Fullscreen Culture Hot Takes — Young Generations Then & Now: From Polaroids to Memes

1969 – 

Everyone can picture the cover of Abbey Road, the last album released by The Beatles. We can all quote Neil Armstrong saying, “that’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” when he set foot on the moon. Tales of the draft and the Vietnam war—and protests against it—have been told in family rooms and classrooms alike. Each of these momentous occasions in history took place five decades ago, in 1969.

Another historical event that year brought a crowd of more than 400,000 to upstate New York from August 15-18 for a weekend filled with 34 performances, including Janis Joplin, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, and other big names.

In light of the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, Fullscreen’s Cultural Forecasting team took a look at what has changed since Baby Boomers were a young generation then to Millennials now. And despite the broadband, mobile, and social revolution that today’s youth have experienced, Woodstock’s tenets of “peace & music” are still driving forces for young generations today. 


In opposition to the stereotypes of Millennials as entitled youth going through life expecting hand-outs, we found that they chose words like “independence” to describe their generation. Like the Boomers of 1969, they are disrupting preconceived societal standards and forming their own legacy. Then and now, music festivals offer a place for young generations to exert their independence from the system by coming together on a plane outside of the daily grind; 57% of 18-34-year-olds say live music (e.g., concerts, festivals, etc.) greatly impacts their lives, as discovered in our recent TBH survey.*

In tracking the trends over the years and exploring the differences between Boomers and Millennials, Fullscreen found just as many similarities that have simply morphed in response to the times, whether fueled by present-day tech, politics, or fashion. Fifty years after the original Woodstock allowed attendees to feel “that they were part of a greater organism,” as singer Joni Mitchell described to Life Magazine, young generations are clamoring for the same sense of unity, with 61% of 18-34-year-olds agreeing that entertainment can bring people together.** Brands can play a key role in making this happen, and it begins with understanding your audience—whether young, old, or young at heart.

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This Portrait of Young Generations Then and Now is part of Fullscreen’s new feature Culture Hot Takes, where we look at trends at the intersection of culture, entertainment, and brand intelligence, giving brands a glimpse of what’s new and next and how to capitalize on these key shifts. The Fullscreen Culture Report, published twice a year, takes an even deeper look at trends among young consumers and how brands can engage with them. 

For more information about our Culture Hot Takes or The Fullscreen Culture Report, please contact brands@fullscreen.com.

*Fullscreen TBH, 18-34-year olds, N=320; **Fullscreen Culture Report: The Social Media Hangover, 18-34-year olds, N=500