I am not a millennial. So my first reaction after watching the "Generic Millennial Ad" created by Dissolve with And/Or was to laugh, as any good Gen Xer would. But then I considered the possibility that the ad isn't poking fun at millennials as much as at marketers. And as a marketer, this gave me a pause. 

It's no surprise we're all working from the same playbook when it comes to trying to reach this younger generation, the first to grow up in an unprecedented digital and mobile era. Understanding the impact of this on values, motivation, and decision-making is a puzzle for those of us old enough to remember life without instant communication. The data and research now available on every aspect of millennials could fill an encyclopedia (remember those?). So how do we ensure our marketing connects effectively with millennials if it's just one more ad in a sea of similar messages?

I've been in enough campaign planning sessions where we defined our millennial target audience in precisely the terms outlined in this ad. However, what's missing here to create that emotional connection we all strive to develop with our audience is clearly called out in the title: Generic. There is no brand here – a great reminder of the importance of brand and the value in the strategic work needed to craft a brand with purpose.

So, yes, brands can target their marketing to millennials with the tactics in this ad, but if they haven't identified where their brand identity intersects with this audience, it will fall flat.