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05 June 2024

Robot Fodder Vol 10


Is the end really nigh or is it just a matter of perspective?

After the continued disappointment of climate target shortcomings, crippling interest rates, and increasing state retirement age, it’s no surprise that younger generations are shutting off.

We’re at a crossroads of choice where we can live in the now or put our faith in the uncertainty that the future will hold better.

So will it be the red pill or the blue pill? You decide.


At the end of 2020, a Spotify survey found that 73% of Gen Z believe that older generations can’t act as guides to adulthood because too much has changed in the world. The youth openly rejects the generations before them. They identify as individuals and a generation of change, but activism requires optimism. As the doom and gloom of the poly-crisis continues, this weight of responsibility has immobilised Gen Z, replacing proactivity with paralysis.

Millennials on the other hand have been reported as the most optimistic generation, with more than four in five (84%) feeling upbeat about the future (source: The Harris Poll). This underlines the generation’s focus on re-appraising what’s important in life and finding new ways to thrive. The meeting point for these two generations can be found in WGSN’s 2025 future consumer report. WGSN identify the ‘New Nihilists’ as a group seeking solace by stepping back from the world. But it’s not that they’ve given up caring – they’re simply finding that caring less is an effective coping mechanism.

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This "opting-out" mentality applies not only to the climate crisis but also to adulting in general. Buying a house feels impossible and saving for retirement when the future feels wobbly seems like a waste of a life. So doing things that encourage living in the here and now just feels… right. It’s like Gen Z and Millennials collectively decided they don’t want mortgages, they want memories.

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Despite their grim outlook on many financial milestones, Gen Z is credited with being the generation that saves the most, according to a Vanguard study. But with many not seeing themselves ever retiring, what are they saving for? Enter ‘soft saving’: putting less money into the future, and using more of it for the present. This is about more comfort, less stress, and less pressure on the future. Gen Z is interested in living for now and having a better quality of life.

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To appeal to the younger generations, brands should consider two tactics. Firstly, they should help these generations live in the present moment and encourage them to embrace a "why not" attitude towards short-term decisions. Alternatively, break down pessimism by showing that planning for the long term can be beneficial and worthwhile.

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What’s going on?

Warnings From 'Future You’

Nerdwallet’s new campaign features an amusing musical where millennials and Gen Z are presented with “future you”—the you of 2074—who outline their myriad financial regrets in song. They’re pissed off at you for not making the right choices early in life when you had the chance. And now they’re stuck working into their old age, and haven’t enjoyed their golden years.

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Girls Just Wanna Grow Plants

The campaign that celebrates the power of taking a break in the great outdoors, in a world that’s in a constant state of rushing. Taking cues from haute fashion photography, the campaign shows young women dressed in high-end fashion immersed in nature and away from the pressures of the daily grind.

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The Duolingo of Finance

Your Juno is the app aiming to provide a financial education and community for women and non-binary people – and it’s only just getting started. The app that teaches you about money works with progressive and trusted brands to help their 70,000 + members make more, spend less and feel financially confident through all of life’s stages.

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“The world’s changed and we’re done with being sold a dream – we want reality. To resonate with their audience, brands should show consumers how they fit into their everyday lives by tapping into relatable scenarios and common shared experiences. It’s about attainable aspiration, not an unrealistic lifestyle.”

Lizzie de Jong
Senior Copywriter

RF Portraits 2022 Lizzie