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Corporate America Can't Afford to Ignore Gen Z

Companies, admitting they got millennials wrong, try memes, ethical stances and (seriously) whispering to lure the newest spenders.

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Photo collage: 731/Getty Images

This is the year Gen Z takes over, and fusty companies that want to sell them stuff have to crack the kids’ code.

Good luck with that. Ziad Ahmed sees what a challenge it is every time he makes a presentation, as he did recently to some American Express Co. marketing executives. It was his “Gen Z Crash Course/Make a Meme Workshop,” and they drew blanks watching slides about the dialect spoken by the young. Esketit? O.T.P.? One guy took a stab. “Old Tired Person?” Ah, no. That stands for “one true pairing,” to describe a perfectly matched couple. Esketit, coined by the Gen Z rapper Lil Pump, means “Let’s get it.”