3 Tips for Marketing to ‘Yuccies,’ Your Shiny New Hipster Replacement

By Joe Lazauskas June 15th, 2015

Last week, we were introduced to a new archetype sure to fill an important void during happy hour smack talk: the yuccie. David Infante’s romping explainer for Mashable has been shared nearly 200,000 times, a sign that yuccies are all around us. I’d bet anything there’s one within 15 feet of you. At the very least, you’re reading an article written by one right now.

As defined by Infante:

Yuccies. Young Urban Creatives. In a nutshell, a slice of Generation Y, borne of suburban comfort, indoctrinated with the transcendent power of education, and infected by the conviction that not only do we deserve to pursue our dreams; we should profit from them.

Infante calls yuccies the cultural offspring of yuppies and hipsters. They value creativity and the validation that comes from showing it off just like hipsters, except they don’t just want to win a ribbon at an avant garde pickling festival. That’s not enough. Similar to yuppies, they want their validation to come in the form of dollars and cents—but only if they receive that money in exchange for their own creativity and ideas.

They’re inherently entitled, privileged, and they want their god damn trophy. They’re kind of awful, and they’re 80 percent of the applicants striving for any creative job at your company.

Usually when a piece like this pops off, you only have 48 hours to piggyback off it, but I’m doing so five days later because I believe the yuccie is real, and as an archetype, it has serious staying power. After all, we need the yuccie, or at least a new archetype like it. The hipster died three years ago. Millennial is too broad. Yuppie is an antiquated term that makes me picture characters from romantic comedies I watched on VHS.

Plus, marketers love archetypes! It’s easy to market to archetypes—or, at the very least, it’s easy to get money to try. So, it seems like a no-brainer for us to break this down further. How do you get this exciting new type of person to buy shit from you?

Well, as a 27-year-old writer who went to a liberal arts college, runs a marketing magazine for a startup, lives in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and spent his first three years out of college attempting to launch a hopelessly doomed editorial startup out of the sheer conviction of being special, I feel extremely qualified to weigh in on this issue. I am a yuccie, and I have ideas, guys. I’m going to share them with you now.

1. Help them sound smart/do stuff, because, honestly, they spent 40 percent of college in anthropology classes and have very little idea how to do anything.

As Infante writes, yuccies are increasingly chasing those crazy passion projects:

Leaving the rat race for a more fulfilling alternative is a well-worn fantasy in American culture, but the opportunities yuccies are chasing now are more abstract than ever. When you grow up watching the Internet king-make an entirely new type of elite, it’s impossible not to take a moonshot yourself.

As a result, us yuccies need a lot of help. The only practical skills I got from college were reading, writing, researching, and bullshitting—and those last two have probably helped me the most. To scrape together enough money for my editorial startups, I BS’d my way into every writing gig under the sun—ad-tech, SEO, virtual reality, angel investing, consumer technology, finance, farming, sex advice horoscopes, you name it.

For the more technical gigs, I relied on high-quality company blogs to get me up to speed fast, and I’ll have love for them forever. But I have even more affection for the companies that helped me make my passion projects a success—at least for a short period of time. (Whatup, Moz. Will you marry me? Assuming you’re into a freaky triad thing with Buffer.)

Now that I run The Content Strategist, I aim to help all the younger versions of me scraping to make it, trying crazy things. Most will fail, but a few will succeed in big ways, and it’ll pay off.

2. Help the world, and help us kinda help the world, because, oh man, do we feel guilty.

Thanks to the rise of social media, progressive colleges, and the Internet, it’s pretty much impossible for yuccies to escape the fact that we are privileged a-holes ruining the world, despite our sporadic best efforts to do good. Whenever a brand makes me feel like I’ve done something positive, I’m incredibly grateful for that momentary respite from knowing I am ultimately a parasite to the planet.

TOMS isn’t selling shoes; it’s selling shots of relief from self-loathing. Hit me again, TOMS. I’ll take another boat shoe.

3. Show off your most approachable, smartest self, and validate their (incredibly insecure) intellect.

Yuccies, like other generations, are very much defined by the brands they associate with. I’ll let Infante take it from here:

Yuccies are the cultural offspring of yuppies and hipsters.We’re intent on being successful like yuppies and creative like hipsters. We define ourselves by our purchases, just like both cohorts, sure. But not by price or taste level; we identify by price and taste level: $80 sweatpants, $16 six-packs of craft beer, trips to Charleston, Austin and Portland. How much it costs (high or low) is immaterial if the material bought validates our intellect.

That last piece is key—the validation of intellect. Just look at Warby Parker—it’s a great place to get cheap glasses, sure, but even more importantly, going into a Warby Parker makes you feel literary just for shopping there. It’s not just that all of the company’s frames are named after writers; it’s that the stores are scattered with maps of the best places to read in New York City, an awesome literary blog that speaks yuccie, and a stunning and sarcastic annual report that strikes exactly the right tone.

Now, it might feel yucky to market to a yuccie—after all, that’s kind of the point of the term. Hell, I feel kind of yucky just writing this article. But let’s face it—I’m not going anywhere, and neither are the rest of my kind. So come prepared, and bring the bacon.

Image by Dragon Images
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