Dispatches from the Millennial Mega Mashup: Marketing ‘The Hunger Games,’ Millennials’ Sense Of Humor

With the media options that Millennials have at their fingertips, it's easy for media properties to get lost in the clutter. Breaking through and grabbing young people's attention can seem like an impossible mission. But tying into Millennial traits and the sentiments they're feeling led to success for Scholastic's "Hunger Games" and Comedy Central's humor platform.

A Tribute To The "Hunger Games" Marketing Strategies

David Levithan, VP Editorial Director for Scholastic was on site to talk about the secret of “The Hunger Games” success. Ultimately, it was the luck of scoring a great book — the credit goes to the author because it was the content that drove the buzz. Levithan admitted that Scholastic could do the same marketing program all over again with a different book and it could fail miserably.

There were many stages of buzz and word of mouth in the process of promoting the book — and many different mouths that spread the word. The buzz started with two people, himself and the other editor, who both read the book over a weekend and who both had the same response: “Holy sh*t!” They knew from the beginning that they had a great book from an already acclaimed writer.

The next stage was to share the book within the company, and as each person read it, the buzz grew and the staff became evangelical about the book. Sharing the book outside the company, it began with their go-to teen readers, but also to the teens’ mothers, knowing it was a classic crossover book.

The more people who read the book, the better because the story spoke for itself. Going to the Book Expo — the biggest industry event — Scholastic chose to print nearly as many advance reader copies than a typical YA novel would sell. It gave the book away because they knew in return they would earn more evangelical…


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The Newsfeed

 “I’m too lazy to exercise on purpose. Too much work…If I can't get it with my dog, my job, or my nightlife, it ain't happening.”
—Female, 23, CA

Snapchat is taking more steps to be the new TV, with a daily news show that will cover current events in short and, dare we say, snappy segments. Stay Tuned will air twice a day with hosts Savannah Sellers and Gadi Schwartz from NBC and MSNBC. The new series is taking cues from Snap’s election show, Good Luck America, which they used for “research and development” on their audience and to gauge interest. Snap says their viewers are young (Ypulse data shows 67% of 13-21-year-olds use Snapchat) and have “a huge appetite for news content.” (NYMag)

The ugly fashion trend is putting its best foot forward—in $800 Birkenstocks. From “dad hats” to “shapeless dresses,” ugly clothing has been having a moment, and the sandal brand is capitalizing on the interest with a design in “the finest imbued and oiled natural leather” and sterling silver nautical buckles by a prestigious German jewelry designer. Clear and mud-stained jeans can move over, because these babies are now available for purchase. They’re “strictly limited edition” so get them while they last—if you’re into that sort of thing. (Quartz)

Discover’s new campaign rewards Millennials for #adulting. The digital and social media effort leverages the adulting trend by focusing on financial hurdles young people face. Some lucky people will receive physical badges to commemorate their successful completion of accomplishments like getting married, having kids, buying your first house and car, and starting your career. Branded content partnerships with Mic.com and Mental Floss are also trying to drive young people’s financial awareness—and, of course, brand awareness. (MediaPost)

A reboot of Disney’s short-lived ‘80s show Duck Tales is banking on nostalgia and a strong digital strategy to win viewers over. Huey, Dewey, and Louie (Donald Duck’s nephews) are coming back to cable on Disney XD, and making their digital debut, too. Short-form content will complement the show across social, and the mischievous trio is already available to take selfies with on Disney XD’s mobile app. From Nickelodeon’s Hey Arnold movie to Cartoon Network’s Ben 10 remake, kids’ networks across the board are betting on shows from the ‘80s, ‘90s, and 2000s. (Variety)

Speaking of Disney, did you notice how many leading ladies are in their films these days? Because the box office did. Since 2014, Disney started “betting on girls,” moving away from male main characters in favor of female leads. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, John Carter, Lone Ranger, and more machismo movies flopped again and again, until Disney entered their golden age of girl power (think Brave, Frozen, live-action Alice in Wonderland, and more). Here’s the kicker: out of 16 of the “biggest female-led global blockbusters,” Disney made ten—nine of which were from the last four years. (Forbes)

“[Pokemon Go]’s a fun break from the seriousness of adulthood that gets me exercise while having fun.”

—Female, 27, TX

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