How Brands Can Reach Teenage Boys

How Brands Can Reach Teenage Boys

Here at Alice, we recently had Transition Year student Jack Molony join us on work experience. Jack is a student at St. Michael’s College in Dublin, and we took the opportunity to pick his brains on how brands can successfully target teenage boys. In this blog post, he shares his top tips, including his analysis on how sports clubs have effectively tapped into this audience…

There are many ways for a PR agency or brand to reach their target audience. One of the most effective ways to reach teenage boys is often through linking social media and sport.

The most followed and popular sport in the world is football, and, although it is growing fast around the world, it is still most popular in Europe. This is also where the top 5 football leagues in the world are located and the world’s most valuable clubs. These clubs include Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Real Madrid and PSG.

According to an AACAP survey, at least 75% of 13- to 17-year-olds have an active social media account on YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat or TikTok.

These are existing platforms that are being actively used by these sports clubs to reach their target audiences.

Social Media Use by European Football Clubs

Since the top European football clubs joined social media, they have amassed hundreds of millions of followers across all platforms. The top-followed European clubs include Real Madrid with 360 million followers, Barcelona with 318 million, Manchester United with 200 million, PSG with 160 million and Manchester City, also with 160 million.

On each of these clubs’ social media pages, they offer a link to download their app. On their apps, clubs advertise their products and services directly. For football clubs, this includes the sale of club merchandise, such as mugs, scarves and team jerseys, as well as the sale of match tickets.

To attract their customers and fans on social media, the clubs create content featuring their players or team. Clubs do this by taking short clips of a goal, skill or match highlight featuring their team, and posting it on social media. This is mainly done on Instagram and TikTok. Another social media tactic used is interviews with players, giving insights into their daily lives and personal preferences.

Social Media Use by Sports Clubs and Leagues in the USA

In the USA, sport is also extremely popular among teenagers, although basketball, baseball and American football are much more popular than football.

There are an estimated 25% of people aged 10-19 years old in the USA, who use TikTok. The platform has just under 150 million users in total in the USA, according to TikTok. Teams from the National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball (MLB) have taken full advantage of social media, with teams including a link in their social media profiles that brings you straight to a ticket sale site. This tactic skips the middle-man of an app (such as those used by many European football clubs) and makes the process of buying tickets a lot more straightforward.

As well as the teams selling their products and services, the official leagues of the NBA, NFL and MLB have their own TikTok and Instagram profiles that post highlights of all the teams in their league. Like the European football clubs, these leagues - through their social media channels – prompt you to install a free app. This app is different to the football clubs, though, as it advertises its streaming channel so you can watch league games, as well as offering you merchandise for sale.

These over-arching social media profiles run by the leagues tend to get a lot more followers and views than individual teams, as they often offer exclusive interviews with legends of the sport and this type of content is in high demand amongst fans.

The main way these leagues and clubs target teenage boys is through sports highlights of their favourite players or teams, but sports organisations are not the only businesses aiming to target teenage boys with their product or service.

Beyond Sports

Most big clothes brands are now advertising on social media using paid ads to promote their products, or in some cases – such as JD Sports – they promote their products by collaborating with famous social media content creators that appeal to the target audience of teenagers or young adults.

For example, JD’s most recent collaboration was a series of small fun question games with social media star Chunkz, who has amassed over 20 million followers on all platforms. This series of games was posted on TikTok but, instead of posting all the videos one by one in order, JD posted one video from the series, followed by a video promoting a product they are selling, followed by the next video of Chunkz playing another game. This meant that anyone wanting to watch the full series would also have to watch product advertisements between each video of Chunkz.

Food and drink companies also target teenagers through social media. Chains such as Wendy’s (in the USA) and McDonald’s post content about their products that teenagers find relatable. They also comment humorously on other posts that are popular with teenagers. When done well, this is a really effective tactic because teenagers find it exceptionally memorable to see a large everyday brand they know well sharing the same humour as them.

Some of these food chains use similar tactics to JD sports and put ads for their food, similar to their ads on TV, in between the humorous and relatable videos on their page.

Many other multibillion-euro food chains follow this same tactic, including KFC, Burger King, Starbucks, Subway, Dominos Pizza and Taco Bell.

Going Above and Beyond

In conclusion, brands need to go above and beyond to reach teenage consumers, specifically boys.

They can do this by going further than just TV ads and building their social media following through sharing humorous and relatable content, as well as promoting their products or services. This is the best way to ensure teenagers will engage with their brand.