It’s Millennial Time

When it comes to marketing towards the millennial generation, glossy statements often fall on deaf ears, and that’s simply because the traits that define the millennial generation run against the grain of conventional marketing wisdom.

The Millennial Audience: Lofty Goals and Tight Wallets

Both culturally and financially, millennials are a unique audience to cater to, which means companies and marketers will have to reinvent their outreach tactics. On the financial side, millennials grew up with the recession, which means that we aren’t as willing to drop money on houses, cars, fancy weddings, or even have children – we are not settling down in the way our parents did. Although millennials now make up the largest demographic in the U.S and have enormous buying power (approximately $200 billion), they are much more cautious with their finances, which means that they will be harder to convince that a product or a cause is worth investing in.

And how do millennials decide what’s worth their money? This brings us to the cultural aspect of this new generation’s spending habits – millennials are idealistic and independent-minded, more socially conscious and “hipster”.  They are more willing to buy from small, local, indie companies rather than big brand names (i.e: Sierra Nevada is in and Coors is out). Most importantly, millennials want authenticity and a reason to believe in your product, company, or cause. They’re interested in social activism, environmental sustainability, and buying in a way that they believe will benefit the common good. That’s why it’s important to market the cause and message behind a product.

Missing the Mark: A Demonstration from Fiat

The advertisement below is an example of Fiat trying and failing to appeal to millennials:

While most companies don’t go as overboard with their advertisements as this Fiat one does, most mainstream ads still make the same mistake in trying to appeal to millennials’ desire to be ‘cool’ and fashionable rather than their sensibilities.

Aside from its bizarre allusions to ‘popular culture’, such as Tumblr gif characters and catch-phrases that play out more like the latest Youtube phenomenon,  the Fiat commercial doesn’t directly address the concerns of millennials. Apparently, the Fiat guarantees ‘endless fun’, but that’s not what is going to ultimately convince millennials to cash out thousands of dollars. With this type of big investment, millennials are not only more willing to look at the environmental sustainability of the car but its actual utility and economic value. As the book ‘Millennials As New Parents: The Rise of a New American Pragmatism’ says, millennials do enjoy luxury but “are more interested in substance”. As such, the Fiat ad was unsuccessful not just because of its offensively shallow portrayal of millennial culture, but also because it didn’t appeal to the real interests of its target audience.

“Indie” Beer: Millennials Celebrate Originality

We won’t buy cars, but we will walk to the store to buy beer.  Our parents had a handful of mainstream (watery) beers to choose from, but we want a better value—beer with more taste, alcohol, and originality (and I think at this point, our parents do too).  Besides giving us a better bang for our buck, craft beer and micro brew beer (“indie” beer) have more personality than mass market beer.  Exotic backdrops, expressive characters, and bold text give us something other than a brand name to look at (and think about) as we sip our beer.  While the majority still drinks mass-market beer, more and more millennials are opting for the “indie” beer over the mainstream stuff.  Even PBR is losing its charm.

Many of the indie beer labels are quirky and allude to pop-culture, but some also display themes that resonate with us at a deeper level.  They reflect our generation’s curiosities and humor, but also what we are most preoccupied with—history, politics, and the future to name a few.

21st Amendment Brewery is a brewery from San Francisco that gets us.  It proudly reps the community it grew out of, markets its mission rather than its brand, and “celebrates the right to be original,” which is of utmost concern to us millennials.  Unlike Coors, which “stubbornly refuses to compromise, since 1873,” indie beer companies like 21st Amendment have adapted to the tastes, preferences, and values of our generation. Despite not having a clearly defined ‘mission’ like many other indie breweries, they are mission-driven. Take a look at the banner on their homepage and you’ll see that 21st amendment cares about many of the same things as millennials–originality, substance (more hops!), people’s rights, and freedom!

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 11.07.32 AMIt cleverly lays out the history of prohibition in San Francisco and sends us the message that hoarding hops is not cool.  21st Amendment is proclaiming that people have the “right to hoppy, aromatic beer.”  This indie brewery doesn’t trust the establishment and doesn’t wants to skimp the consumers.

Indie designs are visually appealing, but they also tend to highlight ideas that resonate with millennials.  Although 21st Amendment is primarily driven by the desire to give people hoppier, more original beer, their designs also allude to controversial themes like evolution, exploration, war, liberty, and women. Their designs reimagine historic icons and events and reflect our “obsession with nostalgia” as well as our cynicism towards politics.  These examples draw from the old, but put a modern, millennial spin on it:

On the left, 21st Amendment pays homage to one of history’s “unsung, unwitting heroes”. In the center, Back in Black features Paul Revere on a motorcycle instead of a horse, showing us “the more aggressive American version.” On the right, Lady Liberty, who “stands for independence and perseverance,” has followed manifest destiny to the west and is gazing reflectively from the Golden Gate Bridge.

On the left, 21st Amendment pays homage to one of history’s “unsung, unwitting heroes”.
In the center, Back in Black features Paul Revere on a motorcycle instead of a horse, showing us “the more aggressive American version.” On the right, Lady Liberty, who “stands for independence and perseverance,” has followed manifest destiny to the west and is gazing reflectively from the Golden Gate Bridge.

Besides giving us food for thought with every hoppy sip, “Indie” beer companies tend to use an old-timey, oddball design aesthetic that appeals to our time warped “hipster” generation.  The indie brands are winning over customers for other reasons too, further cramping the mass-market beer companies’ style.  Millennials tend to trust the local mission-driven businesses over the large mainstream “uncompromising” ones.  Moreover, we are increasingly drawn to businesses that serve the environmental, social, and economic interests of the communities they operate in.

Marketing for the Common Good

We are rejecting some of the old (even the more environmentally friendly Fiats), but we’re also putting new spins on the things we want to see more of in the future (like beer!).  And when we do shell out the cash, we want what we buy to reflect who we are.

Thanks to our internet savviness and unlimited access to information, we millennials are learning about and reflecting on history and current events.  We are also reflecting on our position in the whole scheme of things.  Though we are worried about the future, we are taking advantage of our purchasing power.  By reflecting more on what we buy, we are discovering products with more substance.  We are also ushering indie or local businesses into the millennial mainstream and helping to resuscitate and diversify markets that we care about.  Companies that rely more on brand recognition than innovation must now show us something more original. Moreover, by not spending in other markets, like homes, cars, and on other big items, millennials are helping everybody rethink the way we’ve been gobbling up the environment.

Like Guenther Media, millennials will continue to care about the common good and we will press on even if companies like Coors remain uncompromising.  Guenther Media likes the way millennials–and the “indie” businesses that attract them–are shaking things up.  It also understands how to effectively communicate with millennials, which is probably why we wanted to be a part of the team.

-Wendie and Hannah

Here are the sources that helped inspire this piece:

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The Guenther Projection Room

Guenther projection room

Before Guenther Media, I was primarily a film viewer. I sat in movie theaters, consuming images and sounds without much thought to how or why some stories stuck more than others. I had grown comfortable with my role as spectator (especially after recliners replaced the shabby old seats).

I was once curious about the glowing window behind the seats where the movie came from. Walking into Guenther Media was like shrinking into my 4-year-old self, sneaking out of the theater, and finding the ‘staff only’ door unlocked.

Finding the projection room, I see a handful of people working on machines and pressing buttons. One of the guys waves me over, and starts explaining how all the parts work together to send frames of light onto the screen. I cast my eyes toward the window and follow the light. I set my hand on the projector and feel the heat from the vent. I can still see the movie from up here, but the shuffling feet and the hum of the projectors drown out the audio track. This is an entirely different side of the same movie.  

Until recently, I had forgotten what initially excited me about film. I didn’t always go to the movies to sit in a cushy chair and watch a story unfold for me. I also wanted to get out of my seat and look behind the screen.

From my new vantage point in the projection room, I can better see how various parts and systems are working together to transmit and scatter light and energy. I have learned about cameras, microphones, editing software, and other technical aspects of the job, but I have also seen how visual communication works at a conceptual level.

After weeks of meeting with clients and planning, shooting and editing films, I no longer feel like the typical movie consumer. I’ve made it into the projection room—a place most people don’t get to see. In reality, I’ve gotten to see even more than my metaphor can show. I’ve participated in the many stages before the actual projection room. Each stage requires effective behavioral strategy, communication, collaboration, an understanding of the big picture, and a whole lotta creativity.

The real story starts long before people take their seats in the theater—and often long before someone decides it should be told. Since becoming familiar with Guenther Media projects, I’ve started to think more about what it takes to create a compelling film. In order to transmit the intended message, storytellers must arrange and fuse together the many pieces of a story.

Guenther Media builds compelling stories that move people and that stick. I don’t know how all the parts fit and work together yet, but I like the idea of tinkering around with them. I wouldn’t be able to do much in the projection room without Kurt and Sam, but I feel lucky to have been let in.


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A Snapshot Of Our Work

A new client recently asked for a snapshot of our work. As we were looking back at projects, I was reminded that we are very fortunate guys.

Every one of the clients we’ve partnered with shares our values and is making a difference in the world.

Their conviction fuels ours.

This year, we’ve won another half dozen national awards for excellence in film and television, and last year, our work for Jay Inslee, funded by SEIU, did extremely well — more than 300,000 views of one film alone.

We’re doing work we love for people we love.  We want to do more of it. A lot more of it. We want to grow so that we can say yes to poor progressives, risk-loving entrepreneurs and regional candidates in the future. That’s where our heart is.

Our sweet spot is film and television strategy, execution and distribution — broadcast, cable and through social media.  We understand people. We understand issues. We know how to deliver authentic, provocative stories that get results. 

We also provide branding, design and press and speech coaching because once you’ve got a powerful story, you want to be sure it’s equally powerful across an integrated message campaign.  So for more than 25 years, we’ve helped clients weave it all together — and win.

We want to have coffee with you. You don’t have to have an immediate project to be insightful.  We’ll give you a call and see if you have time.

If you would like to see some of recent spots, check out the film page. For a quick look, watch our reel below.

Hope to do a little scheming together soon!


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Meet Jacqueline!

jaq 2Hi, I’m Jacqueline. I just finished my third year at Chapman University where I am double majoring in Sociology and Socially Responsive Organizations, and minoring in Ethnomusicology. I was born in Canada, grew up in Dallas, went to high school in the Seattle area, and attend college in Southern California. Viewing different places as home throughout my life has been a crucial part of my identity. It has provided me with an understanding and appreciation for regional culture, and the ability to be extremely adaptable.

My passion for helping others started in high school when I had the opportunity to travel to rural Uruguay to work with a community and teach at their elementary school. Although it’s a cliché statement, the program and trip, which I participated in twice, actually changed my life. Afterwards I gained a direction for what I wanted to do.

Therefore, going into college I knew I wanted to help others and have an impact. I picked sociology as my major, and instantly fell in love with the field. It has made me view and analyze the world in an entirely new way, and I am endlessly fascinated by social forces, processes, and theories. It addresses and analyzes the causes and social issues I am passionate about, but at the same time, I feel that it does not always offer strategies for how to practically solve these issues.

Thus I designed my own major in Socially Responsive Organizations as an interdisciplinary program that will provide me with the skills I need to apply what I learn in sociology in a variety of areas. Long term, I want to work in business that improves lives. I have discovered that for profit organizations that use their activities as a catalyst for social change can take a plethora of forms, and are gaining momentum. I am deeply fascinated by them all, which is where Guenther Creative comes in.

I am beyond excited to be here this summer. I am thrilled that I will be exposed to a variety of organizations that deal with a range of causes, and that I will have a role in various projects that will allow me to make an impact. I am eager to learn more about film, marketing, branding, and the specific social issues effecting the Seattle area.

There is nothing I am more passionate about than the intersection of business and social science. I believe that just as social scientists need practical skills, marketers also need a deeper understanding of people and social forces. I think Guenther Creative shares this view with me through their relationships with their clients and commitment to accurately representing their messages. They put people first in their quest for improving the common good.

I would describe myself as curious, an abstract thinker, easily inspired and driven, and highly introverted. I am an only child, a dual citizen of the Canada and the US, and have traveled to over twenty countries. I absolutely love school, but when I am not in school, I can usually be found simply relaxing with family and friends, or halfway across the world exploring a new city. I love driving, people watching, crafting, and all sorts of music. I am known among family and friends for being obsessed with the color pink, telling long-winded stories, and eating nearly anything.


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Meet Wendie

wendie blog pic4 (1)

My name is Wendie and I am excited to be joining the team as Guenther Media’s newest intern! Growing up in the beloved sunny city of Seattle for 18 years, I was ready for a change of scenery when it came time for college. I chose Berkeley, where I am currently in the midst of choosing my intended course of study. I find myself interested in everything from political science to computer programming, but alas, will be forced to declare a major (or two) by the end of the year.

As someone who enjoys reading and watching films, I have always been interested in the power of narrative, which is why I found Guenther Media’s combination of social action, film and business so appealing. I enjoy the novelty and the chance for exploration that this internship experience offers. During this internship, I hope to further progressive causes, from environmental conservation to fighting poverty, through social media and Guenther Media’s  strategy, design and film work.

During those precious pockets of spare time, I enjoy reading, spending time with my family, collecting postcards, playing tennis, and going on adventures.

For the next few months, I am excited to have this opportunity to learn, explore, and help create meaningful narratives with Guenther Media.

Fun Fact: I find lemurs strange and aesthetically unappealing.


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Meet Hannah

I’ve spent the past four years at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma exploring the Pacific Northwest and studying International Political Economics and Hispanic International Studies (and 1 semester studying abroad in Ecuador!). In the two weeks since graduating, I’ve moved to Seattle and am now posted up at Guenther Media as a new intern. They’ve given me a desk and a line-up of projects they have planned for the summer. More importantly, they’ve given me the space to explore my own interests and the chance to be a part of creating powerful messages that change lives for the better.

I have always been a big-picture thinker and have always relished learning how different fields of study intersect. I strongly believe that understanding multiple perspectives helps us best explain and provide solutions for large-scale social problems like climate change and economic inequality. Lucky for me, I think Guenther Media shares a similar outlook.

Since the weight of school obligations has lifted, I have devoted more of my time to writing, painting, hiking, and going on other adventures both in and out of the city. I’m thrilled to join the team at Guenther Media and participate in telling the kinds of stories that promote inclusion, equality, sustainability, and innovation.




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Hope is Around the Corner


Two conversations stand out today. We were at several locations with big cardboard signs today, working on a film about homelessness. At one location, a guy with a backpack full of culinary textbooks stops us and says, do I look homeless? We said no. He said he was in school and homeless and worked to stay very clean so that he wasn’t treated like a homeless person. He said he went into a restaurant and the waitress said, Oh, let me clean where you’re sitting — a homeless man was just there.

He was upset and also excited that whatever we were connected to might help.

Tonight, the streets down here seem like streams to me. Pretty much calm on the surface but troubled and volatile just beneath that.Later, I kept dropping stuff at another location because I am a klutz. We were all laughing. A guy comes up and says, you think being homeless is funny? We explained, he was sorry. And yet so angry a moment earlier.

And it makes me want to tell everybody who will listen that the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance is the hero in this story. For 25 years, helping create safe, comfortable places to call home, including thousands right downtown.

If you’re feeling like a little hero worship, google those guys and give. Can’t imagine Seattle without them.


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Millennial Marketing

Millennial GraphicAs a generation that consumes more information and goods than any before, Millennials are an important audience to cater to.  Here at GuentherMedia, we’re especially interested in Millennials because they are the rising leaders and entrepreneurs of our time.  I’m also particularly interested because I am a Millennial, as are many of my coworkers.  There’s a lot of speculation right now about our futures, and I’m more than a little curious to see how they turn out.

The importance of Millennials as a 95+ billion strong generation has led GuentherMedia to the creation of a page about engaging them.  We will be launching it soon to share information like this list, a guide for companies looking to market toward the generation (a train we highly recommend jumping aboard).  Our clients often ask us about how to best persuade Millennials, so we’ve compiled a list of what we believe to be the best dos and don’ts.


  • Create opportunities for engagement—Millennials love to co-create in the marketing process, whether through YouTube unboxings, Yelp reviews, or tweeting directly to the companies they love or hate. To ensure their attention for your brand, make sure Millennials can interact with it.
  • Maintain a sense of transparency—because of the level of engagement Millennials seek out, they also expect a certain amount of responsiveness and honesty from their brands. Brands who are honest about the good and the bad will gain more respect from Millennials.
  • Actually have good business practices—in conjunction with transparency goes integrity, and Millennials are all about it. They are demanding more corporate social responsibility and will boycott brands that are not socially or environmentally conscious. Cause marketing is a specific aspect they look for in branding.
  • Non-profits: think outside the box when fundraising—in a recent article from Crossroads, Mike Swenson wrote on the proliferation of unique charity walks and runs that are attracting Millennials.  The Color Run and Tough Mudders are taking the traditional charity walk and turning it on its head with the incorporation of color paint bombs or obstacle courses. Millennials enjoy engagement and are more likely to contribute if a fundraiser is exciting and even a little bit demanding.
  • For-profits: give Millennials something to believe in—this generation knows how to shop and is more likely than previous ones to jump on board with a new, innovative product.  However “new” means nothing if it isn’t high quality, groundbreaking, and/or beneficial to Millennials themselves.  To win them over, you must take risks and show that your brand, product, or service is unique.


  • Do the same ol’, same ol’—like we’ve said, Millennials love innovation and they love to be the first of their friends to try something new.  If you’re utilizing business tactics that were used 20+ years ago, odds are it won’t hit home with them.
  • Rely on logic alone—Millennials have a tendency to look for products and services that go beyond simple functionality. They often look to hedonic criteria as well, considering emotional, symbolic, and subjective attributes and benefits in addition to the functional and economic.
  • Overwhelm or underwhelm their senses—Millennials are, to an extent, walking contradictions. They are impatient, multitasking individuals who seek information and peer affirmation before making decisions. But they can also feel overwhelmed by the information coming at them from all directions. It’s important to strike a balance between the “over the top” and the demure.
  • Forget to reward them—unfortunately, Millennials will switch brands or purchase from a non-favorite company if given additional benefit or offered a discount. They tend to bargain shop or seek out consumer rewards, and if you’re not offering these aspects then they will go elsewhere.
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The Growing Need for Responsible Business

The average citizen is taking an increasingly more active role in holding the businesses they purchase from accountable.  Consumers now have the ability to do this in a variety of ways, such as through applications like Buycott.  The app allows users to scan product bar codes to find out if company business practices conflict with the causes they care for.

Blog 2 Photo

These demands show that there is a potential power shift occurring between businesses and the public.  Cone Communications puts out a report every other year on corporate social responsibility with Echo Research. This year they conducted an online survey of 10,287 consumers in ten major countries.

The survey found that:
– 8 in 10 global consumers expect companies to at least donate products, services, money, or volunteering in support of causes.
– 9 in 10 global consumers are likely to switch brands to one associated with a good cause, given comparable price and quality.

The 2013 Cone CSR report concludes that: “Corporate social responsibility is no longer an option—it is emphatically and indisputably a must-do.”  It is important to note that while the report found an overwhelming demand for better business practices, it also found that just a quarter of those surveyed believed individuals and corporations were making a significant impact on social and environmental issues.

These facts—that corporate social responsibility is a must and that consumers feel there is room for improvement—point to a need that is relevant to any business, large or small. People are showing interest in causes and hoping that companies reflect the same, indicating that businesses of all kinds must be good citizens at their core.

At GuentherMedia, we are lucky enough to work with organizations like MacDonald-Miller, who have found market solutions for the values they believe in. The built environment produces almost half of the CO2 emissions in the U.S.  MacMiller is changing that by making our largest buildings more efficient and more comfortable, and they are saving their customers money in the process.

We would love to help tell your story. Give us a call and we will take you out for coffee. 206-818-0871.

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Introducing Wise!

What do you get when you combine the Woodland Park Zoo with the Seattle Aquarium, Islandwood, the Pacific Science Center, Burke Museum and the Museum of Flight?

You get WISE! The Washington Informal Science Education Consortium. Kind of the Mt. Olympus of science educators in the state. We’re working with them on branding and getting off the ground. On Saturday, we were at the Seattle Science Festival. Very popular booth, showing kids the 66-year-old technology of instant photography. They were mystified by this vintage process! Wise_FestivalPhotoSpread

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Welcome Katie Lohman

Hello!  My name is Katie Lohman, and I’m the shiny new intern here at GuentherMedia.  I’ll be working with the team this summer until I return to school at Emerson College.  I’m a rising senior Marketing Communications major and Sociology minor. I’m leaning toward a public relations/advertising focus.  Truthfully, I’m open to wherever my opportunities take me as long as it has to do with cause marketing and/or non-profit work.

katie for blog

Part of what drew me to GuentherMedia is the fact that the company’s number one value is the “common good.”  This is an essential factor for my future career.  From a young age I’ve toyed with different career paths (psychologist, private investigator, archeologist). I found that throughout high school and now college, I gained the most satisfaction when I’m working towards something I believe in. I’ve helped run Earth Clubs, combated impoverished conditions in a rural village of Guatemala, and am now a president of Emerson’s Alliance for Gays, Lesbians, and Everyone (EAGLE).  Just this past spring, I also realized the interconnectivity all of these causes have with immigration issues when I spent a week in El Paso, Texas as a part of an alternative spring break cultural immersion project.

I stubbornly did not want to pick one issue to fight for at an internship this summer, so I didn’t—instead, I found a place where I could give back to a variety of groups and causes.  Ultimately all of the social and environmental issues I care about relate to each other in some way.  They are about bringing us all together to better the places we share, not dividing us into individual causes.  Contributing to the common good at GuentherMedia is where I hope to apply my skills as a marketer and, ultimately, a community member.

I was so excited when I found GuentherMedia’s site last fall that I immediately started pestering them about when they would begin taking applications.  The company values matched mine, and their mission to give back in their work was the same goal I’ve strived for.  Now I’m here and so excited to see what the next few months hold.  I can tell already that I will be gaining plenty of hands on, practical experience, and I’m eager to contribute to the missions of all of our clients

Did I mention that I’m also a dog person?  Ty and I are good friends already, so I am in heaven!

Here’s to a great summer,

Katie Lohman

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