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

Quote of the Day: “Being famous is overrated. I would be more happy [sic] being locally known for the good I do in the world in a popular way but not for the wrong reasons.”—Female, 16, UT

Minecraft is being used to get kids interested in reading actual, real books. Litcraft recreates the world of a book as an interactive Minecraft map, adding “educational tasks” throughout. Treasure Island was the first completed world, followed by Kensuke's Kingdom, while The Lord of the Flies and Dante’s Inferno are in the works. Trials at U.K. schools are being met with “an enthusiastic response,” so Litcraft is eyeing a larger rollout. (The Guardian)

Nordstrom is stocking up on Instafamous brands like Allbirds, Everlane, and Reformation. The company announced that “strategic” brands account for about 40% of their current revenue and that’s expected to rise. While they benefit from indie brands’ popularity with young consumers, the direct-to-consumer brands are getting an expanded physical footprint, too. In the case of Reformation, Nordstrom explains that they “can bring sustainable fashion to a new (and much bigger) group of customers and closets.” (Business Insider)

A baseball team struck out with their “Millennial Night” promotion, putting Twitter in an uproar. We’ve warned brands that making fun of Millennials is not the way to get earn their spending power, and minor league baseball’s Montgomery Biscuits learned the lesson first-hand. Their “Millennial Night” offered participation ribbons, selfie stations, napping areas, and “lots of avocados,” while playing into stereotypes about Millennials being lazy. A Biscuits exec explains that “Something got lost in the sarcasm,” but instead of offering an apology, they doubled down with another cutting tweet. (AdweekInc.)

Nearly half of Millennials think that “their credit scores are holding them back.” OppLoans found that 27% of 18-34-year-olds haven’t been approved for a new car because of their credit while 25% have been declined for an apartment or house. Debt, a top financial concern for Millennials, is partly to blame: 15% said that their debt “is unmanageable.” Education could help dig them out of the hole, as 24% feel they’ve never learned how to build good credit. (Moneyish)

Baby Einstein is growing up for Millennial parents with a new mission and campaign. Their “Ignite a Curious Mind” effort goes after parents, not kids, with short spots that encourage curiosity. They’re also working on new toys, moving beyond their “sweet spot” of zero to 12 months for toddlers. Baby Einstein’s parent company, Kids II is also planning on reworking other brands, like Bright Starts and Ingenuity. (Ad Age)

Quote of the Day: “[American Eagle Outfitters’] clothes are generally what I wear and are my style. They're comfortable and affordable. They do not do a great deal of vanity sizing and offer something for guys and girls of every size.”—Female, 23, GA

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