Back to the ‘80s: The Preferred Social Networks of The Breakfast Club Members

It’s probable that if the movie were to take place today, the Breakfast Club clan already “liked” each other’s statuses and had a sense of what’s going on beneath the surface.

It’s been 30 years since 1985, but our favorite Brat Pack movies are as popular as ever. These films helped define a generation and remain relatable today, even in this age of hyper connectivity, technology and interaction. Leading up to October 21, 2015, better known as the day Marty McFly travels to the future, we’ll be exploring some of the most beloved ‘80s flicks under the lens of social media.

The Breakfast Club is the epitome of ‘80s culture — there are new wave anthems, there’s puffed up hair, and of course, there’s Molly Ringwald. While many of these trends have largely remained in the past (or about to come back), there’s debate about whether the plot of this beloved movie is dated as well; even suggestions that in 2015, the detainees would be “too busy Snapchatting and Instagramming to notice they should be friends.”

While it’s true Millennials and smartphones are often inseparable, it would be remiss to assume these students would have never interacted in this day in age. They are in now constant contact with classmates through social channels, so it’s probable that if the movie were to take place today, the Breakfast Club clan already “liked” each other’s statuses and had a sense of what’s going on beneath the surface.

Beyond legacy networks like Facebook, however, each character, from basket case to brain, princess to athlete, would likely be on different niche platforms, based on their personas. Marketers can look to these celebrated characters through the lens of social media to understand the benefits of what we believe would have been their preferred social networks and the unique experiences offered to audiences.

The Princess


The fashionista of the group, Claire Standish would spend her downtime attracting followers on Pinterest with her style sense. Aspirational in nature, Pinterest allows its predominantly female users to pin the outfits they’d love to wear, recipes they’re eager to try, and the crafts they want to create. Throughout the Breakfast Club, Claire longs for an escape — her parents are teetering on divorce, entrapping her in their arguments. A platform like Pinterest would allow Claire a window into the fabulous life she yearns to have.

Equipped with a heavy fashion focus, Pinterest inspires users like Claire to index their favorite outfits, makeup techniques and decor. This is a massive opportunity for beauty brands in particular, as 83 percent of users prefer to follow a brand than a notable celebrity and 73 percent refer to beauty brands over notable makeup artists.

Glamour aside, Claire may celebrate her new relationship with Bender by creating a secret wedding Pinterest board and creative ideas for couple gifts. P.S.: Her lipstick trick would totally go viral.

The Brain


Not only would brainy Brian Johnson have all the latest gadgets (the iPhone 6, an Apple Watch and Amazon Echo to name a few), but his phone would be bursting with by-the-minute updates from each of these companies. Thirsting for knowledge, we could expect to find Brian on Twitter, where 33 percent of millennials turn to receive their news.

Here, Brian would keep tabs on the latest and greatest tech innovations…likely when working on his own startup. Though a few years shy of graduation, Brian would also join the 50 percent of college graduates that utilize LinkedIn and network with recruiters at major technology companies. Being connected to successful innovators may ease Brian’s constant anxieties; he’ll find it easier to secure opportunities for the future, as well as learn tips from professionals on how to better manage his stress.

The Athlete


As someone who eats, sleeps and breathes sports, we wouldn’t be surprised to find Andrew Clark on Vine, streaming clips from his favorite pro teams. Athletes across sports, from Knicks player Iman Shumpert to James Dockery of the Carolina Panthers, have a presence on Vine, while brands like Nike Football scored 25 million loops and 157,000 followers.

Andrew has a Fitbit and is a big advocate of branded fitness challenges, particularly those that teach him new techniques, and keeping tabs on his exercise. While training for his next match, he also plays his Nike Run Club Spotify playlist. For extra inspiration, Andy follows “fitspiration” accounts on Instagram and is known to upload his new #SquadGoals — the Breakfast Club cheering him on at the ring.

The Criminal


John Bender is all over Reddit, where he’s apt to trolling discussion boards. While 15 percent of male Internet users 18 to 29 can be found on Reddit, brands are largely unsuccessful, as many Redditors are highly suspicious of corporate meddling. In fact, Reddit’s internal team is quick to warn advertisers that users may find their presence unwelcome.

Though headstrong users like Bender scare away many brands, others like Nissan and Amazon have found success. Back in 2013, Nissan asked Redditors what topped their Amazon wish list and rewarded the most creative responses — including the Nissan grand prize.

Bender also moonlights on Twitch, where he makes a hefty sum playing video games. Though not in the same bracket as the pros, who can earn as much as $100,000 based on their live streams alone, Bender has a decent following of users, 76 percent of which are between 18 to 49.

The Basket Case


Allison Reynolds lurks deep within the Internet, sharing her innermost thoughts on Whisper. A compulsive liar bursting with secrets, Allison has a plethora of confessions to share with Whisper’s 10 million users. Such admissions likely include her ability to eat, write, brush her teeth and play the piano with her toes as well as her tumultuous relationship with her parents.

While other confessional apps like Secret have shut down, Whisper struck a chord with its teenage audience, who have ample time to spend surfing the anonymous app. Since Whisper submissions are not linked to audience’s locations or contacts, users are granted the security to share their truest selves. Upon receiving Principal Vernon’s infamous essay prompt — “Describe who you think you are” — Allison will already have a significant head start.

An introvert by nature, Allison is also an early adopter of Yahoo Livetext, a messaging app that combines rapid-fire texting and soundless video. While some consider Livetext creepy, especially since users stare at their friends without being able to hear them, such an app is right up Allison’s alley. Allison is one of the least accessible Breakfast Club members; upon entering detention, she refrains from joining the first conversation and initially squeals instead of speaking.

Without the pressure of vocalizing her thoughts, Allison can communicate with friends at her own comfort level — and exercise her creative juices when doing so.

While much has changed in the 30 years since the Breakfast Club, detention remains intact and we very well may have found the Brat Pack in the same fate. However, with niche social apps at their fingertips, the detainees may be more secure in their own skin, especially after networking with others of the same interests. One thing’s for certain — whether situated in the mid-eighties or 2015, the Breakfast Club remains a classic, speaking to the trials of growing up and the value of interpersonal interaction. Can you describe the ruckus, sir? In 2015, the answer is, absolutely.

Jen Todd Gray is the senior vice president of marketing and creative services at HelloWorld.

All images courtesy of The Breakfast Club on Facebook.

Publish date: October 7, 2015 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT