Skip to main

Millennials Are Out of Touch with Paul Newman – And It’s Hurting His Foundation

Millennials want to support brands with a social mission, but only if they understand how they give back

What’s a well-known brand to do if their tried-and-true methods aren’t working with Millennial consumers?


This is the frustrating challenge facing Newman’s Own, a brand with integrity and a long-standing dedication to philanthropy. In fact, “All Profits to Charity” is in clear lettering right on all of their labels. So why is the brand struggling with Millennial consumers, a generation who claims to place importance on the ethics of their products and companies from which they buy?

This is the reason Newman’s Own started a new marketing initiative aimed at Millennials who might not recognize the famous face of the brand and have little to no knowledge of its altruistic story.

In the feature story in The New York Times, Jason Dorsey, Millennial researcher and Co-Founder of The Center for Generational Kinetics said, “This is a perfect example of a great model that is not positioned well for the generation they’re trying to influence.” Dorsey thinks young buyers are having a hard time connecting with the Newman’s Own story because many of them are too young to be aware of the man as an actor or the pioneering work of the company to support charities.

The research at The Center for Generational Kinetics shows that Millennials are more likely to come back to a product if they believe it has a social conscience. This is the perfect – and crucial – time for brands like Newman’s Own to reposition their messaging in order to communicate loud, clear, and effectively that their values align perfectly with Millennial consumer values.

Newman’s Own is far from the only company to highlight their philanthropic work to appeal to a younger audience. Companies whose charitable giving is part of the DNA of their business model, including Warby Parker and Toms for example, have made a strong connection with Millennial consumers. So what does Newman’s Own have to change to woo Millennial consumers?

The Times reported that only a third of Newman’s Own customers said they realized the company gave away its profits. Only one-third! That figure was even lower among Millennials, with only 12 percent acknowledging they knew how much of Newman’s Own’s profits were donated.

Clearly, legacy brands like Newman’s Own have a tremendous story to tell and Millennials can be a powerful consumer advocate group, but brands must adjust in order to win with the changing times. For Newman’s Own, and other legacy brands with a philanthropic mission, that can include changing wording, adding new images, finding new spokespeople, and most importantly: showing in the grocery store aisle that they are a perfect fit for the values of Millennial consumers.

The Center for Generational Kinetics works with legacy brands and brand-new startups to show them how to adapt their messaging, visuals, and story to win Millennials, Gen Z, and other customer trendsetters. Contact us today to see how we can help you bridge the generational divide with Millennial consumers.

Blog Category

Recent posts