By Jacques Gordon, Managing Editor, MACS ACtion Magaine
Illustration from Old Car Advertising.com
A ‘news story’ that’s appeared in several different places over the past few days describes a potential disaster for the automotive industry and the advertising community that it supports. Seems like kids these days aren’t as interested in cars as they are in other personal technologies, and auto sales and advertising, indeed the whole automotive culture, are expected to suffer when this generation moves into their peak earning years.
The automotive market as we know it today was born with the Boomers, in post-war car-krazy America. And it was mostly male. Back then a set of car keys was a high school boy’s most prestigious possession, often cleverly dangled from a back pocket, displayed as a sign that he had ARRIVED! Didn’t matter if it was Mom’s Dodge Dart and he only had it on Friday night; the keys and the driver’s license conveyed manhood, new possibilities for romance, the freedom to actually GO somewhere on a date. Or maybe even just drive, because the car was a personal space, a mobile destination in itself. Sure it was better to drive something cool like a Mustang or a Chevelle SS-396, but for the generation that defined America’s car culture, a car was the first opportunity to create an adult identity, free of adult scrutiny.
Today’s teens have the ability to gather as a group or individually without actually being in the same room, any time and from any place they happen to be. It’s not only completely private (vis-à-vis parental observation), it’s a cultural mystery to parents, employers, teachers and anyone else old enough to be in authority, because the change happened that completely that fast. Living out loud in plain sight; now THAT’S rebellion!
So Gen Y embraces their technology for the same reasons car-loving generations did; status, coolness, opportunity, and more freedom than high-school-age Boomers ever imagined. Who needs the hassle and expense of driving?
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