If you’re not familiar, the avocado has become the symbol used to mock young people – taken from their so-called fancy breakfast preferences.
The most famous reference being Australian millionaire Time Gurner suggesting that millennials could get on the housing ladder if they enjoyed a few less smashed avos on toast.
Nonsense for obvious reasons, but the meme has stuck, and now for marketers, it’s the go-to, lazy option when anything ‘millennial’ crops up.
The most recent example has seen Virgin Trains piggy back on the disastrous launch of the Millennial Railcard.
Didn't bag a Millennial Railcard? Have no fear! Simply present an avocado in place of your railcard when booking your ticket and you'll be entitled to the same fantastic 1/3 off discount for one week only. Full details here: https://t.co/7Dp48RWzgp ?? #Avocard #railcard pic.twitter.com/NLhPfbD2yp— Virgin Trains (@VirginTrains) March 13, 2018
Hundreds of thousands of under-30s desperately trying to cut costs on their rail fares – the highest in Europe might I add – applied, but just 10,000 were dished out.
Cue disappointment and anguish.
To ‘rectify’ this… Virgin to the rescue via their #Avocard. Simply present an avocado at the station when purchasing a ticket to benefit from the same discount for a limited period (just this week).
A shallow gesture.
Just imagine the humiliation someone might feel actually taking up the offer?
Social has spoken and millennials were once again unhappy to be the butt of the nation’s jokes, and then to be further antagonised by being labelled snowflakes for being so easily offended.
It begs the question, is it worth it to provide the mainstream with a chuckle, when a smaller but significant wedge of the population will be disgusted?
And if millennials really are the marketers' ‘holy grail’, surely patronising or belittling these people with the use of this iconic eatable is clearly bad for business?
That’s not to say that millennials lack a complete sense of humour, or are even an homogeneous group that you can pigeonhole.
From my point of view, it’s more that a change of tone is required in how brands choose to speak to us.
Come on, we’re meant to be a creative industry. At least update the joke.
I hear dragon fruit is the next big thing.
Lauren Westmore is a group director at Third City