Appeal to Gen Z and Their Parents: A Lesson by Star Wars, Adele & The Wiz

Star Wars. Adele’s 25. The Wiz.

Do you know what’s common about these three? Of course they were hugely successful.

Star Wars: The Force generation-zAwakens broke all opening weekend records, both in the United States and in the global market. Adele’s 25, in its first five weeks alone, sold seven million copies. And The Wiz was the second highest ranked movie on TV this year, only surpassed by The Voice. Yes, all three have been hugely successful.

But what else unites them? It’s the fact that three successes can potentially be a great learning source about marketing to Gen Z and also their parents.

There is a growing discontent among movie critics that there is a great divide between teen movies like The Fantastic Four and Fast & Furious and movies targeted for adults, serious people like The Danish Girl or The Gone Girl. The Force Awakens, through its success, proved that it is still possible to create a movie that can be enjoyed by multiple generations. The same can be said for both the music as well as the TV market. These examples proved that catering to a specific niche is not the only option.

I have compiled 4 key lessons that these stories show us how to successfully reach the Gen Z and their parents.

Faces that attract everyone:

One of the biggest reasons why Star Wars could attract both Gen Z and their parents was its star cast. Not only was it a great mix of young 20 something actors like Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver but it also brought back the original stars like Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill, who are favorites with Gen X and the Boomers. Similarly, Adele’s album was made possible by a diverse group, like Linda Perry, Ryan Tedder and Mark Ronson; all have their own following.The lesson is that it is very important to use customer intelligence when promoting your brand to this audience; to see if the people you are using have cross generational appeal.

Planned Promotion:

Timing, with the right promotion and distribution, can have an immense effect. Star Wars was initially slated for a mid-year release, however, it got pushed to winter. The move, together with the key arrival of its trailers and a no-cost saved world debut, turned out to be a huge masterstroke, creating the hype for the motion picture. It took 4 years for Adele’s 25 to be ready, but then the record name (XL) got the Friday before Thanksgiving as its release date, profiting by the Christmas shopping season.

When you’re promoting your brand, consider the timing and consider creating an occasion. Claim a date near an occasion or an applicable season, and promote it strategically. Show youngsters and their families why your occasion is the way they ought to celebrate that occasion together. To guarantee success, consider utilizing statistical surveys to assess the dates you have at the top of the priority list and the suitability of your image for that occasion.


Be Transparent:

Being honest and socially conscious is important for this generation. Studies have revealed that this generation, in particular, really wants to change the world. This makes support the brands that are open, honest and transparent. Brands that are actually good for the society.

According to Emily Sheffield, editor of the teen e-zine Miss Vogue, today, brands have to show that they care about the person, they understand the person, they support the person and that the company is focused around the issues that the person experiences.

Master the Social Networking Environment


Matt Rosenburg, senior VP of marketing at 140 Proof says, “What we know about them is that they were born with phones in their hands, and laptops for them will at most be educational or work devices. If you want to get personal with them, you need to reach them through their personal devices.”

And it makes sense. Today, more than 50% of teens are using social media and more than 70% use their mobile phone to capture photos and videos, email, text and more. Reaching them through this medium is the most viable option.



It is true that great fragmentation is arising between audiences but Star Wars, The Wiz and Adele, all within the same year, prove that with the right strategies, appealing to multiple generations with a single product is still possible. All you need to do is figure out a way to provide teens and their parents a shared experience, to create a feeling of a must see event. If done correctly, not only is it possible, but also, it is highly beneficial to appeal to such an audience.


Bearne, S 2015, ‘Forget millennials, brands need to win over Generation Z’, Marketing Magazine, accessed April 15, 2016, from <;.

Barnes, B 2015, ‘‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Has World Premiere, No Expense Spared’, THE NEW YORK TIMES, accessed April 15, 2016, from <;.

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