December 06, 2015
As Generation Y and its associated millennial identity mature to a saturation point, the tastemakers at MTV took it upon themselves to get an early start on branding the next generation of youngsters to be flogged for their humanity whenever a scapegoat is needed and championed whenever hope for civilization is dim.
Having learned that narcissistic millennials (supposedly) only respond favorably to ideas that they themselves created, MTV decided to take the question to Generation Z with a nationwide survey. With assistance from a company called Red Peak Branding, MTV gleaned insights from 1,047 kids aged 13 or 14 years old, holding both in-person and virtual sessions.
The kids came up with a total of 544 potential names for themselves: iGen, Homeland Generation, ReGen, Plurals, the Navigators, the Regenerators, the Builders, the Bridge Generation, and the winner: The Founders.
That name, according to Gen Z's survey participants, reflects a belief that they will have to reconstruct the world millennials have been credited with disrupting.
Founders are seen as "pragmatists" who will forge a new world in the wake of Millennial disruption, while Millennials broadly have been characterized as "dreamers" who have actively disturbed and dismantled the system. The inherent differences between generations can largely be attributed to parenting styles as well as the global and local forces impacting society at the time of their birth and into early childhood.
The survey is part of an effort by MTV and other marketers to find out what motivates the emerging generation that will displace millennials beginning to age out of their core demographic of 12-34 year olds. The kids, on the whole, didn't see themselves as opposed to millennials, but rather the bearers of a new perspective on the forces that have shaped them – from gadgets and social media to global terrorism
Among those surveyed, 90 percent said, "My generation is going to start a new society where diversity is accepted and encouraged." Another 91 percent said, "Technology has helped my generation understand people who are different in terms of race, religion and sexuality."
As some have joked, it's at least a little ironic that MTV would spearhead an initiative to brand a generation that has grown up with mobile devices ahead of the tube.
Regardless of the name and whether it will stick, it is encouraging to know that 91 percent of the teens surveyed said that they are optimistic their generation can build a better world.