Generating Interest With Gen Y

Millennials—consumers ranging in age from 19 to 35 as of 2016—have become a holy grail for marketers of all kinds these days. This is thanks in part to the group’s sheer size; at more than 75 million strong, Generation Y now outnumbers baby boomers in the U.S. In addition, millennial parents are the conduit for reaching today’s young children.

Some of the techniques being used by entertainment/character licensors to reach this market were on display at Licensing International Expo this year:

  • Back to the ‘90s. Nickelodeon is bringing back its most popular Nicktoons characters from millennials’ childhood, along with the “splat!” logo used on the network at the time. Properties including Ren & Stimpy, Doug, Rugrats, and Hey Arnold! are featured on merchandise such as apparel (at the Manhattan trend retailer Story, for example) and comic books. The characters are also being introduced to new audiences through TV airings, and a movie is in development.
  • Digital influencers. In its new Love to Learn campaign, Sesame Workshop is appealing to digital-native millennial parents by teaming with YouTube celebrities such as the Eh Bee Family, Lennon & Maisy, and Rosanna Pansino, with a new pairing debuting each month for the second half of this year. Content appeals to both millennials and their children by featuring the celebrities along with Sesame Street’s Elmo. The content runs both on the celebrities’ and Sesame Street’s YouTube channels, driving YouTube subscriptions and brand exposure.
  • Retro artwork. To mark the 50th anniversary of the Big Red Dog in 2013, Scholastic reissued the first six Clifford books in the original editions, under the Clifford Collection banner. Now, the company is overseeing an adult-targeted licensing program featuring author/illustrator Norman Bridwell’s 1963 imagery. While the property dates back to the late baby boom era, products such as t-shirts and onesies from Out of Print target millennials—who have fond memories of the character—along with their parents/kids’ grandparents.

Check back with RaugustReports on Mondays and Thursdays over the next few weeks for more observations from Licensing International Expo.

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