- Timberland has a new ad in Hong Kong touting the resilience of its boots. The ad also makes reference to the fact that “you’re never going to be able to retire.” This dark humor has a kernel of truth in it.
Timberland’s new ad is a bit bleak.
Displayed in a mall in Hong Kong, it reads: “You’re never going to be able to retire. Why should your boots?”
Though it was intended for a Hong Kong audience, it’s resonating with Americans on Twitter, where a photo of the ad has gained more than 2,000 likes as of press time.
“Timberland not f—— about when it comes to capturing the millennial market,” the tweet reads, adding a dose of realism to the ad and filling in some subtext.
While we can’t begin to guess how a Hongkonger might feel about their prospects of retirement, America’s millennials are nervous about it.
Between student loan payments and stagnant wage growth in the wake of the Great Recession, many millennials feel they do not have enough to contribute to their retirement accounts. Rents are also rising rapidly in major cities in the US, and if these young Americans do have children, childcare costs are a significant chunk of change.
A Washington Post story put that truth on display. “Millennials may need to double how much they save for retirement,” the headline reads, based on a prediction of a sluggish stock market for the next decade.
“Realistically, most people who are reading this article probably should expect to work a little bit longer than their parents did,” Tim Koller, a partner with the consulting firm McKinsey, told the Washington Post.
Millennials are also not expecting to have the safety net their parents had. A Pew Research Center survey found that 51% of millennials assume that Social Security, which they are forced to pay into, will not be around when they are ready to retire.
So while Timberland meant to reflect Hong Kong’s hardworking culture, it actually revealed one of the American millennial’s worst nightmares.
It’s not clear whether this ad will be part of a campaign that will also run in the US. A spokesperson for Timberland told Business Insider the ad is actually from a past campaign, and this location is the only place with the ad still running.