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Put Your Phone Down

Today’s younger generations are constantly being told to get off of their phones, stop texting, and pay attention to the people they’re spending time with. Whether it’s from their parents or teachers, Gen Z are frequently criticized for spending excessive amounts of time on their cell phones and other devices (Gen Y aren’t far behind in the sometimes inappropriate behavior either).

The relentless discouragement doesn’t seem to have too much of an effect on their screen time, however. The fact of the matter is that teens and young adults rely heavily on technology, especially cell phones. Imagine a day where you lose your alarm clock, watch, to do list, address book, radio, camera, email, GPS and weather forecast… all at once.  This is what a mobile dependent Millennial would face if you were to take away their smartphone, otherwise known as their fifth limb. cell phone graphic

The dependency that Millennials place on their technology is unlike any other generation, but can you really blame them?  They were born into an already digitized age where newer, faster, and easier versions of technology are being pushed out each and every day.  While the constantly changing technological landscape may be overwhelming to business owners and marketing professionals looking to keep pace, there is an immeasurable amount of opportunity for brand promotion.

UNICEF took advantage of the fact that smart-phone users are incredibly active on their devices and challenged them to refrain from tapping for a cause.  The idea was that the longer people kept their phone inactive, the more money would be donated to provide clean water and proper sanitation to children around the world. For every 10 minutes spent away from the user’s cell phone, measured by an app made available for download, UNICEF provided clean water for a child for a day. With nearly 40% of the world’s population affected by water scarcity according to the Water Footprint Network, this project was an amazing way to utilize the reliance on technology for the greater good. UNICEF took a creative angle to leveraging Millennials’ heavy cell phone use and appealed to their desire to make a positive impact.

Every day presents new challenges for brands to find ways of using technology to connect with Millennials so they don’t get lost in the flurry of Tweets and Facebook posts. What better way than to follow in UNICEF’s footsteps? Nothing wrong with creating a little friendly competition of who can go the longest without needing to respond to something on their phone at a function, gathering or dinner party. Would you be up to the challenge?