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A Break In The Ranks Among Millennial Males: 18-to-25-year-olds Are The New Traditionalists, Finds Ketchum Study

NEW YORK, June 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite the stereotype that millennials are nothing like their dads or granddads, it turns out that not all millennials are created equal. A Language of Men study conducted by Ketchum, one of the world's leading communications firms, and maslansky + partners, a research-driven language strategy firm, indicates that a notable subset of millennial males, those 18-to-25-years-old, are emerging as the New Traditionalists, expressing beliefs and values more typically associated with previous generations.

This represents a breaking of the ranks with the older segment of millennials, defined by Ketchum as those age 26 to 35, who appear less traditional in their views and open in their communications. The survey polled 900 U.S. males age 18 to 49 on how they talk about relationships, sex, health, appearance and careers to assess not only how they communicate with each other but also whether marketers and communicators need to reassess how they talk to this influential consumer demographic.

According to the Language of Men study, the New Traditionalists are:

  • More likely than older millennials to believe men are still expected to be provider and protector (23 percent versus 15 percent of older millennials)
  • More likely to say it matters that men are the breadwinners in a marriage (40 percent versus 33 percent)
  • More likely to think the "strong, silent" stereotype still applies to them (28 percent versus 24 percent)
  • Less likely to think it's OK to be vulnerable about their looks with friends (67 percent versus 74 percent)

Being Open about Feelings Puts the 'New' in New TraditionalistYet these New Traditionalists are not just bowtie-wearing clones of older branches in the family tree. Compared to Generation X (those age 36 to 49), young millennial males find it easier to talk about subjects like relationships, health and insecurities that not long ago were considered too private or "unmanly" to share with guy friends. Today close to three out of four (72 percent) males age 18 to 25 would readily share their feelings about a devastating breakup with a male friend as compared to 63 percent of males age 36 to 49. They also don't mind if the tables are turned, with two-thirds (68 percent) saying it doesn't make them uncomfortable if a male friend is emotional in front of them.

According to Bill Reihl, managing director of Ketchum's Global Brand Marketing Practice, the study underscores that today's male is anything but monolithic.

Said Reihl: "This study delivered several findings that caused us to rethink preconceived notions about the male demographic. The key lesson is 'marketers, stereotype at your own risk'. Age and gender should just be the starting point – companies today have an opportunity to identify unique insights and establish true audience intimacy with this complex and diverse demographic, leading the way to strong brand preference."

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