Milleniage Advertising: Reconceptualizing Advertising and Its Role in Forming Social Identities.

by: Farah Kaissi and Erwin Amouzou Ametodji

Dr. Jess Vega-Centeno

Ph.D., and Professor in Advertising at the California State University of Fullerton.

We had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Vega regarding her recently released article: “Milleniage Advertising: Reconceptualizing Advertising and Its Role in Forming Social Identities.” This article emphasizes the fact that advertising plays a huge role when it comes to identity. Dr.Vega breaks down each component within the article that goes hand in hand when speaking to a diverse audience. Advertising today tries to reach different facets of the targeted audience through different types of media. 

We started off the interview by asking her as to why she decided to research about race, gender, class, and sexuality. She stated when she was a PhD student she would think about things that she is most passionate about allowing her to see through a different lens as a woman of color, queer and Latina. She also has experience from both sides of the table in the industry; the advertising side and marketing side. This allowed her to gain more knowledge and experience in order to conduct her research. We spoke about the relationship between advertising and the consumer and the adaptation to ads. She stated “that’s an evil cycle” she goes on to explain how it’s truly both parties that have involvement within this cycle of progression. Advertising entities that want to advertise pay attention to what the consumer is doing and what they want and vice versa. They go hand in hand with one another due to advertising being nothing without consumers because it builds that communication between the both, allowing the marketplace to live and breathe.

Speaking of the marketplace, advertising has become more digital throughout the years, with the new generation such as Gen Z has had the reputation of not being well focused with a short attention span. She explains that we can’t predict the future of advertising due to things moving and evolving so quickly. Advertising is not just about the exposure anymore it’s ingrained within our everyday lives, it doesn’t quite involve how intricate an ad should be but well it speaks to the audience and how well the audience connects to it. It should be based on what we say, how we say it, and the way we choose to represent it in selecting the right imagery.

Magana, G. (n.d.). Retailers are adapting to chase millennials and gen Z. Business Insider. Retrieved April 13, 2023, from

She talks about her first experience in the industry that made her start to question how advertising and identifying as a woman of color and Latina meant when her manager at the time ask her to get a Hispanic kid on the ad and when she was teaching in 2010/ 2012 that her students would ask her questions about brands reputations and what they were doing behind the scenes. This made her start teaching from a more critical preceptive.

Her advice: Is to try everything and learn everything, that no one’s first job is going to be the best one straight out of university. That your first job is for you to learn, try different things, humble yourself, grind and figure out what you like and don’t like. This will help you also find out what you’re good at, instead of going with what worked for you during your schooling that would cater to what you’re good at. It’s a process of failure and success. This industry is tough, and to always be good to each other. 

This article emphasizes the fact how we speak to our audience Dr.Vega gives examples of advertising that have changed many things about the industry. The first example is the “Ocean Spray” of a man name Nathan Apodaca making a Tik Tok on a day where his car broke down and he skateboarded to work with an Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice to the tune of “Dreams” by 1970’s rock group Fleetwood Mac. This video not only went viral but gave Ocean Spray the exposure and views plus making the song “Dream By Fleetwood Mac.” hit the top charts that week. Due to Nathan Apodaca being part of the Hispanic community, in October 2020 the brand launched its first national Hispanic marketing campaign titled “ Sabor Unico. Bueno Para Todos™” this all happened because of his authentic video of his everyday life and just living carefree. This video also got him brand deals with Xbox, LG, ASOS, Snoop Dogg’s Indoggo Gin, and Raising Canes. Which opened up many doors for people in his community.

Gen Z: Social Media and shopping habits. SurveyMonkey. (n.d.). Retrieved April 13, 2023, from

Gen z is a generation that consumes the most. especially products proposed and put forward by web influencers. But not just any influencers, it’s influencers that manage to attract this young customers, must correspond to several well defined criteria. The Gen z are attracted by authentic people, who propose content that speaks to them. Influencers have become billboard marketers, spokespersons for the brands that appeal to them. Brands have understood that the new generation has a new way of consuming. In the past everything was done within the company, today other actors are part of the marketing chain. People who make buzz, people who are massively followed are a primordial tool for brands in the world today. Influencers are an important lever for brands, because their support means a lot to the young generation. They are the buyers of tomorrow, they need to feel connected to this or that brand. This is where influencers have their role to play. They are the bridge between brands and young consumers.

Interview with Dr. Vega
We had the lovely opportunity to speak with Dr. Vega about her new article Milleniage Advertising: Reconceptualizing Advertising and Its Role in Forming Social Identities.

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