Since overtaking baby boomers as the largest living generation in the U.S. in 2016, millennials have become a highly coveted demographic for retailers. As they come into their own as consumers, the now-largest generation is attracting the attention of large corporations looking to broadly cater to their tastes. A number of prominent companies, including Coca-Cola and Weight Watchers, recently launching programs aimed at young consumers, who tend to be more health-conscious and focused on wellness than older generations.
In an effort to bringing more younger consumers to their Diet Coke brand, last month, the Coca-Cola Company
Using ads masquerading as Instagram memes and a Super Bowl commercial designed to attract social media buzz, the company has explicitly targeted marketing for the line at millennials, a demographic that has generally steered clear of Diet Coke - and a group that is largely credited with the recent upswing in seltzer and sparkling water sales. "Millennials are now thirstier than ever for adventures and new experiences, and we want to be right by their side," said Rafael Acevedo, the group director for Diet Coke in North America.
Worryingly for Coca-Cola and its competitors, sales of soft drinks have fallen in recent years, as more and more health-conscious consumers turn to LaCroix, a seltzer brand distributed by National Beverage Corp.
Coca-Cola has introduced other healthier alternatives, like Coca-Cola Life, a soda sweetened with cane sugar and naturally low-calorie stevia. Other beverage companies, like PepsiCo
The phenomenon isn't limited to beverage companies. In a bid to grow their membership base, diet companies are now targeting millennials and teenagers under the age of 18, a group even younger than millennials. Earlier in February, the weight-management services company Weight Watchers
As part of a push to expand their subscriber base, Weight Watchers will also offer free memberships to teens between the ages of 13 and 17 during the coming summer. The minimum age to sign up for a Weight Watchers membership is 13. The new recruiting initiative is geared toward the youngest demographic of potential Weight Watchers members and has drawn criticism from health experts who argue that promoting calorie counting to teenagers is potentially dangerous, pointing to the link between early dieting and the development of eating disorders.