The Millennial Craving for Truth and Wonder

Ok, let me just say it. I hate car ads. Who wants to buy a car from some fake person bragging about how great they are? Cue: ‘Category convention’.

Is this sacrilege from someone who works in advertising? Perhaps. But I guess I’m just a product of my generation. In a straw poll over a couple of drinks last night, 99% of my fellow millennial co-workers agreed. In my view, the more awesome you are, the less hard you should try. Millennials crave genuineness and mystery more than ever, which I’d say is the by-product of the perfectly curated, editable reality that we are living in right now.

Each day, we receive content before asking for it which is why our BS detectors are so highly attuned. That’s why, when someone has the courage to be the antithesis of fake, and create something raw and full of personality, they get peoples attention. The perfect example is the Mercedes CLA Project by Casey Neistat, a Youtuber who hates ads. He’s beloved by millennials because he’s well-known for steadfastly refusing to compromise his integrity in spite of the fact that advertisers have offered him squillions to punt their wares.

His approach is the polar opposite of the state-of-the-art, high-end, glossy ads that car manufacturers tend to favour. Instead, he created a 4-part short film in which the car is merely a compelling partner in crime. The narrative is fun and full of surprises, you can’t wait to see what’s next. The whole process demonstrates not only the product but also the attitude of Mercedes, opening the brand’s more adventurous soul up to a bunch of millennials with whom this message resonates (just quietly hats off to the folk at Mercedes who had the balls to approve doing this in the first place!)

It’s not by accident that Casey has created a cult following of over 1.6 million subscribers. He is credited with reinventing filmmaking with his daily vlogs on Youtube and although he’s highly acclaimed with awards at the Cannes Film Festival, Sundance and with his own HBO series, he has never lost sight of what made him famous in the first place: the art of amazing storytelling. We have consumed stories since the beginning of time. A great story can activate our brain from experiencing the emotions to storing them as long-term memories. This is not about writing a story that sounds ‘nice’, but about having a genuine story to tell. When you find a narrative that fits both honestly, that’s when you get noticed.


Click here to watch all 4 films culminating in Casey’s ‘ad’: