The world of marketing is changing, and companies are no longer targeting demographics based solely upon their age or level of personal income. Instead, contemporary marketers are taking stock of their consumers' behavior, aspirations and values, while also evaluating exactly how much of their capital can be classified as disposable. It is this shift that has made tweens one of the most influential social demographics in 2012, and one which is worth $43 billion annually. So, which modern franchises have managed to exploit this market and how have they achieved their success?
The Twilight Saga
Of course, while the tween demographic has become increasingly influential in the worlds of film, literature and music, marketers must remember that it is parents who are the real buyers. Boasting an average weekly allowance of $12, young consumers in the U.S. are reliant on their elders for the vast majority of their disposable income. Parents also have a significant influence in dictating exactly what their children buy. Any franchise aimed at the tween market must appeal to the interests of young consumers while appeasing the potential concerns of guardians.
One franchise to ultimately achieve this balance was "The Twilight Saga," which has generated more than $1 billion in book sales and film revenue since the first book was published in 2005. The franchise had sold more than 100 million copies of its four-book series by the end of 2011, and its latest film release "Breaking Dawn: Part 1" earned a staggering $283.5 million during its run. With the final film of the franchise set for release in November of this year, it will add significantly to its box office haul.
"Harry Potter" remains one of the few film and literature franchises to generate a higher revenue than "The Twilight Saga," although it has benefited from a greater exposure and a more prolonged period within the marketplace. While the "Harry Potter" franchise came to life 15 years ago in 1997, "Twilight" has only been generating revenue since 2005 and can therefore claim to have achieved a more instant market impact. That said, the "Harry Potter" films and series of books are more suited to the younger members of the tween demographic, guaranteeing it an increased share of the market.
This is certainly reflected in the franchise's level of popularity, with its series of seven books having sold more than 450 million copies worldwide. The final volume, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," became the fastest selling book of all time after more than 11 million copies were purchased within 24 hours of its initial release. Before the release of its eighth and final film in July 2011, the franchise had also achieved worldwide box office takings of $6.4 billion. The final installment subsequently earned $476 million in global ticket sales during its opening weekend.
The Hunger Games
The latest franchise of this type to hit the market is "The Hunger Games," although this slightly bucks the trend as a tween marketing prospect. To begin with, the first film had several scenes cut in a bid to appeal to the tween demographic. Despite this, it has still courted controversy due to its bloody content and apocalyptic nature, which has divided guardians and parental experts on whether it is suitable for younger viewers.
Such publicity and controversy appears to have had no adverse effect on the burgeoning franchise, however, as the opening film made the third best cinema debut in history. It earned $155 million during its opening weekend in North America, which also established a record for a non-sequel film. Despite less impressive ticket sales in countries such as Great Britain, Germany and Russia, "The Hunger Games" still managed to earn $214.3 million worldwide in just a few days. This success on the big screen has also had a dramatic effect on the franchise's book sales, with the number of copies sold soaring from 23.5 million to 36.5 million thanks to the additional publicity.
The Bottom Line
These franchises prove the lucrative nature of the tween market, and how the right concept can generate billions of dollars through book sales and big screen releases. Not only this, but the diverse nature of these three franchises shows that there are several ways to tap into this market and secure a significant share of the tween demographic.