Pop Secret Has Just Proven that Advertisers Don’t Understand Millennials

Pop Secret Ad
I’m not really sure where Pop Secret was going with this ad, to be honest. Their target market was apparently millennials (so being within that generation I should have understood this, right?) but that’s about all I understood. The gist of the 60-second commercial is that popcorn kernels like to party. They wait in line to get into the microwave/nightclub and then get all sweaty/buttery popping it up to weird electronic dance music. The ad itself is a bit strange, but the fact that they’re obviously trying to get the attention of young people is even stranger, because I think it definitely fell flat.

The first questionable aspect of the ad is its title: MicroRAVE. Cute pun, but has anybody even said the word “rave” since the ’80s? There’s also the disco ball, which is waaay before our time. It seems to me as if Pop Secret wanted to prove that they’re cool with the kids these days. And while that’s definitely a good idea, since we do spend quite a bit of money, it’s important to do it the right way. They’re probably thinking “Hey, the kids love to go out to the club, so let’s make it a rave scene. And they only listen to loud music, let’s find something obnoxious. They also like visual effects, so why don’t we film popcorn in slow motion? They’ll love that!” Not quite.

I also don’t understand why this commercial (even if it did appeal to millennials) would entice someone to buy popcorn. Because when would someone want to buy microwave popcorn? When they want to stay home and watch a movie. Yet this ad seems like it’s encouraging people to go out and party, where they certainly wouldn’t be popping some Pop Secret. So to me this proves that the only strategy behind this ad was to get the attention of the millennials, and apparently the only way they knew how to do that was to follow the stereotype that all kids love to party. I’m surprised the kernels weren’t twerking or taking selfies.

To be fair, not all advertisers misunderstand this generation. I’m only picking on Pop Secret because they’re the most recent example. But it does raise the issue about how advertisers are supposed to reach a generation they don’t understand. And it doesn’t help that many of us millennials are suspicious of advertising and can see through some of the attempts to get to us. But I think that’s part of the reason why advertising is so fun, because it’s half business and half psychology. And while most companies have the business part down pat, some of them still struggle with the psychology–especially when it comes to millennials.

Take a look at the commercial in question, and let me know what you think of the MicroRAVE. Do you think it works well to reach young people? Or is it only showing how much they don’t get us?





  1. Reblogged this on Drempt and commented:
    This was an interesting way to have a snack food relate to the young party culture, but I do have to say “Microrave” is a cute play on words. Popcorn and dance clubs don’t typically go hand in hand, but kernels waiting in line to join the popping party is pretty clever.

    1. I agree, “Microrave” did make me chuckle. I wonder if somebody thought up that term and then decided to build an entire commercial around it. And the waiting kernels were also a nice touch. Not sure it really made up for the rest of the ad, but those were a couple of bright spots.

      Thanks for the comment and the reblog! 🙂

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