My roommate and I hung up not one or two, but four Marvel posters in our room.

Four Marvel Posters and Pura Vida; Understanding Gen Z

After only knowing each other for a few days, we soon figured out that we both shared a passion for all the characters from Iron Man to T’challa. So naturally, when we found four Marvel posters in Kmart, we had to buy them. Later that night, some of our friends came over and we proudly showed off our new decorations, stating that we were “big Marvel people.” For Gen Z, it isn’t enough to just know you yourself like something...everyone else needs to know, too.

It’s desirable to have clear parts of your character easily identifiable.“Oh Annika? She loves Marvel, dogs, “Love in this Club” by Usher (which I firmly believe is a classic from my generation), and OrangeTheory Fitness Classes.” 
It makes us Gen Zers feel unique and like we really know who we are as people, which is essential to having a presence in a world where it can feel so easy to slip into irrelevance.  No one wants to be irrelevant and unseen, and so we desperately cling onto elements of ourselves that make our image and persona stick out. We find activities, products, or even just subjects that become “our things,” and put it on blast that they are a part of us.  

Gen Z ranges from approximately 1996-2015, so while the oldest of our generation might have joined the workforce or will soon, the majority is still not self sufficient and probably makes a wishlist for their birthdays and other holidays. These younger Gen Z members who are avid Instagram, Snapchat, and VSCOers rely heavily on products and instagramable experiences to express themselves. Clothing, for example, is no longer just about style but about telling everyone as much as you can about yourself in a single pair of shoes or shirt. Even just stickers on someone’s computer can speak 1,000 words to who they are.  

Generation Z is naturally drawn to companies that not only provide them with products, but also a “vibe.”  Pura Vida, for example, which is a Costa Rican bracelet company, often finds its way onto the wrist of beachy, surfer people.  Not only are people drawn to the charitable aspects of the company, but they also want to attach that beachy/surfer persona to themselves.  Every order from Pura Vida comes with a sticker that the customer can further advertise their beachy-ness with by smacking it onto the middle of their computer.

Companies need to have a strong enough personality that when their product is used, the customer takes on that personality as well.  Gen Z wants to be understood without having to explain brands should be able to do the explaining for them. Oakley sunglasses? She probably skis. Thrasher shirt? He probably skateboards.  Four Marvel posters? Maybe she likes superhero movies...

New blog coming soon,
Annika Goldman

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