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How to advertise to millennial parents

Millennials. The generation every brand wants to win over.

Millennials are unique, they’re tech savvy, highly educated and they’re currently the largest generation in Canada, representing 27.5% of the population, or 10 million people, according to Nielsen.

They’ll dominate Canada’s future (and future purchasing power).

With the oldest nearing their 40s, Millennial Moms and Dads are redefining the role of parents and breaking down stereotypes; and just as they’re changing the roles and expectations of their generation, marketers should also adapt the way they communicate with millennial parents.

In this post, we offer some insights on the millennial ‘voice’, break down some typical stereotypes, and show you some brands who are
doing it right when it comes to advertising to millennial parents.

The Millennial Voice

1. We’re not all the same

The term ‘Millennial’ was first used by authors William Strauss and Neil Howe in Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069, to describe people who would be entering the workforce around the year 2000.

Millennials are also called Generation Y, and were born somewhere between 1980 and 2000. Because there’s some flexibility around those
dates, this generation spans people in a variety of life stages, from students entering post-secondary education to young professionals, parents, and homeowners.

In Canada, this generation represents the most diverse generation in our history in terms of ethnicity, religion, and nationality, but also in terms of lifestyle and values. Millennials have overtaken baby boomers as the single biggest generation in the workplace. They’re changing company culture as well as traditional consumer habits.

Some millennials make more money than their parents, but the difference in income between rich and poor is greater than it was in
previous generations. Younger millennials may still be living with their
parents, while older ones are parents themselves.

The Environics Institute argues against lumping an entire generation into one single group, and rather segments millennials into smaller groups—‘tribes’—with specific social values (and consumer interests).

Marketing to smaller sub-segmented groups makes sense given
the wide range of life stages this generation can be in and their typical tribe persona.

2. We’re not your typical parents

Parents make up more than 40% of the millennial generation, and break down stereotypical gender roles as parents. Dads are more involved than ever, just as active as moms, and take active steps to learn to connect with their children, watching more parenting-related videos on YouTube, for example.

Millennial women have a more level playing field and are working in more traditionally male-dominated industries. Moms aren’t just parents; they’re also working professionals who engage in hobbies and passions.

According to Google insights, parents:

  • Prefer more intimate and less hierarchical parenting roles than their own parents
  • Want an open dialogue with their children
  • See their children as their best friends
  • Involve their children in household decisions
  • Incorporate their kids into their passions and hobbies

3. We look for authenticity

The ‘parenting’ label is just one part of a millennial’s identity. Millennials are tech-savvy and seen to be individualistic, craving meaningful and authentic experiences at work and at home.

Research shows millennials don’t like being the target of advertising but respond to brand authenticity and direct, simple ads. They respond to brands that reflect their values.

This gives marketers a chance to be creative, encouraging
engagement with millennial parents, establishing trust, and building bridges between their brand’s values and those of millennials.

4. We like a helping hand

Millennial parents want to do things differently than their own parents; they’re more open to advice and getting help from experts and thought-leaders. Millennials are loyal brand shoppers, and welcome branded content, if authentic and relevant to their values.

Brands can take advantage of this by providing answers and guidance to young parents in their advertising and establishing themselves as experts in their field.

5. We keep in touch through social

Millennial parents were the first generation of early adopters of digital technology, and heavily embrace social media. In Canada, 91% of millennials in 2018 had at least one social media account.

For this generation, communicating with smartphones, apps, and social media is second-nature, as is buying online. According to Hubspot, millennial parents are more likely to be influenced by blogs or social media sites than advertising. 

Brands who want to reach out to this generation can make
themselves more accessible and trustworthy by using social media and linking digital marketing or traditional advertising to social media campaigns.

6. We like to share

Millennials, with their dependence on social media, trust their peers and share what they love: 90% of them will share their favourite brands with their peers or buy a product after hearing about it from friends.

If a brand can establish good credibility with millennial
parents, there’s a good chance they’ll be influencing more than one family.

7. You can reach out to us through out-of-home advertising

It may seem counter-intuitive, but reaching out to millennial parents over through out-of-home (OOH) advertising makes perfect sense.

Traditional TV, radio, and digital ads are becoming less effective in reaching millennials, who are increasingly canceling their TV
subscriptions, streaming their music, and blocking their browser ads.

OOH isn’t as intrusive as other ad mediums. OOH ads can’t be blocked or muted online advertising. With brief attention spans of millennials of a mere 12 seconds, OOH can also deliver a powerful punch, relying as they do on brief, clear messaging.

According to a recent study, OOH is the favoured medium for advertising for millennials, beating television, radio, and newspapers. 

OOH allows brands to build direct-to-consumer engagement, building credibility with authentic advertising that resonates with Canadian millennial parents. Effectively using a blended strategy with OOH advertising gives brands a chance to rise above the noise and see their ROI increase with millennial parents.

This is particularly true if you’re advertising in locations with a high dwell time. Case in point,  a 2016 Study conducted by the Strategic Marketing Council showed that 84% of people spend approximately 30 minutes in the arena watching hockey or on-ice activities.

So if you’re purchasing Rinkboards from Rec Media – or any of our arena advertising products – your audience will be exposed to your ads for an extended period of time.

Who’s doing it right with millennial


Check out  Dove’s Men+Care campaign—which made headlines—of a compilation of real videos of men finding out they’re going to become fathers.


Audi’s #DriveProgress ad hit a note with viewers of the Superbowl, aligning their values with their target audience’s.

American Eagle

American Eagle gave up photoshopping in lingerie ads in a bid to show more authenticity, and sales increased as a result: #AerieREAL

Over to you

How about you? If you’re marketing to millennials, how is that going for you? Have you found our tips helpful? If you need a little more guidance on reaching millennial parents when they’re outside their homes, we’d love to hear from you.

And if you found this post helpful, please let us know by signing up to our email list.


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Bio Coming Soon....


As campaign research and support coordinator, Jacob is responsible for the coordination and implementation of campaign execution strategies. Jacob does this by regularly taking part in creative contract negotiation solutions, as well as assisting in the management of stakeholder relationships and inventory tracking systems.

Jacob was born and raised in Calgary and attended Mount Royal University, where he graduated with a degree in Sociology. In his free time Jacob can most likely be found playing/watching soccer or just spending as much time as possible enjoying the outdoors.


Gabe is an Account Director for SK & MB and has a passion for helping people. Born in Romania and immigrated to Canada when he was 5. Travelled and moved from one coast of Canada to the other. He has also spent some time in Oregon going to school, playing tennis and soccer - Go Ducks!
His background started 25 years ago in telemarketing all the way to owing his own DOOH business. He is a highly motivated individual that prides himself on being honest, having integrity and helping others. He is an organized self-starter capable of setting goals, objectives and meeting or exceeding them. As well, sales orientated and have astute knowledge in the industry of advertising, marketing, customer relations and strategic planning.
Gabe has had the pleasure of managing accounts from small to medium size businesses up to large corporations and agencies; there is not a business that he cannot handle.

Gabe has a very interesting story about a life changing incident and would love to share that with you; don’t be shy to ask. Actually, don’t be shy to ask Gabe anything as a father of four he has heard them all.
When Gabe is not in the office he enjoys being with his girlfriend, kids and being outdoors. He loves to play tennis, golf, go fishing and being active; anything outdoors is where you will find him and if not then he’ll be at home watching sports, movies or playing cards with his friends.


Glenda is an account director with a background in sales and market research. Her passion lies in audience research and finding the best way to reach consumers. With Rec Media, that can be through large national campaigns focused on brand awareness, or local place-based media initiatives focused on regional sales. With over 15 years in the industry, she has partnered closely with a wide variety of clients, including: small non-profits, local government agencies, finance, insurance, retail, restaurant and auto service businesses. In her free time she loves to spend time outdoors, whether that is enjoying time at the beach or trail running on the North Shore.


As the Sales Assistant and Marketing Coordinator, Kyle helps sales operations run smoothly and spearheads Rec Media’s marketing initiatives. Kyle works closely with the VP of Sales to streamline reporting, presentations, client experience and more!
Born and raised in Calgary, Kyle graduated with a BBA majoring in Marketing from the University of Regina. When not at work, you can find him coaching hockey, volunteering at the local film festival, or traveling.


Luiz is originally from Brazil, where he obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. When he is not crunching numbers at work, he loves to travel the world with his family and watch his favourite soccer team, Atletico Mineiro.


As the Senior Accountant, Renata’s responsibilities include reconciling account balances and bank statements, maintaining general ledger and assist with tax returns.

Renata works hard to oversee general accounting operations by controlling and verifying the financial transactions, in an effort to ensure accuracy and effectiveness in all of Rec Media’s accounting tasks.

Originally from Prague, Czech Republic – Renata has close to 20 years of accounting experience with a thorough knowledge of accounting principles to analyze financial reports and forecasts.

When she’s not working, you’ll find Renata hanging out with her three boys (mostly in hockey arenas) or enjoying Canada’s beautiful forests and scenery.


As a member of the leadership team, Karen helps set direction for Rec Media’s business development. Her background in business strategy, with expertise in sales and marketing, makes her contributions focused on the company’s brand integrity, customer relationships, client innovations, and partnership development.

Previous experience includes business development and sales/marketing management with a variety of companies, including CTV, RedPoint Media, and Canada Wide Media. She now runs a successful consulting practice and is proud to include Rec Media as a favorite.

Karen is happiest working with a team, guiding everyone toward the corporate vision. Her career and life journey has taken her from Saskatoon to Toronto, then Calgary, Vancouver, and now back in Calgary where she spends most of her time with her large, exuberant, very active, and extremely close circle of family and friends.


Christophe is a Financial and Operational Consultant/Entrepreneur who is skilled at navigating organizations through change, achieving increased efficiencies and bottom line results. Christophe is an engaging entrepreneurial team-builder combining strategic, analytical and creative approaches to solution development and implementation.

His specialties include mergers and acquisitions, financing, process reengineering, forecasting and budgeting, Management Practices, Communications, Performance Improvement, Strategic Planning, Change Management, Mentoring & Coaching Staff, Radio and TV Broadcast Media operations and Team building.


David Sedgwick is a managing director with Balmoral Wood Alternatives which designs, invests in and manages global alternative investment strategies.

David has an extensive background in capital deployment and management related to real estate, infrastructure, energy and non-correlated alternative asset categories, as well as general corporate finance expertise across a variety of mid-market manufacturing, services, real estate, energy and alternate asset industries.

David is actively interested in alternative investment opportunities for institutional grade investors.


Amanda has extensive experience in both media strategy and broadcasting, with a solid track record of leading businesses and teams through complex environments. Amanda is skilled in Digital Strategy, Integrated Marketing, Advertising, and Business Development; and has held senior leadership roles in organizations such as Cossette, MediaCom and Shaw Communications.

She is a savvy industry veteran who intimately understands the needs of both advertisers and consumers.


Stéfan is Chief Talent Officer & CEO at Mandrake Human Capital which operates in the Search, Career Transition, Leadership Development, and Onboarding/Executive Acceleration.

Mandrake has recruited more than 10,000 executives in Canada and is one of the country’s largest firm in its sector. A graduate from McGill University, he started his career as a marketer at Procter & Gamble before joining Mandrake as a Consultant. He became Partner in 1991, and CEO in 1999. He is also is Executive Director of IMD, Mandrake’s 30 country strong global partnership.

Stéfan has led hundreds of executive engagements in Finance, Sales, HR, Marketing, Communications, and Strategy for various service, not-for-profit, and manufacturing companies.

He is an expert on the issues surrounding the changing face of human capital in today’s market, and a leader in creating and structuring competitive advantages for clients.


As Account Manager and Venue Partnerships, Brian consults directly with businesses to grow their brands and reach the communities they serve through our recreational facility network and advertising platforms. Additionally, Brian works with our venues to ensure the highest level of long-term success for both our clients and venue partners.

Originally from Saskatchewan, Brian has called Calgary home for over 30 years, most of which in the Calgary media landscape in radio broadcasting, print, OOH, and digital advertising.  Brian's knowledge of our venue audience and expertise in advertising platforms, campaign planning and brand development is a valuable resource for our clients.

Brian and his wife, Joy, have two teenage boys that keep them entertained.  When Brian's not working, you’ll still find him at the local rink enjoying his kid's hockey games, spending a weekend away camping or playing golf at the nearest golf course!


As Senior Account Manager, Mirza helps brands connect with their local community in recreational facilities.

Mirza works hard to ensure that he fulfills his client’s key marketing communications ethos day in and day out.
Prior to immigrating to Canada, Mirza obtained an MBA in Marketing & Sales from Amity Business School and worked with companies throughout India, UAE and Mauritius, managing advertising campaigns at various levels across the OOH and traditional media domain.

When Mirza is not working, you’ll find him travelling the world with his wife, playing cricket, watching Lawn Tennis and sharpening his singing skills.


As the VP of Sales, National, Jeff oversees the Rec Media sales team and works directly with corporate and agency accounts to grow their brands strength and integrity in the community recreational facility landscape.  He’s passionate about helping businesses uniquely connect with local communities in over 5,000 facilities across Canada.

Jeff grew up on a farm in Southern Alberta, has an MBA from the University of Calgary, and has 20 years’ experience leading sales teams within the broadcasting, digital media, and software industries.

When Jeff’s not working, you’ll find him boating with his wife and three kids, working on his classic Mustang fastback or playing a tune on the piano.


As the Accounting Clerk, Taylor’s responsibilities include collecting and posting accounts receivable invoices, verifying and processing accounts payable, as well as assisting in daily accounting operations.

Originally from Mountain View, Alberta – Taylor graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelors of Commerce majoring in Accounting. When she’s not working, you can find Taylor enjoying the outdoors with her husband, riding horses on her family ranch or curled up with a good book.


As Operations Team Lead, Allie is responsible for overseeing the execution of advertising campaigns by liaising with both the client and recreational facilities that the advertising is placed in.

Allie works hard to ensure that clients’ media requirements are accurately and timeously executed; while developing and maintaining key relationships with recreation facilities across Canada.

Allie was born and raised in Calgary and graduated from the University of Victoria with a major in Sociology and minor in Business. While in University, Allie studied abroad in Utrecht, The Netherlands. When she’s not working, you can find her on the Padel courts, watching movies, or traveling.


As the Senior Accountant, Renata’s responsibilities include reconciling account balances and bank statements, maintaining general ledger and assist with tax returns.

Renata works hard to oversee general accounting operations by controlling and verifying the financial transactions, in an effort to ensure accuracy and effectiveness in all of Rec Media’s accounting tasks.

Originally from Prague, Czech Republic – Renata has close to 20 years of accounting experience with a thorough knowledge of accounting principles to analyze financial reports and forecasts.

When she’s not working, you’ll find Renata hanging out with her three boys (mostly in hockey arenas) or enjoying Canada’s beautiful forests and scenery.


As a Media Project Coordinator, Ashley works on liaising with clients and various recreation facilities to help businesses reach the communities they serve.

Ashley works hard to ensure that the client is completely satisfied with the end result and the advertisement looks exactly how they pictured.

Originally from Birmingham, England – Ashley has one year of experience in the media advertising industry.
When he’s not working, you’ll find Ashley working out, playing hockey or just about every other sport.


As the Ski Advertising Sales Consultant for the Quebec region, Sylvie helps local businesses connect with desirable audiences in some of Canada’s most sought after ski resorts.

Originally from St-Sauveur, Quebec, Sylvie has spent many years on the ski hills (since she was 3 years old!) and knows her territory all too well. Her 20+ years in the sales and marketing field has enabled her to understand the specific needs for each of her clients.

When she is not working you will find her at the many sporting competitions (soccer, skiing and volleyball to name a few) her four children are involved in! She likes to ski, go for walks in the woods with her hubby and enjoys a delicious latte to kick start her day!


As the Senior Account Manager for Calgary and the surrounding areas, Dianna’s primary objective is to help businesses reach and connect with desirable audiences in community sports and recreation environments.

Dianna works hard to ensure that she has an understanding of her client’s business needs in an effort to determine their best fit to fulfill their campaign marketing goals.

Originally from Edmonton, Alberta – Dianna has over 20 years of sales experience across a variety of industries.

When she’s not working, you’ll find Dianna traveling to tropical destinations and indulging in her favorite pastime, paddle boarding. She also loves to be creative, painting with acrylics or just relaxing with a good book and a nice glass of wine.


As the VP of Sales, Eastern Canada, Mary K works with corporate advertising agencies and clients in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. Having worked in the out-of-home advertising space for 20 years she understands the effectiveness of the medium and recognizes that Rec Media provides advertisers with a unique advantage to “give back” to communities!

Mary K is passionate about building relationships and developing partnerships within the industry. By promoting Rec Media’s community recreational network and providing corporate social responsibility solutions to marketers across Canada she is excited for what the future will bring.

Mary K is truly living the Rec Media story. She loves to ski with her family, play basketball in the driveway and spends the majority of her winter in hockey arenas across the GTA watching her son work towards his NHL dream!


As the Office Manager/EA, Judy provides administrative support to the CEO as well as the entire team. Judy juggles everything from people to pens; and uses her extensive experience and organizational skills help keep the Rec Media engine running! In addition to organizing meetings, training sessions and other team events; she assists the IT and Accounting Department with various daily tasks.

Judy’s experience and many years with the company enable her to effectively assist the team and ensure they have everything they need. Needless to say; she has become the natural go-to for her colleagues.

Originally from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan – Judy’s prior experience has primarily been in Retail Management.

When she’s not working, you’ll find Judy spending time with her family, attending live performances or creating her own fun!


As President and CEO, Troy’s role touches on just about everything in the organization. A serial entrepreneur, he loves (much to the chagrin of his staff) to have his fingers in everything!

Thankfully, over the years he’s gotten much better at empowering and trusting the capable people on his team to do the job they were hired to do. He still manages to keep a pulse on and provide insight on all things marketing, sales, operations, IT and even accounting – just from a little farther distance than before. Troy works hard to ensure that his oversight and guidance resources and supports everyone in their role, without crossing over into the realms of micromanagement, nor abdication.

Originally born in La Belle Province (Montreal), and having spent several of his younger years in southwestern Ontario (Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto), Troy now resides full-time in Calgary, with frequent trips between the Calgary head office and Rec Media’s offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Troy has had the privilege of residing in all four of the great Canadian cities where our offices are located.

With almost 25 years’ experience in the marketing and advertising industry, Troy frequently jokes that he “started when he was 12”. But he loves the industry and wouldn’t rather be anywhere else.

When Troy is not working, you’ll find him out swimming or riding his bike, or just hanging out with his wife and 3 kids eating great food and drinking even better wine (hence the need for the biking and swimming!), and tackling the never ending list of amazing places to see and visit on this beautiful planet.