad like traditional commercials portray me, like in this Robitussin commercial.)

Well done, Hot Wheels Monster Jam monster trucks. I could have bought the vegan spring rolls at Whole Foods, but no, I bought my son a purple monster truck named King Kraze.

When I took a minute to dissect my thought process in buying you that purple monster truck, I realized that I believe the toy reinforces the masculine play time that you and I share… even when I’m not actually playing with you.

For example, I know that you will be taking King Kraze with you to bed, to dinner, and whenever you’re in the car. My spirit lives on in you through that toy. Sure, I know that sounds ridiculous, but I’m standing by it. Plus, I wanted your purple 1983 Chevy Silverado lowrider to have a friend. (Standing behind that strange comment as well.)

Yes, I love making you happy. But… I’m willing to admit I also like making small financial investments in things that encourage you to be a loud, messy, crazy, little boy.

A purple monster truck, I believe, helps do that.

So, in review, a stubborn, penny pinching, Dave Ramsey following, Generation Y dad like me will magically buy a product for his son if he believes that…

A) the company that makes the product is morally superior (not simply superior in quality) and/or B) that the product will reinforce the traditional ideas and principles that remind him of his own 1987 version of childhood and/or C) the company makes it clear that dads are helpful and important, not idiots.

Well, I guess there is a “D” too:

D) Get my cool guy friends on Facebook to talk about and post pictures of themselves with their son using the product and/or “like” the company on Facebook and have that company acknowledge those Generation Y dads’ somewhat indirect help in guerilla marketing, because Generation Y like to feel their input matters to helping a company with its marketing and sales tactics. (Twitter is the relevant social media hang-out spot for Generation X, not Y.)

But in order to make that happen, A through C probably already apply. Yeah, I’m a hard sell.




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Tags: | Categories: Nostalgia, The Dadabase

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  1. by Paleo People

    On April 26, 2013 at 3:59 am

    Hi, constantly i used to check website posts here early in the break of day, since i love to find out more and more.

  2. by Brian Reece

    On April 26, 2013 at 7:17 am

    Well, You are right! I feel Generation Y is not particularly impatient as a group, nor are less patient than the larger society, but yes we do take time to thoroughly response. In fact, most of what we know is what we have been taught.

  3. [...] if it were an inevitable Biblical prophecy,I bought you a $4 purple monster truck last week, then a 99 cent T-Rex the next [...]