That upgrade has resulted in more than just higher party bills for parents. A flurry of magazines and Web sites, as well as special sections in lifestyle titles, that are dedicated to planning and shopping for these special occasions have emerged.
"We're targeting an audience that, [for its members is] having an event that is akin to a wedding, and so they need some well-honed advice in terms of dealing with their families and organizing a full court of 14 people," explains Amber Matassa, editorial director of Quince Girl, a magazine dedicated to quincea–eras, a celebration for Hispanic girls reaching age 15.
Matassa says Quince Girl, published in the spring and fall, focuses on the fashion, music, and style featured at quincea–eras. "There's a lot of interest from readers in attaining a certain celebrity look - especially the Latina celebrities - so we are always looking for those angles," she says. "Yet, we also work hard not only to entertain the girls with glitz and glam, but also to get down to the nuts and bolts of an event [that] has a religious ceremony with a strong spiritual component."
Teen event stories focus on the "dos" as well as the "don'ts" of teen planning. Coverage of events, especially proms, come with a share of cautionary tales, and teen event titles are combining product reviews with practical advice on avoiding dangerous behavior.
"Proms are getting a lot more positive coverage, but you can't ignore that this is a glamour event with real teen drama," notes Tom Lutes, VP of Student Aware Communications, which targets high school prom coordinators and attendees with its Web site (www.Perfectproms.com). "Our content is primarily aimed at reminding teens that proms can be high risk, and that they need to be safe, be smart, and be sober."
Outlets dedicated to proms, sweet 16 parties, and quincea–eras turn over most of their audiences every year to 18 months, then revisit the same themes. Yet, Pierce Mattie Public Relations publicist Shannon Nelson notes that the event titles still report on recent happenings. "They are still looking for new trends, so, for example, what happens during Fashion Week does dictate what they'll cover in terms of colors, designs, and fabrics."
Liggett Stashower account executive Michelle Leitzy adds that teen event magazines often go to production before even the monthly glossies. "We begin pitching the prom magazines in September and October because they're usually reaching newsstands in early February or March," she explains.
Pitching... teen events
- Pitch early - many of these outlets have very long lead times and a finite amount of editorial space, so it's important to get your product and trend ideas to the editors as early as possible
- Emphasize art - especially for fashion, hair, and makeup products - and look for a celebrity tie-in that will resonate within specific segments of the teen girl audience that are trying to look like their idols
- Expand your outreach to include story ideas aimed at parents, who usually end up footing the bill for proms, sweet 16 parties, and quincea–eras