A selfie on your shoes? Personalized gifts for 'Millennials'

Thu Dec 11, 2014 1:03pm EST
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By Emma Thomasson

BERLIN (Reuters) - Looking for a unique Christmas gift to wow friends or family? Try some specially tailored perfume, chocolates stamped with a personal message or sneakers embossed with a selfie.

Products with that individual twist are not really new. It has long been possible to get a basic T-shirt, baseball cap or umbrella printed with a name or photo.

But big consumer brands, including major names like Coca-Cola , and Nike have latched on to personalized products because they seem to have a particular appeal to consumers known as "Millennials" in marketing speak.

Used to posting selfie mobile phone shots on social media, this generation, who came of age from around 2000, wants something more than just the latest hot brand name.

Millennials still like brands but expect them to listen and react to their ideas and criticism in real time and allow them a role in shaping future products.

They have become a big focus of marketing experts as their spending power grows.

"They're drawn to brands who are rethinking the way things are done. They want to be heard," Maryleigh Bliss, trends editor at youth marketing firm Ypulse, told the World Retail Congress earlier this year.

Early to respond was Mars Inc, which prints tiny personal messages and photos on M&Ms chocolates, and Coca-Cola which scored a hit by putting people's names on its bottles, selling more than 150 million.   Continued...

A worker arranges Santa Claus chocolate figurines on a shelf as shoppers take care of their last-minute Christmas gift needs in a mall in Bucharest December 23, 2013. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel