Marketing to the rising teen cycle; products and trends Essay

Marketing to the rising teen cycle; products and trends


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Marketing to teens is different from marketing to adults - Marketing to the rising teen cycle; products and trends Essay introduction. Adults look for characteristics in the product. Teens look for the image or identity purchasing this product will bring them. Music and music videos are the most effective way to reach teens. It is also the most expensive. The production of hip-hop music brought great success to teen marketers and advertisers.



Companies prioritizing in marketing primarily to teens overwhelmingly increase their chances of success in unlimited ways. Although more challenges are involved when marketing to youth, it can also be a lot more fun. Teens live in an exciting, vibrant world, where music, bright colors, late nights, early mornings are a natural part of their lives every day. Teens can see straight through false advertising and deceit. The only thing teens are purchasing are beliefs, not products. They purchase identities and images. The marketing is more competitive, but the efforts are worth it. Capturing teens attention as customers is a sure way for corporations to sell to their parents, their parents friends, grandparents. Technology skyrocketed once they included teens as well as business professionals in their marketing campaigns. Computers intended for business transformed into a major jamming entertainment centers. They began to include music videos, playing movies, burning CD’s, messengers chat lines, games. Number of consumers increased almost overnight. Consumers must understand that teens are the decision makers. The greatest majority of teens influence their parents purchasing decisions. Many parents are influenced to use the same products their children use, not vice versa. People without children purchase items for friends, nieces, nephews, cousins. Corporations specializing in advertising and marketing to teens realize they have about two seconds to capture their audience. These companies make a habit of going beyond selling the product into selling an image or identity. Selling trends and lifetyles results in continuously selling product lines. These same marketing methods flow into their expertise in capturing consumers outside the teenage group. Marketing to teens is highly competitive. Usually, the product itself plays very little significance. Teens are usually sold on promises they believe the potential these bidders have to create their futures and images.

Influencing the Parents;

Every parent strives to make their child’s life better than their own. Besides the  Christmas season, the back-to-school season is where the competition for manufacturers is the most fierce. According to recent survey results, two thirds of all teens influence about half of what they parents purchase. “Pre teens and teenagers have a tremendous impact on their family’s spending decisions. Vice president for big research said in a prepared statement, “From backpacks to boots, parents often let their children choose which specific items to purchase, so retailers will be marketing to kids as much their parents this year” (Jones, July 19, 2007).  The 2007-08 school year is expected to have an increase of 18 billion dollars over the 2006-2007 school year.

Electronics is the reason for this substantial increase. Electronics used to be considered entertainment, such as the latest boom boxes. Electronics were also useful only to business professionals. Today teens have transformed technology into a necessity.  Twenty years ago, teens had no use for a computer. Computers simply did not interest them. When computers started playing video games and music videos, it grasped teen’s attention.  Electronic advertisers did not demand teens attention. The advertisers reeled in this young group of consumers by giving them what they wanted. Teens all across the world wanted laptops to entertain their friends. They showed their friends movies, talked on chatlines, and stayed up all night surfing the internet together. After every teen in the world possessed a laptop, the product became a necessity for every day life.  Teens were not buying a product or laptop; they were buying ways to have fun with their friends. Today, in many schools, laptops are now a requirement. Perhaps the 500.00 laptop fulfills the requirements the assignments demands. Teens are going to want the 3,000.00 laptops that is capable of handling graphics. Retailers were highly successful in marketing laptops to teens. Teens purchased an identity or image.

Communication technology bring teens what they perceive as ways to be popular and cool. Cell phone companies started booming overnight when they started marketing to teens. Cell phone companies sold a product. They started out marketing to business professionals. Advertisers targeted parents wanting to keep track of their teens. No research is available how successful this marketing concept was. Most parents know where their teens are at any given moment. Some parents do not want to know where their teens are. Their worst fears may be realized. Cell phone advertising used photos of teens having fun, chatting, text messaging, and talking. The plans got much more user friendly and affordable for friends to stay in touch with each other. Cell phones used to sell for one penny. The service is where the costs were. Today, cell phones are cameras, televisions, mp3’s, video players, chat lines combined into a tiny device fitting inside the palm of ones hand. The latest is the Iphone, averaging around $800.00. The parents are happy to find a way to pay for it. Marketers got to this place by first selling phones for a penny. It is not the product teens are buying. They are buying images, identities and fun.



Entertainment Companies;


“The entertainment companies which are a handful of the massive conglomerates that own four of the five music companies that sell 90% of the music in the United States, those same companies also own all of the film studios, all of the major networks, all of the television stations pretty much in the ten largest markets. They own part or all of every single commercial cable channel, these handful of huge companies. They look at the teen market as a part of this massive empire that they’re colonizing” (McChesney, no date given).  This massive empire they are colonizing most definitely includes music and music stars. Most teens behavior reflect results showing that music and music videos are the quickest way to sell the image they want to identify with. Physical fitness and attractive  form fitting fashions are mandatory to get teens attention. Music stars workout all day long to keep in shape and pay attention to fashions. Older music stars wishing to appeal to teen audiences must be as close to what teens can identify themselves. Tina Turner  decided to start marketing to teenage audiences when she was 42 years old. Madonna draws teen crowds at 48 years old. They continue to attract youthful crowds by wearing youthful fashions, looking great while doing so and keeping up with the latest dance trends. Her videos use many teens of all races and cultures. Not many 48 year olds are known for putting on tights and leotards for music videos. However, this is the clothing that appeals to teens, something they picture themselves to wear. Madonna portrays an image that identifies with twenty year olds. They do what is necessary to reach youthful audiences to keep their teen audiences. Corporations heavily rely on entertainment avenues, music industry to promote their products to teens. Madonna worked many hours a day learning krumping, a faster version of hip-hop. Hip-hop culture definitely appeals to teens.

Hip-hop music getting retailers rich;

Hip-hop dance and music impacted the astronomical sales of all products identifying with this music genre.  Bookseller Barnes and Noble,  are only two examples of successful retailing and marketing resulting from teaming up with the latest trends in music. The image of hip-hop music (not to be confused with the darker version of hip-hop, which there is nothing satisfactory about this type of music) is fun, energetic and outgoing. The beats, rhythms and melody is youthful, upbeat and fun. “It is profoundly gratifying to feel like you and your friends, your peers are the center of your universe. Teens feeling like they are the prime decision makers, without adult influences, catches their attention” (Miller, unspecified date). Teens are purchasing a feeling of importance, a feeling that their opinions are worthwhile. Music in the past several years probably reached more teen audiences then it ever did. The experts are complaining the music wave is not lasting.

“The music industry may be caught off guard if it continues breeding Britney Spears clones. The shelf life of teen’s pop may be longer because of the sheer number of customers, but teen phenomenon that labels are chasing will be over by the time the next wave of these groups hits the public ear” (Grunander, no current date). Everyone complained of Britney’s lack of talent, claiming her only fame was to her appearance. Her very latest album, she greatly improved her singing, her videos had more substance and her dance choreography improved to a noticeable differences. However, the majority of Britney’s fans across the US was seven and eight year olds, not thirteen and fourteen year olds. This was especially true with kids who were knowledgeable in music and voice. “In the past, you saw an act, developed an audience based on a specific sound and image and on the next album they did a 360 to try to expand the audience. The audience they had felt alienated” Grunander, no date).

Between the sixties through the eighties, artists made hit records that are still selling well today. At the turn of the century, when hip hop was becoming popular, teen products and trends made a splash. Experts are showing statistics that the generation Y (79-95) outspends all other generations.  “Generation Y’s  current teen pop craving is no indication of  future preferences because the  trend is not based on music, but having sex appeal, fund and good times” (Pete Howard, publisher of ice monthly CD newsletter). Whether the current increase in revenue from the teen age consumers was based on talent or sex appeal, the teen marketers got rich. Teens were not buying “Oops, I did it again”

Or  “Baby, one more time.” They were buying her look identifying themselves with Britney’s image.

Generation Y                                                                  Generation X


Born 79-95
Born 65-78
Echo boomers or millenniums
Baby boomers
Outspends all other generations
Introduced to MTV
79 million or 27 % of population
40 million or 16% of population
Existing teens
Adults paying for existing teens trends
Popularized rock acts like Eminem
Breakthrough in music, (60’s)


Information for table;



Big, starring Tom Hanks, was a direct, straightforward example about productions marketing to teens, or pre teens. This may have been the beginning of using movies to market directly to teens. The movie was for an adult audience. However,  marketing products to teens was the point of this show. A child was at a state fair. Failing to meet height requirements, he could not aboard a certain ride. He met a magic jeanie at the fair. He dropped his quarter in the machine, made a wish to be big. The child woke up the next morning as an adult. Psychologically he was still a child. He was a preteen who had the visible traits of an adult.

This adult child, Josh, ends up working at an entry level data processor for a toy company. He is the only adult playing with the toys manufactured by the company. Josh captures the president of the companies attention one day while playing with the toys in the toy store. The president finds himself playing with the toys along with Josh.  His child like characteristics results in promotion to the corporate office. The adults in the corporate marketing office sale products or toys from their point of view. Josh understandably sees things from a child’s point of view. Josh gets paid for playing with the toys, and telling the company what he thinks about them. This movie encouraged professional adults to market products from the consumers point of view. In this situation, the consumers are twelve and thirteen year olds. The president playing on the piano made for children, the professional woman jumping on the trampoline, the office mate playing paddle ball who gets into a fist fight with Josh bring adults into a child’s world. Big was produced in 1988.

Since then, movie producers had great success creating productions directly to teens. Movies provide major sources to reach and influence many teens. Corporations use movies to set trends resulting in product promotion and sales.. Today, teens have their own movies. Television shows wishing to market to teens, must make them the stars of the show. Corporations market exclusively to teens in these movies. Adults and parent acting roles do not make decisions and have very little speaking parts. “What you have to do in making a TV show that is going to make teens into better consumers is create a universe that does not have adults, or at least has adults that don’t matter” (Rushkoff, no date given). Teens make major decisions, are placed in leadership positions, take chances and take responsibilities in these movies. Adults have very minimal roles or absent roles.

Bring it on is a teen movie teaching teens to be original, trust their own decisions, how to raise their own money and sometimes all that effort turns out very disappointing results. The plot of the movie is a graduating cheerleading captain stole dance routines from another squad in a city several hours away. The new captain finds out and is left to resolve this situation. The teens decide to hire a choreographer which costs 2,000.00. The choreographer taught identical routines to other cheer teams showing up at the same competition. The teens made a huge marketing or purchasing decision. The decision did not work out as expected.  They worked through the setbacks. Bring it On was a movie portraying teens as the stars, decision makers and absent adults. The teens made their own decisions, worked through their own mistakes and disappointments. The new cheerleader and her brother solved a problem for the head cheerleader allowing her to stay at her parents was away.  No disasters occurred. Comparable movies teaches teens to trust their decisions.

Products and services were marketed in the movie Bring it On. Consumers marketed (obviously catering to teens into cheerleading and dance) fashions, jewelry, trends (choreography, trends-spirit fingers).  The negative points in the show highlighted the selling items or services. Sparky, the choreographer teaching the same routine to different teams at the competition had an attitude. Manufacturers were promoting his black leather outfit, although cheerleaders are not allowed to wear jewelry for safety reasons, the spirit fingers brought attention to rings he was wearing.  The girl who walked in to auditions was perceived to be trouble, a tough, street gang type. Corporations brought attention to encouraging gymnastics skills (or trends). One of the teams who could not afford to go to competition, asked a talk show host for financial assistance. This act promoted a certain line of cheerleading fashions. Manufacturers brought attention to the computer games when the teen and her brother were having a fight. She pulled the wire out from the computer game.  In movies, emotions are used to market products. The song, Get ready for this, was advertised during the crisis of the competition. The first team did their routine. The starring team of the show was up next, did not have time to explain what happened. In reality, promotion of the song stood out.

Simon D Tour Live;

There are about 190 Simon Malls throughout the United States. Simon D Tour Live event travels to about twenty malls starting in New York City ending in Los Angeles. The very popular event marketing exclusively to teens connects teens with their favorite pop stars as well as the latest in technology, fashion and pop culture. Some of the retailers assisting Simon D Tour Live are; ABC Family; My Coke Rewards; Sprint; Company 81. “The program exemplifies Simon Brand and Ventures ability to engage consumers and retailers with a fully integrated multi-media experience at the point of sale,” (Editorial, CnnMoney, July 5, 2007). Simon  Malls specifically targets to the youth of all races, economic background, and ages. The tour creates a special fun event for all teens, and gives its sponsors the opportunity to reach the consumers.

Marketing without technology;

Technology is much more readily accessible. Advertising through technology is more competitive and expensive to reach the target audiences and out beat competitors. It is the most common way of promoting products. Marketing products, trends and services must be done in an unique way if the advertising methods are to catch attention.  According the marketing specialists at Proctor and Gamble, it takes 97 commercials to reach 80 % of women ages 18-49.  Three advertisements reached 80% of the women in 1965. Everyone is using technology or the excessive satellite television channels. It is much easier for commercials to get washed out instead of standing out. (Coolidge, 2004).



Proctor and Gamble uses direct marketing to teens. Many retailers team up with Proctor and Gamble to distribute their latest products. Unlike the Simon Malls reaching teens of all economic backgrounds and at risk teens, P&G selects a few teens to directly market to.  They target teens who are popular, have a wide circle of friends, and engage in many activities. Marketing director of P & G, Ted Woherle said, “We offer them the inside scoop and influence. If you get the right one percent, you have the critical mass required to make the difference. P&G retailers look for teens who are in a position to influence the other teens. The name of this team or group is called “Tremor,” consisting of 280,000 teens nationwide. The retailer gives free samples of their products and waits for feedback. For example, P&G gave out samples of lipstick cards containing product information. The results of the survey showed this marketing strategy increased their sales by 14 % in with weeks.

Proctor and Gamble advertising techniques closely resembles word of mouth advertising. Any successful business person will be quick to say that word of mouth is the number one source of marketing success. Word of mouth advertising takes longer to attract a steady clientele. Word of mouth marketing relates back to the theory teens purchase an image, identity and popularity. Teens use the products to define and shape their identity.  This is the main reason music videos and pop stars are an effective, but highly expensive way to market to teens.


Marketing to teens is a highly successful strategy proven to increase revenue. It is very tricky. Teens and adults very often want the same products, but for different reasons. Teens and adults both love to drive and ride in convertible cars or even motorcycles. Teens want the convertibles to be popular with their friends. Adults want convertibles because they like being outside, and careless about other peoples opinions about it.  Adults driving convertibles usually bring negative reactions from others. Convertibles are purchased by adults to please themselves, not others. Many business professionals purchase luxury cars because they run their business out of their cars. Athletes, body builders and fitness professionals are likely to look for automobiles they can tote their ice chest with their food, and devices so they can cook their own food. Teens probably think its much cooler to get down at a restaurant and eat pizza. Adults manufacturing and creating products put in long hours decided how useful the product is. Adults purchase items for their purpose, quality, durability. Teens expect to get a brand new cell phone, car, wardrobe, music collection, DVD collection, change their make-up every two years. So quality to a teen and quality to an adult are the same words, but entirely two different languages. Product quality to a teen means louder speakers; to an adult quality means speakers lasting the next twenty to thirty years.

Britney Spears superstardom phase sold an image that every teenage girl wanted to be like. These teenage girls saw a pretty face, long blond hair, and related that to being rich, happy and popular. Britney’s female fans who loved her so much felt betrayed when she got married and had a couple of kids. Many of Britney’s fans were as young as four years old. These young fans who were nine years old when Britney became a family woman were not ready to have a family yet. This is a good thing. Music consumers were buying an image they wanted for themselves.

The popularizing of hip hop music increased the sales for any associated product. Once again, teens were buying independence, identity, good feelings, and happiness. Hip hop music made teens feel like they were in their own world. It specified that specific age group. Teens felt like they were in control. Teens purchasing images goes back to the word of mouth advertising strategy. Teens are more likely to go everywhere and hear about new products. They introduce their parents to these new products. Technology, intended for straight forward business professionals found a way to market to teens. Cell phones and computers play hip-hop music. Today, technology sells and it moves fast. Marketing to teens is usually a very successful strategy.



Coolidge, A; (03/08/04) Michael Stalbaum addresses viral marketing techniques for teens; retrieved July 18, 2007; Unreal;


Grunander, Gunderson and Laird B; (no publication date) Marketing to Teens;Where will teens taste land next. Musical fads come and go, but generation Y-not the record biz controls the spin. Retrieved July 18, 2007;;

Jones, K.C. (July 19, 2007) Electronic and online spending to rise among back-to school shoppers; retrieved July 19, 2007; Information week;

Miller, Mark Crispin, (No date) The merchants of cool, The clouts of the media giant; retrieved July 19, 2007;


Rushkoff, D. (no date) Excerpts from frontline’s interviews with youth marketers and cultural/media analysts; In the “Dawson’s Creek” tv series, kids are adultified kids. How is this to the marketer’s advantage to write parents out? Retrieved July 19, 2007;;


Seabrook, J (no date) Themes! The symbiotic relationship between the media and teens; retrieved July 19, 2007;

Editorial (July 5, 2007) CNN Emerging pop singing talent, Hot brands connect with teens across the country at simon d tour live! Presented by ABC family; retrieved July 19, 2007; PR Newswire;





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