by Robert van Alstyne
- More than 4,000 “Bronies,” adult male fans of children’s cartoon My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, descended upon New Jersey’s Meadowlands Exposition Center for BronyCon 2012, a decidedly unconventional fan convention.
- Proving that magical friendship knows no age, gender or sexuality boundaries, the mostly Millennial male crowd gathered in June 2012 to dance and sing along with songs from the show, purchase plentiful pony-themed tchotchkes and hear speeches from its stars. According to Bronies, the show that reboots the famous Hasbro children’s brand may have been intended for little girls, but its clever humor and complex characters are appealing to everyone.
- The proud members of Brony Nation include plenty of US military personnel, who attended the convention sporting custom-made Rainbow Dash patches on their military fatigues. The servicemen received a hero’s welcome from other BronyCon attendees.
- You’ve come a long way, Bronies. Just a year prior, the inaugural BronyCon in New York City only drew about 100 superfans.
WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS
- The Web is reshaping and expanding consumers’ relationships with televised entertainment. Individuals with quirky tastes — like, say, an adult male who finds himself deeply connecting to animated pony tales — can now instantly find like-minded souls and form close-knit communities.
- Long-held assumptions about gender and viewing audiences are quickly crumbling as Millennial consumers instilled with a gender-blind attitude enter adulthood. Dividing entertainment into “his” and “hers” or even “straight” and “gay” boxes is a pointless exercise in the eyes of most 20somethings.