Generation Z is really weird.
I mean, I know they’re just kids right now, but, as a millennial looking at the developing class of 2025, I gotta say their sense of humor is nonsense. And this shifting perspective in comedy is notably historic. It happens every fifteen or so years.
Nothing reflects this generational transition better than advertising and marketing. In order to remain hip, advertisers have always poised themselves to reflect the values, style and humor of their youngest audience. You can look at a long-standing brand—like Jack in the Box—and watch its ads change profoundly from one decade to the next. Each generation is unique from the last. What’s more, as time marches on, advertisers find themselves toeing the line on—or barreling headfirst into—taboo or breakthrough topics. In 1980, Jack from Jack in the Box was “sent to the moon,” a concept that was current and funny at the time but just seems silly today.
This progression of comedy has led to 2019 when Jack from Jack in the Box spends a minute making a joke that really boils down to the word “bowls” sounding like something inappropriate if you say it fast enough. A 1980s audience member watching this commercial would likely feel shocked or even confused. Like, is Jack in the Box seriously creating a mental connection between their food and…that? Personally, as an audience member in 2019, I think it’s pretty darn funny.
Comedy in advertising has gotten edgier and will continue to push the limits. Which brings me to Gen Z. They’re a bunch of weirdos. Have you ever heard of deep-fried memes? They’re pure nonsense to anyone younger than 22 and a perfect summation of how humor is an ever-shifting landscape that we, as advertisers, have to traverse.
You may wonder exactly how we keep up. The answer is simpler than you may think – we keep an open dialogue with the customers you wish to reach. MCC’s experts collect and understand generational data (no, really) to give your brand its generation-appropriate edge. We’re here to keep our finger on the pulse of every generation. Including the one that thinks Shrek is… really, really funny.