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Opinion: Apparently, millennials like three-letter words

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As the internet age took over, so too did shorthand lingo popularized by millennials.

It’s evolved beyond LOL and its ilk to simply the letter V, for very; TBH, for to be honest; IMO, for in my opinion; RN, for right now, and myriad others. New acronyms, words and phrases pop up all the time, to the point where it’s difficult to keep up.

Estimated at around 80 million, millennials now represent the largest population in the United States. As such, they bring the biggest buying power with them — estimated by analysts to be in the hundreds of billions per year.

Companies, of course, want their cut of that business, so they’ve adapted to appeal to the crowd who generally, according to the Pew Research Center, turn ages 22-37 this year.

Being in the apartment business through Bear Village and other developments, Bryan Properties LLC is probably already working to understand the newest trends. It makes sense from a marketability standpoint.

Sometimes, though, companies tend to adopt a “one of us” mindset, where they play into the culture but do so with wanton abandon.

In Bryan Properties’ case, that’s Tru by Hilton.

Here, Hilton Hotels & Resorts has simply dropped the “e” from the word True to tap into the shortened lingo trend popularized by millennials and other demographics.

On its website, Hilton calls the Tru brand “energetic, yet relaxing and comfortable. It’s familiar, and it’s also unexpected. It’s completely unprecedented, it’s uniquely Tru.”

IMO, they’re trying too hard to sound cool.

Then there’s Vib, a millennial-focused brand by Best Western International that should be open soon in Springfield by way of Elliott Lodging Ltd.

Here, too, marketers shortened a word — it’s pronounced Vibe — in an attempt to grab hold of that fat stack of millennial cash.

“Located in the heart of key urban destinations around the world, guests will experience a vibrant and modern design with a focus on convenience, technology and social engagement,” Vib’s marketing materials read.

Again, it’s immediately clear which demographic the company is targeting.

These efforts — at least at face value — are a bit gauche, despite some neat amenities that get lost in the shuffle (free high-speed Wi-Fi and social spaces are good ideas).

Some advice for those marketing to millennials: Study up on the culture so your message doesn’t become a bad meme.

IHOb? Weird choice
Speaking of weird marketing decisions, you probably caught wind of IHOP’s viral social media initiative that teased a name change to IHOb.

It started with a June 4 tweet: “For 60 pancakin’ years, we’ve been IHOP. Now, we’re flippin’ our name to IHOb. Find out what it could b on 6.11.18. #IHOb.”

The mystery was revealed on June 11, when accompanied by clips of burgers on the grill, the company tweeted: “Dear Internet, we abbreciate your batience. Now let’s see who guessed right. B-hold!!!!! #IHOb.”

Turns out, the “b” was really for bad marketing.

Company officials were quick to indicate the name change was temporary and meant to promote the restaurant chain’s steakburgers.

While IHOP’s media campaign has certainly garnered plenty of attention — the reveal post had more than 16,200 retweets and 44,000 likes as of press time — it seems to have backfired in some ways. For instance, marketing folks have spent a ton of time reassuring customers that pancakes are not going away at the International House of Pancakes. That’s ridiculous.

Further, it quickly became intolerable when the company’s Twitter handlers continued to post truly horrible tweets, where they switched the letter “p” with the letter “b.” I could go my whole life without ever reading phrases like “biece of the buzzle” and “nobe, it’s real,” again.

The public response was swift and often hilarious.

“Your marketing team needs to be fired…ASAP,” tweeted one user, with another responding, “ASAB.”

That’s Twitter at its finest right there.

I’ll leave you with a slick burn from Wendy’s, which to use millennial parlance, is on fleek when it comes to social media.

“Not really afraid of the burgers from a place that decided pancakes were too hard,” Wendy’s tweeted.

SBJ Web Producer Geoff Pickle can be reached at gpickle@sbj.net.

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