BusinessWeek recently launched a PR campaign named “Gets You Ahead” that targets the Millennial demographic. Smart move. Publications covet younger readers because the demographic represents potential decades of loyal customers and subsequent financial windfall. BusinessWeek embraced this simple PR concept, then dragged it out behind the woodshed and beat it with a phone book.
Incredulously, BusinessWeek decided the best way to woo Millennials was to belittle them by characterizing the generation as lazy deadbeats who love financial debt and living with their beleaguered parents. This absurd campaign even allows parents to send their children e-cards with crass comments such as “Our American dream is for you to move out” or “I moved out of my parents’ home after college. So it’s not genetic.”
You know what also isn’t genetic? Self-awareness. We’re guessing the parents who see the humor in these e-cards are the same ones who fight the referees at their 6-year-old’s basketball games. The entire campaign lacks perspective, tact and decency. There is nothing funny about unemployment at any age—really BusinessWeek, you didn’t know this?—but it’s uniquely difficult for industrious young people because their professional lives are passing by too. This recession has been a tragic waste of human potential on every level. Oh, and for the record, the Millennials had nothing to do with the current economic mess.
Perhaps the e-cards featured in BusinessWeek’s “Gets You Ahead” program should offer more accurate and self-aware comments such as “Sorry the older generation was so greedy and financially irresponsible for the past 40 years. Boy, what a mess. Anyway, glad you’re home.” or perhaps “We’re shallow and judgmental and obsessed with the approval of our neighbors, so you must move out. You’re embarrassing us. Find other ways to save money and pay off your insurmountable student loans.”
BusinessWeek should stay out of the comedy business. It clearly isn’t their forte.