The YAYA Connection

We're the youth and young adults (the YAYA market).
We're talking about the YAYA consumer for advertisers and marketers interested in our demographic.

We are the millennials,
but we won't be the YAYA market forever.
We're transient.
We're the elusive 18-24-year old market.

University of Missouri School of Journalism affiliated.

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Think like Powerade. Genuine, inspirational and emotional campaigns work with the YAYA market when done right. 

By: Lia Crawford, Audience Development: Twitter

On April 9, the death of Lacey Holsworth, an 8-year-old girl battling cancer, shook the world. The epicenter of this heart-shattering earthquake was none other than the Michigan State basketball program, namely senior Adreian Payne. Earlier this year,Big 10: The Journey aired a segment on Payne’s inspiring relationship with Lacey. He was her Superman, she was his little sister, and it’s virtually impossible to watch theathleteir story with a dry eye.

To say that the nation fell in love with this unlikely duo would be an understatement. As numerous articles surfaced across news outlets and social media platforms, this story became a significant trending topic over the last few months.

Amidst the clutter of controversy and bad reputations of athletes across the sports spectrum, there is a light of hope in the genuine storylines that unveil. The heartwarming stories of public figure athletes attract us to become fans of teams and players where we may otherwise pay no attention. (See: Michael Sam’s 95.4K Twitterfollowers).

#LeBronMeetEbony: The Power of Twitter

lebronWhether or not we as Millennials are sports fans, we have an affinity for trending topics. Does anyone remember KONY 2012? We love to feel as though we are making a difference by turning the focus on something bigger than ourselves through our constant social media usage. Without having to leave our computers or mobile devices, we are able to contribute to positive and popular causes.

When it comes to Twitter, campaigns with an authentic and inspiring cause have a greater impact than those orchestrated by businesses. Meet Ebony Nettles-Bey, a high-school basketball player that was diagnosed with stage four cancer this past summer. Her name may be familiar because of the “Worldwide Trends” panel on the left-hand side of our Twitter pages. In February, a#LeBronMeetEbony Twitter campaign was launched and soon went viral. On March 29, the thousands of tweets met a happy ending when Ebony was given the opportunity to meet her idol and warm-up on the court with LeBron James and the entire Miami Heat team. For every Millennial that followed the story or tweeted the hashtag, we were delighted that our contribution had helped achieve such a wonderful experience.

There was no need to be an NBA enthusiast to become a part of this story and a supporter of Ebony’s fight against cancer. With relentless effort from her family, friends, and social media junkies (like ourselves), #LeBronMeetEbony turned into #LeBronMetEbony.

AJ & AJ: An Inspiring Friendship

AJ McCarron will be leaving a legacy as the quarterback for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide, he will be a part of the 2014 NFL Draft coming this May, and there are rumors of an upcoming reality show with his stunning Miss Alabama fiancée, Katherine Webb. These facts matter to AJ McCarron fans, but why is this name popular amongst other Millennials?

It’s simple: McCarron is not the AJ that matters the most in this scenario. That would be AJ Starr, a college student with cerebral palsy, who McCarron offered a ride to when Starr missed the bus while standing in the rain. A ride home talking about cerebral palsy and Crimson Tide football soon developed into McCarron finding a position for Starr in the football team’s equipment room, and Starr has been a part of the team ever since.

The genuine bond between the two AJs once again prompts Millennials to fall in love with an athlete’s story. We begin to care where we may have otherwise paid no mind, and the connection draws in admirers by humanizing the athletes from being only regarded as a name and number on a jersey. Side note: we recommend having tissues handy while watching this one.


As Millennials, we cannot resist a good story. As the “connected generation”, we are always tuned in to current trends. We want to feel a sense of contribution to a cause, even if just by clicking the ‘Retweet’ button to share a story.

Marketers should recognize the potential in creating advertisements that highlight trending stories that show the personal side of athletes. Guinness did so with their “Made of More” campaign featuring an advertisement during the 2014 Winter Olympics. Guinness: Twins showcased the heartwarming story of Tracy and Lanny Barnes, U.S. Olympic twins, one of which being too ill to compete in the games. The advertisement was described as “inspirational” and was an overall success despite being banned due to Olympic sponsorship advertising rules.

So while many believe that athletes are only about fame and fortune, emerging story lines speak differently. Millennials recognize this inspirational trend, so marketers should follow suit. Tell us what you think. How can marketers implement a greater amount of athlete stories to make Millennials care?

You should really touch yourself, too. 

We don’t call ourselves “gamers”, but the majority of us play mobile games between 1 - 6 hours per week! The 18-24 year old market is full of contradictions when it comes to mobile games. Come to the YAYA Connection presentation of Gaming on the Go for insights about this hard to reach market.

Check out our website for more insights, too!

By: Weicheng Zhao, Multimedia Specialist & Graphic Designer

Imagine searching for recipes via voice instead of leafing through a cookbook while cooking. You could price compare a product by scanning a barcode in a local store. You could even view speech notes during a presentation while still maintaining eye contact with your audience. Think it is science fiction? Nope. It is augmented reality (AR) technology, brought to you by Google Glass for one day only! At least for now.

Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 4.07.36 PM.pngFor one day, the once invite-only smart eyewear became available to more than just tech elites. Any adult in the U.S. could score a pair of Google Glass for $1,500 on Tuesday April 15th. Our generation’s technology breakthrough, Google Glass, and the AR technology behind it is gaining traction among mobile’s core audience, youth and young adults (YAYA) between the ages of 18 and 24. According to a recent Google Consumer Survey, 61.9 percent of YAYA consumers now recognize Google Glass and show an interest in using the device in the near future.

According to MIT Technology Review, as smartphones and wearables like Google Glass explode in popularity, augmented reality is starting to “move from novelty to utility.” Most commonly hidden behind certain “trigger” images, AR is a layer of digital information over the physical world that you can only see with cameras on your mobile devices. Although still relatively young, this technology opens a new window for marketers to engage their audience at a deeper level, especially the YAYA consumers who have grown up in a digitally connected world.

Coming of age during a time of economic hardship, the YAYA consumer has a low level of social trust, according to a Pew study. Traditional linear marketing tactics often fail to woo the YAYA shoppers because, as head of research for MTV Nick Shore puts it, we’re “just better at seeing through them.” Instead of being passive recipients of a message, we expect to be tempted to actively immerse ourselves in the brand experience. We seek ads that smartly capture our attention with aesthetically-pleasing visuals and engaging features. Augmented reality meets these needs with its ability to infuse highly interactive multimedia experiences like videos, 3D models of products, and animations with print materials.

In it’s simplest form, an AR marketing experience requires users to point their mobile devices at an object – whether it is a coffee cup or a magazine cover – to trigger multimedia contents over the real-world object. As Business Insider reports, Absolut Vodka’s AR campaign, AbsolutTruths, takes us on a tour to the drink’ s Swedish home.  By scanning specially created neck hangers on Absolut bottles, we can activate a 3D video about how the vodka is produced– from grain, to distillery, to bottling facilities.

Further, you can customize your advertising to suit your individual need through various try-on experience. For example, USPS’s Virtual Box File:USPS virtual box application.pngSimulator allows busy YAYA consumers to compare the size of the real stuff we want to ship to the size of the virtual box on our screens. Those interactive experiences provide us a fun, engaging, and memorable way to interact with the product without physically handling it.

The possibilities of augmented reality as a new media way to attract the YAYA consumer is only just being explored. There is little evidence of how these AR campaigns may affect the actual sales of a product. Butindustry analysts caution that AR’s success depends on how the younger crowd finds it easy to use and the recognized value in interacting with the multimedia contents. Otherwise the novelty factor of the technology may soon wear off.  Tuong Nguyen of Gartner, a research firm, explains, “If the content isn’t bringing additional value, the mainstream consumers aren’t going to use it twice.”

While Google Glass is not sharing any sales numbers for the day, reports have it that the site did crash or some customers were turned away. As of Tuesday afternoon, Google did say it was sold out of the white, or “cotton” color of Glass, only selling the remaining red, blue, gray and black options.

Is this a sign of augmented reality success? We can’t be sure, but what are your thoughts? Would you like to use augmented reality-based advertising as a consumer, or for your company? Let us know in the comments below!

how could you not love this Dodge commercial by The Richards Group? 

By: Mary Trier, Content Curator

Let’s start this off with saying yes, terrorist threats are terrible; and yes, they should be taken seriously. However, social media can be tricky when brands engage the way American Airlines did the other day.

If you don’t know the story, it can be summed up as the following: a girl “jokingly” threatens American Airlines via Twitter, American responds telling her they’re going to report her to the FBI, and the rest is social media history.

Many are focusing their attention on the 14-year-old girl, who was arrested in the Netherlands Monday. But the other half of posts reflect a lesson marketers can learn in the wake of this fiasco. The lesson is simply to be wary when responding to people via social media.

American’s response alone made the brand look silly for publicly engaging with a tweet of that nature, being that it was from a teenage girl; but their word choice made it even worse. “Your IP address and details will be forwarded to security and the FBI,” they said in their response. Choosing to let the public in on that kind of company action probably shouldn’t have happened over Twitter. What made the situation even worse for American was when a Twitter spokesperson informed the world that the airline had no way of knowing her IP address…quickly making American look both uninformed and unprofessional.

While some might think American’s tweet was meant to advertise their safety tactics and discourage others from tweeting similar threats, this was not the right platform or message to convey that. This is obvious given American has since deleted their tweet. They have also failed to mention anything else on the matter. Note to American: now is the time for damage control. Social media is going rampant with opinions, so now is when you should take action. We are starting to wonder how you will fix this.

The response from American not only garnered unwanted attention for the girl, but also for the airline. Without their very public response, the post would not have blown up the way it did. Now, jokes like this one are being made at Americans’ expense. Numerous other teenagers have since decided to post tweets with joke threats to American, as well as other airlines, because of this debacle.  

If this wasn’t enough attention for the airlines, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith was arrested for making a bomb threat. He was released on bail, since he didn’t actually have a bomb on him.

US Airways also made a recent Twitter oops by sending out a graphic photograph to two customers. But, at least they’re trying to do damage control in a timely manner. The same can’t be said about American Airlines.

So, could they have avoided this whole mess? Probably.

If American thought the threat was real, they should have looked into it without responding via Twitter. Even if, for some reason, they wanted to respond to this tweet and show they are committed to safety, they should have responded with only positive things to say about their company. And if their tweet was meant to be a joking response to the girl’s tweet, then they can expect as large a firestorm as she is under.

Moral of the story here: think before you tweet. Airlines should take more time before posting on any social media. It’s better to be cautious than make mistakes like these. For more social media disasters, check back with us soon for our upcoming blog on brands and their presence.

By: Cathy Ann Baker, Content Curation Specialist 

Badgley Mischka, Nicole Miller, Kate Spade, Calvin Klein and Dolce and Gabbanna are all key members in any fashion forward, Millennial woman’s dream closet. Now your dream closet can become a reality. Rent the Runway (RTR) is an online store that is targeting Millennial women in all the right ways. RTR is a distributor of fabulous, in season, designer dresses and accessories. Millennials can log on, create an account, and start picking out dresses for all of our upcoming events. RTR buys the designer dresses on wholesale, then rents them out for two days at a time for a fee of $50-$200.

The digital store gives every woman a designer wardrobe right at her fingertips. Not only can we rent gorgeous gowns that most women our age can most likely not afford, but we can speak directly to a representative and use them as consultants to find clothing tailored to our taste. RTR has seen great success as they celebrated their fourth birthday in October. Why so much success for this once small niche site?


We all know that Millennials love transparency. We want to know exactly what we are getting into and RTR does this flawlessly. Their“Our Runway” option allows us to choose our height, bust size, usual size and age and then produces a fabulous mix of photos of real women who have already worn the dresses. As you can learn from YAYA Connection’s most recent white paper about YAYA Donors, Milllenials want to know what we are getting for our money. We want to know that our money and time are well spent and that the product is going to be worth it. For each dress, RTR gives the ability to read comments, good and bad about others’ experiences before we make our rental purchase. This transparency allows RTR to create a community of real women who often become repeat customers.

2. Cross Generational

RTR’s target market is women between the ages of 18 to 45. This cross-generational approach will ensure that RTR is around for a long time. They snag the young woman when she is shopping for her prom dress and then offer her beautiful options for her sorority formal when she is in college. You can’t forget that perfect little black dress for her best friend’s bachelorette party, and countless options for her fancy holiday office party.  Millennial women represent the largest portion of RTR’s customer base, but the next generation will seamlessly fill these designer-hungry shoes in the next few years.

3. Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest are the key social media outlets that RTR uses on a daily basis. At least one platform is utilized daily, and most of the time it is all four. They use Facebook to generate conversation and advertise promotions, with posts that are always visually driven with a photograph or a video. RTR does a great job of pulling in other fashion sources like InStyle magazine to draw users to their main website.

 Twitter is the platform where RTR really shows off what it is doing. They keep up with their famous customers, like Miss America and Melissa Joan Hart and retweet their pictures in the dresses. Twitter is utilized for brand awareness and showing off their great reputation.

Instagram is another social media outlet used to generate brand awareness. Many of the pictures and videos are of the RTR headquarters in New York City. This is the platform where the customer gets to see the RTR reps in their everyday habitat. RTR is successfully using Instagram to humanize their brand. As a customer you can see that RTR is being run by real women, just like you.

Pinterest is a fantastic collage of everything RTR.  The majority of pins are dresses that are for rental but other pins include product reviews, upcoming promotions and great ideas on how to style your dress. Each of the pins links the user back to the main website. Pinterest is used as a visual resource that generates leads to the website.RTR5

4. College Ambassadors

RTR uses real college women on campuses across the United States to help generate buzz about the company. These women work with RTR directly and put on events like fashion shows, scavenger hunts and trunk shows. As it discusses in YAYA Connection’s latest white paper, Millennials are more likely to believe, trust and take part in a company when it is being promoted by other Millennials. RTR utilizes this insight and is specifically targeting its largest customer base, college women.

What marketers need to take away from RTR’s approach is this, be your own customer. Embody who you are trying to reach and humanize your band through social media. Keep an open, honest and upbeat communication with Millennial women. We are powerhouse consumers and devoted customers when we find a brand that gets us, Rent the Runway gets us.


Here’s a little wrap-up of Coachella, just in time for one of our newest blogs. If you were at Coachella, what did you think? If you weren’t — have you had any positive brand experiences at a music festival?

By: Lyndsey Garza, MOJO Ad Liaison 

Want to reach the elusive Millennial in a meaningful way? Follow the music.

Music festivals, like CoachellaSummerfest and Ultra are a few of the most coveted experiences in hearts of many YAYA consumers. These events are breeding grounds for this experiential audience, who flock to escape their reality for a weekend or two inside the festival gates. Attendance at festivals has skyrocketed over the last decade and a half – in fact, Coachella has seen a 260% increase since the first debut in 1999.

From an industry aspect, advertisers are catching on to this cultural phenomenon, as AdAge reports a 4.4% increase in brand penetration in the past year. But what’s in it for brands? According to a Nielsen report, 76% of festival attendees say they feel find brands that sponsor tours or concerts of choice as inherently more favorable.

In order to position your brand strategically to entice Millennials at music festivals, embody the following insights.

1. Experience Over Everything

Millennials in the YAYA market value experience over anything. In fact, 81% of Millennials value experience over material items and 72% would put their money where their mouth is, too, according to JWT Intelligence. 72% of Millennials crave experiences that stimulate their senses.


You can satisfy all three desires with a bass-pumping, neon-clad, heart-racing music festival. The festival experience is an all encompassing sensory overload with festivals like Electric Daisy Carnival donning large-scale art installations, huge misting daisies, fire breathers and men on stilts.

How to leverage this

Create a socially-driven experiential marketing campaign that allows YAYA festival attendees a way to interact with your brand and their friends in a unique and memorable way. Music festivals are highly experiential and community-driven events, with a culture that embodies elaborate, one-of-a-kind costumes, kandi (candy-colored beaded bracelets made to be shared) and most of all PLUR (peace, love, unity and respect – or the mantra of the electronic dance music culture).

Brands that do festivals right

At the 2013 Pitchfork Music Festival, H&M invited people into their own air-conditioned and DJ-manned tent, which was stocked with water, sunscreen, dry shampoo, a nail art salon and

Gap partnered with the Washington music festival Sasquatch to create their own campsite, appropriately named “Camp Gap”. The retailer featured stations to create DIY cutoff shorts, do face painting and even press pennies.

At South by Southwest (SXSW), Gap teamed up with Tumblr and Filter magazine to present Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and ran Pinterest and Twitter contests for free tickets, which drove huge engagement with the brand.

2. Festivals are Food to Social Feeds

Music festivals live, breathe and grow on social media.

At the 2012 Lollapalooza, a storm left the festival in limbo and left attendees and artists alike in the dark – until few reached out on Twitter.

The 2013 Bonnaroo lineup was announced directly on YouTube by Weird Al Yankovich. At the festival, attendees could sync their wristband to Facebook, and were instantaneously checked in on their feed with the name of the artist currently playing and stage location.

At last year’s Country Music Association (CMA) Music Festival, concertgoers could tag their Instagram photos with #CMAfest and they would show up in real-time, on air, during the broadcasted show.

San Francisco’s Outside Lands partnered with Esurance to utilize near-field communication enabled wristbands last year. The bands allowed ticketholders to instantly win prizes, check in, take and upload photos directly to Facebook, download set lists, remember food/drink preferences as well as leave geo-targeted messages to friends when separated.

How to leverage this

Make your brand’s festival experience native for smartphones, so sharing on social media will be seamless. A report by Mashable says 32% of festival attendees send Facebook updates or Tweets from the show, 53% use their smartphone as their primary camera and 47% text and email during shows.

Brands that do festivals right

At SXSW this year, Doritos teamed up with Lady Gaga and asked fans to record themselves doing something particularly bold (tagged with #BoldStage) for access to her performance.

Little Monsters could perform a variety of challenges (from getting an impromptu haircut to spontaneously becoming street performers or even challenging roller derby pros), all sponsored by the brand, for extra swag and a chance at a ticket.

VH1 hosted live music and their own branded photobooth at the 2013 Lollapalooza.


Attendees could create their own animated GIFs and share instantaneously on social media. In addition, VH1 built a 10’ jumbotron showing Lollapalooza Tweets and Instagram photos tagged with #BestLollaEver in real-time.

3. Woodstock? Try Burning Man or Electric Forest

There is something undeniably nostalgic about the feel of music festivals, whether it is the fashion, the sense of community or even the wanderlust of traveling. Nostalgia (check out my last post for more) is something the YAYA consumer responds fondly to.

It’s easy to see the resemblance of Woodstock when you go to Burning Man or Electric Forest.

And who could forget about the holographic Tupac performance at Coachella in 2012?

How to leverage this

12602150005_74f569023e_zCreate a sense of community that resembles that of Woodstock’s in the 60’s. Avid festivalgoers typically travel long distances to embody this experience, so create a sense of exclusivity through your brand that resonates with the YAYA audience.

Brands that do festivals right

Budweiser’s “Made in America” festival is a branded wonderland for the beer enthusiast community to frolic. The 2-day event features a variety of beer gardens, branded food trucks and merchandise galore for exclusive guests. Once you enter the grounds by checking in on a myriad of iPads through your Facebook account, it’s hard to not feel like you’re at a VIP party – especially when in the company of Jay-Z!