Generation Alpha Is the Youngest Generation to Be Named … and Marketed To
The children born between 2011 and 2025 may have been named purely for the sake of ad-targeting
As millennials rapidly approach middle age, GenZ has risen to the forefront as the new kids on the block. Now, however, GenZ is already on the verge of being eclipsed by an even younger crew — the newly dubbed Generation Alpha. The children of millennials and GenZers, Alphas are the children born — or those who will be born — between 2011 and 2025.
According to Wired, Generation Alpha was named by social researcher Mark McCrindle, who also happens to be the founder of marketing and trend forecasting firm, McCrindle. So what’s the point of naming a generation of which nearly half the population hasn’t yet been born? Critics argue that “Alpha” was given a name purely for the purpose of advertising to the young and as-yet unborn. While they may still be in diapers, Generation Alpha — and their millennials parents — are already a prime target for marketing.
“If Generation Alpha possesses similar behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs to that of their parents, then to win with a certain segment of millennial consumers (millennial parents), we must target Generation Alpha,” said Google, according to Forbes‘ “Complete Guide” to the generation.
Of course, Generation Alpha isn’t the first generation to be advertised to as children. Unlike their predecessors, however, today’s youngest ad targets aren’t just faced with TV commercials and product placement. Rather, today’s children are left to wade through largely uncharted waters of disguised advertising and undisclosed brand deals designed to blend seamlessly into social media and other entertainment platforms.
One notable example is Ryan ToysReview, a YouTube channel starring a seven-year-old that just got hit with an FTC complaint last week accusing the toy review channel of neglecting to disclose brand deals.
Even if they’re already being sold to, not everyone is sold on the idea of Generation Alpha. “Generation Alpha is only a fiction,” said researcher Ádám Nagy, who told Wired, “We still have no representative data on the characteristics of ‘Alphas,’ only speculations about what their common, cohesive force might be.”
As far as marketing and tech companies are concerned, however, you don’t need to have characteristics to be targeted for advertising. You don’t even need to be born yet.
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