As children grow older, they often begin to lose interest in Disney films, viewing them as childish. Since 1997, Disney has been in a sort of slump in appealing to older children and adolescents, as children have started to lose interest in Disney movies at a younger age ("The Walt Disney Co."). The Disney company clearly noted this trend and expanded its marketing and production tactics to appeal to older audiences - older children, teenagers, and adults - in order to increase profit.
Disney Channel was the company's first major addition to their media productions to interest older audiences. Many films and TV shows are promoted for teens, even in their titles alone, such as Teen Beach Movie and High School Musical. The plot line and humor in these movies is actually more directed towards preteens or older elementary-aged children, but the titles and inclusion of older people sways viewers away from believing they are kids' movies. Particularly with live actors, older children and preteens are less likely to associate Disney Channel productions with the childish features of their animated pictures. Disney's rhetoric of their preteen driven TV network is an effective marketing strategy to separate more mature Disney productions for older viewers from the classic Disney image of childhood animations.
Furthermore, Disney began to expand its marketing strategies to even older audiences with PG-13 rated movies. Though Disney Channel productions are clearly intended for older audiences than animated productions, the shows and movies are still rated G or PG. Films with PG-13 ratings automatically suggest teenagers and older viewers as the target audience as one would legally have to be at least thirteen years of age to view the movie without parental guidance. Films, such as Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Lone Ranger, contain violent, and complicated themes. These action-packed films easily attract the interest of teenagers. At the beginning of the 21st century, Disney did not place on the Teenage Research Unlimited's Survey of the 'Fifty Coolest Teen Brands' and it is apparent that in recent times Disney has made additional attempts to increase the company's popularity among adolescent audiences ("The Walt Disney Co.").
Disney has progressed its rhetoric on appeal to older audiences by producing movies aimed almost entirely at adults. Certain productions, Million Dollar Arm and Saving Mr. Banks, for example, consist of a cast of almost entirely adults, and utilize more complex themes like business encounters. Disney target-advertises adults with these films by playing trailers prior to other adult movies, and promoting the cast and themes within these trailers. Even Disney's website pages and movie posters appear as a completely different in style to those aimed at teens or children. Disney hopes for adults to be interested in the company themselves, instead of just through their children's interest. Disney's rhetoric on marketing of more mature themes and story lines, and older cast members, draws the attention of adults and oftentimes successfully increases their interest in the Walt Disney Company.
As one of the most successful companies in the world, Disney needs to appeal to a wide variety of audiences to continue the company's profit gain. Dave Bui, a SalesChase writer, discussed Disney's successful marketing techniques, noting, "Disney understands its target market inside out. The company uses this deep knowledge of its target market to sell all kinds of products and services. It serves the infant category with as much ease as it does the teen or adult category." Additionally, Walt Disney himself stated, "You’re dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway” (Bui 2012). Disney's rhetoric to appeal to older audiences, through specific targeting of different themes and cast members, proves very successful in the company's marketing technique.