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Meet the Plurals: Your Next Marketing Challenge

Thirteen-year-olds today are different than thirteen-year-olds from a decade ago. For one thing, they probably already have their first smartphone, and that fact alone changes the way they interact with their world.

Thirteen-year-olds are the tail end of the Plurals generation, the post-Millennial group born in the mid-1990s that account for one-fifth of the U.S. population. The name Plurals derives from the pluralistic society they were born into and in which they are growing up.

This spring, Turner Ignite conducted a joint study with RedPeak, a branding agency with a dedicated youth practice, to better understand the behaviors, attitudes and values of thirteen to twenty-one year olds. Using extensive qualitative and quantitative research, the study uncovered surprising insights into the definitive behaviors of Plurals and how they are unlike their Millennial predecessors.

Plurals are the most diverse group in U.S. history. Twenty percent of 13 to 15-year-olds in the Turner Ignite/RedPeak study declared themselves as something other than heterosexual. This group will also be the last Caucasian majority. Plurals are a fluid generation, sexually, racially, in their fandom, and through their varied social platform use. They want to discover who they are and what's next on their own terms.

These teens are not only cultural influencers, they control more than $44 billion in spending power. To reach and truly connect with this next generation, savvy marketers will need to rethink the rules of engagement and what types of content will most resonate. The Turner Ignite/RedPeak study found that while Millennials value brands that are socially minded, understand people their age and do good in the world, Plurals want to engage and consume brands that are cool, make them feel in control, listen to them and innovate. Most Plurals hold strong opinions and expect brands to as well. Seventy one percent of Plurals said they respect brands that take a stand on political or cultural issues in their advertising.

The average age most received their first smartphone
Percentage that visit these sites daily
Plurals and Privacy
Percent that agree "it's worth giving up some privacy to have faster, more customized experience"
Plurals are more outspoken, confident in their influence
Percent that believe they are empowered and want to be heard
Percent that believe it's important to voice your own opinions
Causes they are most passionate about:
Animal Rights, Environment, Civil Rights, LGBTQ Rights, and Pro-Life
Environment, Animal Rights, Autism, Civil Rights, Social Justice
Celebrities Plurals admire and look up to:
Bill Nye the Science Guy
Jennifer Lawrence
Tesla founder and activist Elon Musk
Who is the coolest celebrity, according to Plurals?
Dwayne Johnson
Kylie Jenner
Donald Trump
Selena Gomez
Pew Die Pie
Note: For the purposes of this custom study, older Millennials were capped at 32.
Source: Meet The "About Me" Generation, Turner Ignite/RedPeak, 2017.
Credits: Trump: Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks; Jennifer Lawrence: Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images; Other celebrities: Getty Images.

Understanding what issues Plurals care about and who they admire is one way to understand this generation. Another way is to look at how they consume content, and Turner has done extensive research into this generation's media use. A study done by Cartoon Network, Warner Bros. and Insight Research has tracked consumption habits of 5-17 year olds starting with a baseline study at the end of 2014. After two and half years of analysis, this research revealed how Plurals' media use is different from older generations.

First and most important, this is a mobile generation. Plurals are the most adept at using their phones and tablets to watch, play, buy and learn. They are very well positioned to take advantage of the consumer-centric internet.

This group is also all about choice and control, and fully expect they will have full control over content and platforms. They navigate media intuitively, and like to go deeper into lore and character. As they consume new content and ideas, they often leverage that through consumer product to signal they are a fan to their peer group. Media and social platforms are incorporated into their natural play and recreational patterns.

Plurals consume media based on where they are, who they are with, what mood they are in and how much time they have right then. Brands should provide both long-form and short-form content to allow Plurals to connect on their terms. This generation consumes trends rapidly, sharing their own take on social media and exploring new platforms and tools at a ramped-up pace.

This is a generation driving how content is consumed, brands are promoted and products are purchased. To be successful, marketers will need to keep pace by understanding what is driving this group of diverse individuals that don't want to be pigeonholed. Once brands understand how they don't subscribe to traditional consumption norms, they will be ready to rethink the traditional advertising model and move on to a strategy that will lead to effective connection. Brands that don't evolve their marketing strategy in line with how Plurals are changing the media landscape will be left behind.

About the Authors

James Russo, Senior Vice President of Client Strategy & Development, Turner Ignite In this newly-developed role, James Russo oversees account planning, thought leadership and client strategy, while closely aligning with Turner's Client Insights group, a division within Turner Research, to make recommendations to clients based on an insight-driven selling approach. His rich experience across marketing, sales, client development and thought leadership, as well as robust client-facing background, play a vital role in enabling agencies and marketers to develop smarter and more efficient decisions fueled by the company's next-generation portfolio capabilities.

Jeff Grant, Senior Vice President of Research, Turner Emerging Consumers Turner Emerging Consumers represents the company's young adult and kid targeted networks – Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Adult Swim and truTV. Jeff Grant is responsible for all aspects of research for the four networks, as well as their respective ad sales divisions across linear and digital platforms. This includes a focus on generational research on media consumption among Millennials and Plurals, the two most diverse generations in our history.


Turner Ignite is focused on reimagining advertising. Powered by unrivaled branded content services, data-rich ad targeting capabilities, first-of-its kind social optimization tools and global distribution, Turner Ignite empowers brands to build more meaningful connections with consumers and drive return on investment at scale. The business unit is backed by Turner's wide-scale audience of diverse fans within its portfolio properties, including leading media brands Adult Swim, Boomerang, Cartoon Network, CNN, Great Big Story, HLN, SuperDeluxe, TBS, TNT, truTV, Bleacher Report and Turner Sports' high-profile coverage of the NBA, Major League Baseball, NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship, ELEAGUE, UEFA and professional golf. In addition, the company has digital sales partnerships with the NBA, NCAA and PGA.