The Chicago suburb of Homewood, Illinois is targeting millennials in an ad campaign that boasts about farmer's markets, art galleries, and cheap homes.
Several recent surveys suggest that American millennials — commonly defined as those born between 1981 and 1996 — are ditching city life for a more quiet existence in the suburbs. While other experts contest whether that's actually true, some suburbs are nevertheless attempting to attract more residents in their 20s and early 30s.
Homewood, Illinois, a suburb about 25 miles south of downtown Chicago, just launched a comic-style ad campaign that tries to do just that. Called " target="_blank"Think Homewood," the campaign bills the town as a neighborly, diverse, and affordable place for millennials to live. It was designed by illustrator and Homewood resident Marc Alan Fishman, and was first spotted by sociologist John Joe Schlichtman who recently wrote about the suburb in The Chicago Tribune.
In one comic, a Chicago dad stuck in traffic realizes he forgot avocados for taco night, and exclaims "Frak!" The next panel then shows a Homewood dad (also planning a taco night) who remembers he can just jump in his car and make a quick trip back to the grocery store to retrieve the avocados.
The campaign's characters, like Homewood's residents, are also racially diverse.
Another comic strip features a young group of friends, half of whom live in Homewood. A black woman, sporting a rainbow t-shirt emblazoned with the phrase #LoveGoals, boasts that she can walk to brunch at a farm-to-table restaurant that recently opened near her house. Another woman, who is white, talks about her new spacious house with a yard, a garage, and chickens.
"We've even got one of those crazy things we used to only dream about," she says, with the other woman replying, "A savings account!" They all burst into laughter.
As a millennial, I find the campaign clever and tongue-in-cheek, even though it does employ some cringeworthy stereotypes of my generation, like our supposed love for kombucha, avocados, and art galleries. The comics hint at what American millennials may be looking for in their neighborhoods as they age, suggesting that suburbs of the future may look more urban.
Compared to Chicago, Homewood currently has a much lower percentage of residents in their 20s (18% versus 9%), according to the most recent Census. But campaigns like this one may persuade more Chicago-area millennials to make the move to the 'burbs.