It’s no secret that home ownership is the millennial generation's white whale. And as that age group slouches into their 30s—the decade of marriage and babies and real estate—cities and states are doing their darndest to lure young adults out of metropolises with the specter of a front lawn and parking.
The latest burg to throw its name into the hat is south-suburban Homewood—and it's doing so with a series of hilarious CTA ads portraying the city as a Portlandia-grade hipster utopia.
I am wholly obsessed with these ads—and it's got nothing to do with Homewood. The 20,000-person village seems like a perfectly nice place to raise kids, and it almost certainly offers more amenities than city-dwellers give it credit for.
Rather, it’s the ad campaign’s impression of millennials that slays me.
Each advertisement features a four-panel comic strip sketched by Homewood resident Marc Alan Fishman and, per the campaign's website, "based on actual Homewood residents and events." In the comics, young adults clad in funky glasses and patrol caps air complaints about the bustle of city life and marvel at the livability of newfangled paradise Homewood.
That's all fine and good. But what makes these ads remarkable is the way they bash viewers over the head with millennial stereotypes, including:
- Farmers markets
- Buying avocados at farmers markets
- Off-hand references to kombucha
- Parenting a six-year-old child named “Zen”
- Brunch—wait, sorry, farm-to-table brunch
- Setting iPhone alarms
- The word “artisan”
- A woman wearing a #LoveGoals t-shirt speaking to another wearing a “The Future Is Female” t-shirt
- Racial diversity!
- Exclaiming “FRAK!” in times of crisis (?)
- Chicken ownership
- The outlandish dream of having a savings account
Take a look for yourself:
Whether intentional or not, the ads read as though the copywriter behind them first heard about millennials in a USA Today op-ed about Hillary voters—written by a Baby Boomer. The series taps into the generation's fear of growing old without a security net with the subtlety of a Cubs World Series parade.
At times, the ad campaign even feels like it’s mocking Gen Y as well. Are young people really so easy to parody? The answer, apparently, is yes. The pandering is unabashed, and strangely, it brings me deep joy.
Yes, to Chicagoans, an affordable town with solid schools sounds incredible—and why wouldn't it? As real estate prices creep upward and once-affordable neighborhoods—like “Wicker-Humboldt-Pilsen," as this ad campaign puts it—inch out of reach, it's possible Gen Y-ers will settle in affordable suburbs like Homewood. And honestly, good for them. All I ask is that in the interim, these comics go down in history like Archie, right down to the sexy, Riverdale-esque CW reboot 40 years later. Let’s cheers our locally sourced kombucha to that.