Magazine article Marketing

Amanda Andrews on Media: Tweens, Not Tweets

Magazine article Marketing

Amanda Andrews on Media: Tweens, Not Tweets

Article excerpt

Disney's unparalleled success should inspire other brands to take a share of this lucrative market.

Leicester Square was transformed last week, as hordes of screaming girls gathered by the red carpet to see their idol, Destiny Hope 'Miley' Cyrus, better known as her alter-ego, Hannah Montana.

Joined by Miley at the premiere of Hannah Montana: The Movie were the teenage stars of High School Musical and Camp Rock. The three, which began as shows on the Disney Channel, have spawned a billion-dollar industry.

Welcome to a marketer's dream. The 'tween', between eight and 14 years old, desperately wants to be a teen, but is not about to stop being a child. She is not interested in cartoons - she is far to grown up for that.

Hannah Montana: The Movie enjoyed a record-breaking opening weekend in the US for a live-action children's movie, with takings of dollars 34m (pounds 23.3m), the highest for a live-action children's movie. High School Musical 3, meanwhile, generated pounds 251m globally.

The High School Musical franchise is a worldwide success; the first film was seen by 250m people, and local versions are being created from Argentina to China. The soundtrack for each film has gone platinum, while the first High School Musical was the biggest-selling DVD of 2006.

Disney has created a niche market, which it has exploited through TV, film, video games, branded magazines, concert tours and merchandise.

While the Disney Channel does not take spot advertising, it is open to programme sponsorship. UK advertisers need to exploit more fully the multi-platform strength of High School Musical or Hannah Montana - signing all-encompassing deals across the films, TV series, computer games and concerts. Disney has just hired a head of integrated advertising sales to do just this.

Twenty-five years ago, this would have been the market that read Just 17 magazine at 11, or who dreamed of meeting Wham or dancing with 'the kids from Fame'. OK, I admit it, I am talking about myself. I had the T-shirts and albums, but if there had been more merchandise, I would have wanted it.

The tween market lives and breathes its idols. Global retail sales of Disney Consumer Products' tween items mushroomed from dollars 400m in 2007 to dollars 2.7bn in 2008.

Love or hate Disney, you have to admire its ability to capture a market that is showing no signs of slowing. Despite financial pressures, the last thing people will cut back on is treating their children - especially when they see how much joy a pounds 3 Hannah Montana-branded lip gloss can bring. …

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