Catering to what Seventeen says is the largest, most affluent group of teen-agers in U.S. history, the No. 1 teen magazine has increased the number of events it's hosting this year by 25% to a total of 165, creating new opportunities for advertisers to participate through multifaceted sponsorships.
The biggest new event is the "Hollywood Spotlight," the first-ever West Coast version of the magazine's popular "Spotlight" combination fashion show-concert events held annually in New York since 1993.
FASHION SHOW, ENTERTAINMENT
A capacity crowd of 3,500 is expected June 2 at Los Angeles' Hollywood Palladium, headlined by music group LFO with additional performances by Hoku (daughter of singer Don Ho) and Bosson, among others.
A fashion show will precede the performances, with product sampling and free gift bags distributed to each attendee. "Events have always been important to us, but in recent years events have really become a big part of our brand, giving us a chance to have a two-way dialogue with our readers," said Linda Platzner, publisher of the Primedia monthly.
Ms. Platzner said today's teen-age girls are the biggest-ever group of teens to exist in the U.S., with affluent parents and spending power that amounts to each girl spending an average of $500 per month on clothing and beauty products.
"This is a very wealthy young group--these girls are smart and they want information about products so they can make the right decisions," she said.
So far, most of Seventeen's event sponsors are apparel and cosmetics marketers, but as carmakers increase their presence in the magazine as advertisers, Ms. Platzner expects they eventually will become regular event sponsors.
"Teen-agers not only make a lot of purchases for themselves, but they are major influencers of a household's purchases, of everything from food to the family car," she said.
Teen-agers wait an average of 3 hours in line to attend Seventeen's events, and when events are held inside department stores, sales of featured products soar by as much as 200%, the magazine said.
Nike recently signed on as a sponsor of a series of events planned for later this year at 14 Niketown stores; Macy's and Bloomingdale's are other popular venues for Seventeen's events. Nike and Macy's also are backing "Hollywood Spotlight."
"We know that entertainment is a critical part of the lives of teens and since the Nike brand is at the intersection of youth, sports and culture, it only stands to reason that we would be involved at the epicenter of these worlds," said Jackie Thomas, Nike's director of women's marketing.
"Seventeen reaches a key audience we're interested in, and we want to tie our brand in with the Seventeen brand through these events," said Honore Comfort, director of print media for Macy's West, the San Francisco-based division of Federated Department Stores that will be sponsoring the "Hollywood Spotlight" event.
Other "Hollywood Spotlight" sponsors include Body Glove, Du Pont Lycra, Wrigley's Winterfresh gum and a variety of record label companies; radio station Kiss FM will promote the event, which also is touted in the May and June issues of Seventeen.
ANNUAL WEST COAST AFFAIR
"We've been gaining momentum with our events these past few years, but now that we're expanding the `Spotlight' to the West Coast, we expect it will become an annual affair [there]," Ms. Platzner said.
Seventeen produces all its activities internally with a 30-person event marketing staff. Advertising representatives promote sponsorships at events along with sales of ad pages, and events have yielded "significant" increases in ad buys in recent years, Ms. Platzner said.
Through its various events, Seventeen reaches a total of 100,000 girls each year.