A notable bunch of audience members outside of the intended (i.e., marketed) demographic.
This is very frequent when it comes to Western Animation that manages to overcome the Animation Age Ghetto and feature subtle humor that's often over the heads of youngsters. Then of course, there's the simple fact that despite the increasing presence of adult-oriented animation, there's still a severe lack of cartoons specifically directed towards teenagers. As a result, teens who are still into animation have no choice but to tack onto the viewership of one or the other.
A very noticeable instance of this occurs in the anime fansub community. Digital recorders/encoders, which effectively remove the timeslot and language constraints to a program, make it accessible to anyone, and the series audience is largely drawn only by the perceived quality of the show itself. For this reason, a show packed with girls is enough like "a show packed with girls" that may be enjoyed by the same fan, even if that fan is wildly different than the 'original' one. This likewise holds with male characters, who are often deliberately drawn as pretty boys in order to attract fangirls who were reading similar stories anyway (e.g., Bishonen Jump Syndrome, because Shonen Jump was infamous for it). Sometimes this is taken a step further and you get a Selective Squick-cleansed rough adapation of the premise marketed directly to them.
It is also common for a popular franchise that is marketed towards children to gain an older fanbase if it's been around for a while; many of these older fans enjoyed it when they were young and simply never outgrew it. The companies making such shows may give little nods to the older fans (and sometimes even make new installments that cater exclusively to older fans). Some fans, perhaps because of these nods, seem not to realize that these popular kids' series are still made mainly for kids, and that doesn't change just because the older viewers are not kids anymore. Unfortunately, fans like these may cause negative stereotypes about nerd fanbases.
A large portion of the periphery demographic also comes since media classifications are very often ignored and media intended for mature audiences (like First-Person Shooter games) also attracts teens and preteen audience.
Can also be due to many demographics simply having wider ranges of interest than they're given credit for.
Series with strong marketing sense usually profit from being at least slightly aware of these fans, if not outright creating Multiple Demographic Appeal. Unfortunately, this creates the danger of an annoying Periphery Demographic being viewed as a Misaimed Fandom, if not outright Fan Dumb.
Also some fans within a show's main demographic, may consider the work in question a guilty pleasure.
This Cracked article gives you a good sample of what you can expect from this trope.
When the Periphery Demographic is in another country, then you've got Germans Love David Hasselhoff. For specific example of Periphery Demographics, see Estrogen Brigade and Testosterone Brigade. Contrast Periphery Hatedom.
In Love And Rockets, Doralis's kids' show develops a big adult male Periphery Demographic purely because of how hot she is. Then subverted when, after her lesbianism is publicly revealed, the channel tries to continue it virtually unchanged in a late-night time slot as an adult show and discovers that the Periphery Demographic isn't big enough to sustain it.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid : Rowley, a middle schooler who's 11 at the youngest, goes to Europe in Rodrick Rules, and gets hooked on an Idol Singer named Joshie who Greg points out is for 6-year-old girls; but is rebuffed by Rowley when he tells him this. The same book also has Rowley get Dino-Blazer toys and enjoy them.
Jack Hodgins from Bones is revealed in the episode "The Bone in the Bounty" to be a fan of children's shows and Bill NyeEx Py Bunsen Jude the Science Dude. When told "you're a bit older than my usual audience", he explains that it was a drinking game.
In U.S. Acres, Booker and Shelldon, two baby chicks, watch a children's show featuring a clown as the main character. In an earlier comic, we see Filbert The Worm watching the same show. Filbert is an adult worm, so how could he be watching a kids' show?
Phoenix Wright chides his assistant Maya (17) for enjoying The Steel Samurai, a Sentai show that she readily admits is marketed for 10-year olds. Later games reveal that Miles Edgeworth is as much of a rabid fan, if not more so, than Maya, despite being in his mid-20s. Must be an attorney thing.
A Checkerboard Nightmare arc had the titular character create a children's show with the sole purpose of creating a fiercely loyal demographic and the prospect of selling merchandise. However, the show's blantant Merchandise-Driven nature coupled with its 4 A.M. timeslot (the only one Chex could afford) makes it a hit with teenagers and young adults who mistake it for satire.
In Homestuck, Dirk, much like many people in real life, claims to watch My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic out of an outsider, scientific interest in popular culture and the way it reflects society, but secretly admits to being very fond of Rainbow Dash.
Rugrats: In one of the episodes, the whole family goes to the movies to watch the latest "Dummi Bears" movie. The children (and grandpa) lose interest quickly, while the rest of the adults become enraptured.
In another episode, they go to see a Reptar On Ice show (with a very cheesy Romantic Plot Tumor). The kids go off in search of Reptar, Didi and Stu fall asleep, and Grandpa actually gets into it.
In yet another episode, Mafia boss Jack Montello is revealed to be an obsessed Dummi Bears fan.
Following into All Grown Up!, it is shown in one episode that Kimi (now 10-11) still enjoys watching the Dummi Bears, and is terrified at the thought of anyone finding out.
An episode of Arthur revolved around Arthur (who is in the third grade and eight years old) being both thrilled that Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood fame was going to visit the family and terrified that his classmates would make fun of him for still loving a "baby show". It turns out that the classmates also all still love the show.
Another episode showed Arthur developing an interest in the trippy children's show Love Ducks, and enduring the mockery of his classmates. However, they soon watched Love Ducks, and ended up liking it as well.
In Kim Possible, Cuddle Buddies are a Wuzzles/Beanie Baby knock-off that attracts the attention of then 15 year old Kim as well as the 30 something villain DNAmy. As Kim gets older, 17-18 by the shows end, it's implied she hasn't grown out of them.
A very rare variety is mentioned at one point, implying that the manufacturer is marketing to adult collectors as well as children.
Fairly OddParents: When first introduced, Chip Skylark's fans were exclusively teenage girls..."and Timmy Turner's Dad."
In the Bob's Burgers episode "The Equestranauts", Tina is a fan of the eponymous magical talking horse adventures show, and she and her dad are equally surprised to find there's a massive following of adult male fans who call themselves "Equest-icles".
The MarvelTransformers Generation 1 comic would occasionally get letters from parents who admitted to reading their kids' comics after dropping the young 'uns off at school. One wonders how the kids would feel if their friends happened to read that letter.
For a line marketed mostly to 5-12 year old boys, the Marvel Adventures comics have a pretty decently-sized internet fanbase of mostly adults. This can be attributed almost entirely to the fact that the comics are both A) excellently written, and B) Fun.
In the same vain, there's Tiny Titans on the DC side of the fence.
Chick Tractsmay or may not be an example — their target demographic is evangelical Christians, but said Christians are supposed to use them as witnessing tools to convert non-Christians... the very people who are the biggest "fans" of the tracts — but for otherreasons.
Even among Christians these tracts have gained notoriety. Mainly the only churches still using them are isolated rural community churches who believe any contradictory statements to those made by Jack Chick must be Satanic lies. Even the provably false stuff like what your average Dungeons & Dragons game looks like.
The BDSM community is likely the only place on Earth where the Joker is considered a supporting character to Harley Quinn.
The Disney Ducks have traditionally been aimed at children. however, PKNA gained a decent college-age fanbase.
Unintentionally invoked by Jhonen Vasquez. Kids who loved Invader Zim, would eventually look for other things created by Vasquez. Unfortunately, these other things included a series about a homicidal maniac. Somehow, the title still didn't deter kids from reading it. Disastrous results occurred.
Tons of people who used Windows XP Professional edition were home users, instead of business users as originally intended. This one can be blamed on Technology Marches On. In the early years, there were software houses that released software that outright refused to install if it detected that the version of Windows installed was not XP Professional (IBM with Rational Rose and DataStage comes to mind). Yes, there are people who take their work home, particularly if there's a looming deadline and they're not allowed to stay at the office overnight, and there are companies evil enough to not provide a laptop to the employee if they need to take their work home. Later, when multi-core CPUs hit the market, it was discovered that Windows XP Home was crippled to the point where it supported only one core in one CPU, nothing more. As far as Windows XP is concerned, each core is a separate CPU. Sure, Device Manager shows two CPUs on a dual core machine, but Task Manager shows only one CPU, and does not provide any options to map CPU affinity.
Another important advantage of Windows XP Professional is that it has a very good DOS-Compatibility. So you can use it both for doing serious things like writing Programs or control selfmade Aardware and connect to the internet without having to reboot or use another computer simultaneously. (In the Future one could also connect to the Internet with FreeDOS but its currently quite buggy.) As long you are Administrator, you can access most Hardware directly, without access violations. This is also important for some commercial Devices for burning PROMS or Microcontrollers because they also use the COM-Port directly (and don't support Linux). Further you can redirect Datastreams to COM and LPT ports, bypassing the Windows Printer Driver. This is very useful if one writes Programs and wants to print several Headers (*.H,*.ASH,...) on the same piece of Paper or have an endless Paper Pinprinter. The Windows Printer Driver adds always Pagefeeds so one would waste plenty paper using it. Under Windows XP Professional you can simply send Data to ports with Commands like "TYPE VGA.ASH >LPT 1". The only annoying thing is that Windows XP doesn't recon the \\DEV\\ Directory (as opposed to true DOSes).
Because Windows ME was such a horribly buggy operating system, a lot of home users settled for Windows 2000 instead, which was similarly intended for business users.
Adobe Photoshop was originally targeted at the professional market segment only and was priced accordingly. But the vast number of home users pirating it for private use, like Fauxtivational Poster, made Adobe realize this marked potential and led to the release of the much more affordable Photoshop Elements line.
There is a recent trend for General-purpose computing on graphics processing units (GPU) aka tricking video chips into performing calculations on data other than images. Technology which was originally designed solely to create cool graphics for video gamers now becomes interesting for use in systems which usually don't even have video output, like high performance supercomputing clusters.
The basic idea has been around a for quite a while: there were people writing number-crunching programs to run on the graphics hardware of Evans & Sutherland graphical workstations at least as far back as the 1980s, because it was much faster than doing the same thing on the CPU, especially for tasks that parallelized well. The only thing that's "recent" is that the technique became more or less common knowledge.
UNIX-based OSes are often seen as intended for programmers and other geeks who have in-depth knowledge of how to use them, but are gaining in popularity among casual users who simply want an alternative to Microsoft and Apple, or for ideological reasons (FLOSS).
Mac OS X (along with iOS) is in fact UNIX-based. It's more or less a front-end for the Darwin OS, which is itself a descendent of both UNIX and Free BSD. Also, from the perspective of the console, the filesystem and command structure of Mac OS X is obviously UNIX. While Darwin is largely open source, proprietary UNIX distributions do exist (i.e. HP-UX, pre-2005 Solaris). In any case, starting with Mac in particular can be a good way to ascend from casual userdom to geek level. While Mac OS X is intended for nontechnical users, a number of programmers have adopted it because of the previously mentioned UNIX underpinnings.
In fact all Usages of Linux on PCs or embedded Systems are cases of periphery demographics, because Linux was initially intended as a Unix Clone and Unix only ran on large Computers like mainframes and servers (Homecomputers used CP\\M or DOS). But Technology Marches On and now every PC with an 80386 or higher and other microprocessors which support some kind of protected mode can run Linux or Linux-ports.
Any software project will find a use other than what it was originally designed for.
Windows Movie Maker 2.6 is available for download on Microsoft's website, and is meant for people whose computers couldn't support 6.0, the version that came with Vista. However, there are Vista and 7 users who downloaded it because 2.6 is the version that came with XP, and they prefer it over Movie Maker 6.0 and Windows Live Movie Maker.
Because scripting languages are relatively easy to code for, they often attract people who don't have traditional computer science backgrounds.
Animal House might just be the trope codifier. The film was originally made for grown up Baby Boomers who were part of the whole Youth Counterculture movement of the 60's. Low and behold, the film's biggest fans turned out to be high school and college students, while many of the adults it was marketed at were turned off by its raunchiness.
The Avengers was initially aimed at comic book fans. When its success became apparent, it was marketed as a movie for the entire family.
While Michael Moore's 1989 documentary Roger & Me hardly painted GM in a positive light, it became really popular within the corporation due to its humorous and buffoon-like portrayal of GM's then-CEO Roger Smith. By the time of the film's release in the Christmas season of 1989, GM was losing significant amounts of money and market share, leading many employees and executives to become disillusioned with Smith's leadership.
The Burton/Schumacher Batman films were also made for adults. Well, at least the 1989 original was - but kids wound up loving it anyway, PG-13 rating and all. Kim Basinger even remarked that for years afterwards she couldn't go anywhere children were present without being recognized as Vicki Vale. This had pretty grim consequences when it came to Batman Returns: Warner Brothers simply ran with their Periphery Demographic and outright marketed the movie toward children. Big mistake.
Tyler Perry's movies are pretty popular with white Southerners, probably due to the Christian values promoted. Surprising because his target demographic is black church-going types.
Superbad was mainly targeted toward the 20-37-year old people who remember what high school was like, but it has also gained many 14-18-year old fans who enjoy the movie for its crazy and naughty humor, and the characters.
Ratatouille, as noted by The Onion AV Club, has gained a cult following among all artists because it is the best at showing what actually creating art feels like.
It also gained recognition from critics as one of the only movies that, well... justifies the existence of critics.
How to Train Your Dragon, a children's movie, has a big teenage/twentysomething following on sites like deviantART, mostly due to its clever humor and emotional depth.
Inverted for Wreck-It Ralph. Although mainly targeted towards traditional family audiences like the rest of the Disney Animated Canon, it was also made specifically to appeal to the retro-gaming crowd.
Disney had so little faith in The Nightmare Before Christmas, which was darker in style than its usual fare, that it opted to release the film under its Touchstone Pictures label. Not only was the film unexpectedly popular, but it managed to reach a demographic that Disney barely even knew existed - Goth teens.
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is considered by many to be far too dark and depressing for children. It's essentially a dark comedy about different ways the author can torment children and the unusual ways supporting characters can be killed.
Harry Potter. The original series was intended for children and adolescents, but the series quickly caught on with adults as well. Different covers were created specifically to market the books toward adults. However, the author JK Rowling designed the series specifically to avoid alienating fans who had grown up by the time the it was completed. Each book grows progressively more mature, "growing up" with the reader.
Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials is both a children's story and an allegorical discourse on various complex issues of science and philosophy.
The Twilight books by Stephenie Meyer, aimed at teenage girls, have a significant overlap with the romance novel demographic of middle-aged women. And the Hatedom continues to buy books just so they can mock them
It also has a hugegay fanbase. Many on the internet speculate that if Jacob and Edward had been the couple of the series instead, it would've been far more interesting.
Everyone who reads Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a Periphery Demographic according to either the author (who planned it as a The Wonder Years-type nostalgia trip for adults) or the publisher (whose idea it was to market it as a kids' book).
The Hunger Games is an interesting example of what happens when you ignore the periphery demographic. Marketed as a gritty dystopia, its romantic subplot attracted a large number of young female fans (particularly after Stephenie Meyer endorsed the series.) When the final book dropped most of the romance to focus in on the dystopian elements, fans still bought it - they just complained about it on the internet. Now, the franchise's female fan base is much larger than its male one.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians has a very large fanbase of older fans of high school and college age (as well as librarians and parents) who picked up the series and stuck with it not only for it's clever humor and being based on the idea of the Mythology Gag, but also because of it's surprisingly deep character development and realistic responses to certain situations. It's a rare mixture of regular young teen action/adventure novels mixed with older demographic drama.
Since their creation in the late 1920's, it's always been a given that Nancy Drew is "for girls" and the Hardy Boys are "for boys." However, since there is very little difference between the series besides the names of the main characters, the two fandoms have a large amount of overlap (in fact, Nancy was actually created because so many girls read the Hardy Boys, they saw a large untapped market.) Nowadays, there's also a large periphery of older fans who read for nostalgia as well.
The vast majority of the remaining Animorphs fandom consists of adults who read the series as kids back in the '90's.
Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss is an extremely popular gift to give kids upon graduating high school.
It seems unlikely that Victor Hugo wrote Les Misérables expecting it to garner a large fanbase of teenaged and twentysomething women.
Taylor Swift seems to have a large following of young adult males, despite being marketed to teenage girls.
They Might Be Giants started out aiming at two separate audiences: New York hipsters and college-age alternative rock fans. But from the beginning, they've always managed to attract a huge cult following among teens. Then, when their original fans got older and started playing TMBG to their kids, the band was surprised to discover that they had a lot preteen fans too. Since then, they've started doing child-oriented work (albums, DVDs, kids-only concerts, even some stuff for Disney) alongside their usual stuff. However, they've made a point of making their children's music accessible to their adult fans too.
The Beatles gained a large crop of child fans with the animated movie Yellow Submarine, an inversion of the usual Animation Age Ghetto situation. In fact, George Harrison claimed that was how his own son came to know of the Beatles, since Harrison hadn't yet informed his son that he'd been in one of the most popular bands of all time.
The Beatles' more innocent and silly songs have also been frequently recorded specifically as children's songs. "Octopus' Garden" is a major target, as is the iconic "Yellow Submarine" song itself.
Before Michael Jackson's death, his "This Is It" concerts were stated to be an oldies act by the news media who expected mostly people in their 40s and up to be buying tickets. However, most of the people who actually bought tickets to the concerts were people in their 20s who became fans long after Michael's heyday. In fact, Michael kept a relatively young audience, especially females, throughout his entire solo career. Which is very rare for an older act.
Madonna is another example. She is marketed towards a female audience, but her biggest market is largely in the gay community. Also, like Michael, since she changes her format and looks every five or so years, she constantly has a fresh audience to perform for.
Gaga is also quite popular with middle aged women and mothers, no doubt due to her heavy Madonna influence.
Many fans in the western side of the world inexplicably fail to realize that Hello! Project fandom is meant to include both ninth-grade girls and college-age guys.
Emilie Autumn, despite probably, along with Otep, being the closest thing to riot grrrl today, has a rather large male fanbase.(according to a survey, as much as 60% of her fans were male). She has acknowledged this, calling them her "Asylum Boys".
For most of the 1980s and 1990s, Johnny Cash was thought by most country music executives to be washed up and incapable of attracting younger fans. Then he hooked up with producer Rick Rubin for a series of recordings featuring covers of artists such as Nine Inch Nails in classic Johnny Cash style. These were a huge success with young Alternative Rock fans, revitalizing Cash's career.
In general, Johnny Cash has long been the one exception for people who say they don't like country.
Hippies and stoners like to read the song "Puff The Magic Dragon" as a metaphor about getting high, rather than the obvious story about childhood imagination and growing up. The writers of the song have made it very clear that it's not about drugs.
A lot of fans of rave music have no interest in going to a club, they enjoy it for its energy. Particularly amongst fans of metal and punk. As a result there are a lot of bands who cross over metal and dance music, and their fanbases are similarly entwined.
Rapper Too $hort's music is made up of stories about pimps and hoes. But you would be shocked to know that he has a disturbingly large racially diverse female fan base.
Many of Otaku band Area 11's fans are just viewers of the Yogscast, due to two of their members, Sparkles* and Alex Parvis, being members of the network and providing music for the main channel, and not necessarily fans of anime, although a few fans have since gone on to become fans of anime as a result of this band. It helps that they are subtle enough with some of their references and the Gratuitous Japanese isn't too OTT.
Avenged Sevenfold has a surprisingly large female fanbase. Probably because their music, despite its fierce nature, generally averts the Rated M for Manly trope. Opting to, instead, follow the "sensitive tough guy" model of most post-grunge bands.
Heavy Metal was originally intended to appeal to working-class, male teenagers and young adults - especially if they were heavily disillusioned with life and taking drugs. How ironic, then, that metal eventually developed a huge middle-class fanbase, and became almost as popular with girls as it was with boys.
One of the earliest metal bands, Blue Öyster Cult, provides a very good example of how the genre managed to branch out. BOC originally meant to appeal to three specific demographics: intellectuals, hippies, and kids who wanted to shock their parents. They were very surprised in the mid-1970s to find that their albums were being snapped up by pop-music fans, and adjusted their sound accordingly. By the early '80s, they were practically a New Wave/synthpop band.
The Far Side gained a substantial following among biologists and other scientists, most particularly for cartoonist Gary Larson's humorous yet accurate depictions of anthropomorphic animals. Larson, himself a wilderness buff, was especially gratified by this, especially when one of his fans arranged to have a species of chewing louse named after him.
And as a further Shout-Out, when a paleontologist realized that no scientist had ever actually given a name to the bunch of bone spikes on a stegosaur's tail, he proceeded to start using the name given to them by the one guy who had thought about it: thus the growing usage of thagomizer in the paleontological community.
Following one cartoon that involved a female chimp accusing a male chimp of "hanging around with that Goodall tramp", Larson got a bunch of hate-mail from people who resented the implication on Jane Goodall's behalf - and a letter from Goodall herself telling him that she thought the cartoon was hilarious and that she was honored to have been featured. Goodall, who was a long time fan of The Far Side enjoyed the cartoon so much that she invited Larson to her nature reserve in Tanzania and wrote the preface for a collection of Far Side comics that included the cartoon. Her institute also recently began selling a T-shirt with that same cartoon on it.
And in the first known instance of interspecies Periphery Hatedom, Frodo, Goodall's alpha male chimp, proceeded to beat the snot out of poor Gary Larson. Jane Goodall recounted the experience in the preface she wrote to one of the Far Side collections.
Baby Blues, a domestic family strip which has always had at least one baby in it, is supposedly popular among loads of baby-less fans… even teenage girls.
Cirqus Voltaire is somewhat polarizing to most players, but it has a very enthusiastic following within the gay community. Designer John Popadiuk guesses they like the "happy music and bright colors".
Cabin Pressure is a fairly gentle and traditional Radio 4 comedy, Radio 4's audience being memetically middle-aged, middle-class and terribly English. Presumably thanks to the presence of Benedict Cumberbatch in the cast (as well as the program being good enough to sustain a devoted following), the show has attracted quite a fandom on the notably international, all-comers, young people jamboree that is Tumblr.
Australian radio station TripleJ has a large one. Though intended to cater to Australian youth 18-34, many of its most vocal listeners grew up with the station and its music. This can lead to plenty of Nostalgia Filter and constant whining over the year's Hottest 100, leading to the saying, "If you don't enjoy TripleJ anymore, you're too old!"
The Internet and The New Tens gave them another one: non-Australians. Early in the last decade, votes for the Hottest 100 ranged in the hundreds of thousands. Starting in 2009, the total was around a billion, or about 'one-seventh of the Earth's population!!. Hottest 100 parties are now thrown all over the world. Not bad for an indie music station!
Transformers is the absolute king of this. About 10% - 20% of toys are sold to adult collectors. Hasbro and Takara Tomy are only too pleased to appeal to these people, with homage-tastic toys, G1-centric comics, and general love. Plus, we have Transformers Animated, master of the Mythology Gag and much loved among fans for its own merits.
While Transformers may be the king, it's fair to say that My Little Pony has become this trope's queen. The kicker to its demographic, however, came much later, beginning with My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic developing the rather unexpected "brony" fandom. These fans praise the cartoon for many reasons, ranging from quality animation, to well-developed characters, to great pop culture Shout Outs, and even the domination of the internet by pony memes. Much of the fandom for this show built its foundations on the internet, and many view the episodes on livestreams, YouTube, or download them via torrents. Some have chosen to support Hasbro's show with their hard earned cash to make up for their effective piracy of the show (which Hasbro doesn't seem to mind about, generally allowing episodes to be posted online without penalty, as long as it's TV rips from The Hub). Others genuinely are into it for collecting. Regardless of the reasons though, an increasing number of these brony fans have taken to browsing the pink aisle in their local department stores.
Some bronies buy custom toys from other bronies. The work put into these can be staggeringly amazing, and some sell on eBay for thousands of dollars.
Though it is worth noting that some official merchandise actually spits in the face of this trope, with Hasbro actually changing elements of the show in order to sell their products better with young girls. One such change was altering Princess Celestia's color from white◊ to pink◊, much to many bronies' chagrin.
And in the summer of 2012, Derpy Hooves got her own toy as the San Diego Comic-Con's ""2012 Special Edition Pony." It became one of the fastest selling My Little Pony toys ever as it sold out at the Comic-Con and online.
In the world of toys, there's LEGO. While the iconic building bricks are marketed to kids, there's a number of adults who make a hobby of them as well. LEGO has seemed to thoroughly embrace this demographic; scale LEGO models and the people who design and build them are showcased in the Legoland theme parks, and there's a downloadable program for home model design and purchase. And then there's the LEGO themes with nostalgia value, like Lego Star Wars and Lego Indiana Jones. Even the in-house BIONICLE line has its own Periphery Demographic. And then there's a host of online webcomics using LEGO, such as Irregular Webcomic!.
LEGO itself may be a sort of double-inversion, as the toys were originally intended as architectural tools to allow, well, architects to rough out a model of a prospective building in 3D in a rapid and efficient manner. To this day they're still used as this, and LEGO has even spun-off a corporate consulting division which uses LEGO bricks to help solve problems in similar ways. This went full circle when LEGO started its Architecture line, LEGO sets for architectually famous buildings.
Being an adult also has its advantages. For one thing, it's actually affordable to you, and adults have the skills to engineer much more complex sets (check out the author's creations here at Reasonably Clever, home of the famous LEGO Minimizer).
LEGO Mindworks has become popular as of late with early robotics engineering prototyping, lower level university mechanical engineering courses, and AI with robots (which hack out the default Mindworks instruction system for something more suitable like ROS).
If that wasn't enough, The LEGO Movie actually made this a plot point. They also do Shout Outs to BIONICLE and Fubuland, two sets that ended before most kids nowadays were born.
A line of merchandise called 151 was released in Japan. What are they? Artistic Pokémon products for the series' large young adult fanbase, many of whom became fans when they themselves were children. As the name implies, it focuses on the first-generation Pokémon that the older fans started with.
American Girl, despite being a company aimed at girls between the ages of 8 and 12 mostly, has a very large fanbase of adult women, usually middle-aged or older with either children outside of the target age or no children of their own. There are at least three popular adult collector forums (with thousands of members each) and most of the secondary market is fueled by the demand from adult collectors.
If you go to a Barbie convention, you will not find many people there who are too young to buy the dolls with their own money, and only about half of them will be female.
Even specific toys can get this. A Hot Wheels radar gun has become remarkably popular among geeks, presumably because it's cheap, durable enough to stand up to kids, and one of the few radar guns you can buy in the toy section of any store.
There are internet forums dedicated to Webkinz collecting. Almost none of the members are in the target demographic of children.
Many action figure lines get this, either due to nostalgia or the company willingly trying to appeal to the collector market. The most well known examples are the aforementioned Transformers, Tamashii Nation's sublines (SH Figuarts, Robot Spirits, Super Robot Chogokin, Ultra-Act, D-Arts and the like) and Marvel Legends, one of the first figure lines made to appeal to adult collectors for usually excellent sculpts and hyper-articulation.
Beanie Babies, originally made for children like nearly every other plush toy, were insanely popular among adult collectors in the latter half of The Nineties. The collector's market was absolutely ludicrous, with many housewives paying thousands of dollars just to get some obscure, retired Beanie or a rare variant. (For instance, the dark-blue variant of Peanut the Elephant once fetched $5,000 — compare to the roughly $5 that probably even most kids could afford for the more common ones.) There was also a sub-market of collector related paraphernalia, such as special plastic boxes to protect the Beanies themselves, clamshells for their tags, entire books and magazines dedicated to the fandom, et cetera.
Plastic model construction kits have gone in and out of fashion, but are currently undergoing something of a renaissance. Old established firms like Airfix still consider their primary demographic is adolescent boys, but enough adult males still enjoy constructing the kits to a high professional standard - generally affluent older males who grew up with Airfix, Revell, et c, and who now have disposable income for buying models and accessories. "Simple" kits marketed at the young now rub shoulders with insanely detailed models of fearsome complexity marketed with older people in mind who can afford to invest more time and experience.
The classic European TV series The Magic Roundabout (known mostly to Americans through Doogal, the Macekred dub of the recent CGI movie) is both popular with children and with teen-to-college-age "sophisticates" who just "knew" that they were about drugs. The drug references didn't have to be genuine, the teens just had to convince themselves that they were cool enough to spot a hidden message. The English dub of Magic Roundabout did have a degree of satire aimed at the older viewers, a genuine case of Multiple Demographic Appeal, but the drug thing is an urban myth.
The Hello Kitty franchise appears to be aimed at young girls, but that doesn't explain the Hello Kitty vibrators.
What does explain them is that using a cartoon character lets them be sold as toys legally when selling them as sexual aids isn't.
That, and Hello Kitty is on tons of things you wouldn't expect, anyway, so it was probably inevitable.
Yeah, like Machine Guns...
While in other parts of the world, Hello Kitty may seem like strictly kids' stuff, in Japan they've been marketing Hello Kitty to the teen/young adult crowd since the beginning.
You'd expect the primary market for guns in the U.S. to be either criminals or angry rednecks, right? Well, a lot of gun owners are young, urban adults and middle-aged women.
Actually inverted. Regular handguns and such are actually intended (with emphasis on the intended) to be sold to responsible citizens for self-defense, technically making the criminals and such the true Periphery Demographic.
It makes sense, because "young, urban adults" are the ones most vulnerable to street crime, and the ones most justified in protecting themselves. Who is an "angry redneck" living out in the woods ever going to need to shoot?
The intended demographic usually only own one gun, or at least one at a time. The Periphery Demographic however usually owns (or has regular access to) at least two or more guns.
Elouai.com is a dollmaker website, directed at girls ages 4 to 14. However, due to the high quality of the art and the vast range of available "parts", it has attracted a large number of teenage-and-young-adult writers - people who tend to have little art skill, but want a quick visual representation of their characters, for showing off and for personal reference.
While compact economy cars like the Saturn, Honda Civic, Dodge Neon, and Ford Focus were originally intended for women and first-time car buyers, they became very popular among young males and car enthusiasts due to how easily they could be turned into performance vehicles. The automakers have acknowledged this periphery demographic and that is why high-performance versions of these vehicles, such as the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, exist.
Volkswagen was the first automaker to acknowledge and try to exploit this periphery demographic with the 1975 release of the Golf GTi, a high performance version of the Golf hatchback. It was a resounding success and inspired other automakers to make high performance versions of their economy cars.
While we are on the subject of cars; the Dodge Viper. Essentially a two-seater with a truck engine, Dodge thought it would be bought by the regular sports-car crowd, millionaires and such, while in reality most buyers were upper working-class who had saved up for it and given it to themselves as a reward.
Another example could be the Mercury Grand Marquis, a large luxury car. While it was intended for older suburban whites, it is very popular among young African-Americans.
The coin-operated rides outside of supermakets. Hope the place has no security guards (or that the guards are of the jobsworth type - those machines are normally not under their surveillance).
The bronies in particular love this guy's gifs and spam them in the comments of poor images. They even have a tag for derailed Jontron threads on Derpibooru.
Neopets Is a very odd case; although the site originated for college kids, the eponymous Ridiculously Cute Critters attracted a Periphery Demographic of kids, and the site became Lighter and Softer as a result. This wasn't a bad thing, as TNT still got a lot of crap past the radar, but after Viacom started meddling, the site became more focused to the kids and started neglecting the older fans, who had become a periphery demographic, and loyalists who started playing as kids but remained on the site through their teens. However, TNT started interacting with the new periphery demographic of older fans by setting up a facebook page, and The Faeries' Ruin did a great job of winning back older fans. Not only that, but said older fans are the ones who play the most on the site. They're the writers for the Neopian Times, plot participants, and are the ones who don't get bored and leave after a few months. TNT's trying to reach a happy medium between appeasing the "preteen girl" fans who only want cute things, the "tween boy" fanbase who just like the games, and the older fans who love writing for the Neopian Times and Poetry Gallery, drawing for the Art Gallery and Beauty Contest, and participate in plots.
The author of With Strings Attached has said that she wrote the book under the assumption that Baby Boomer Beatle fans would be its primary audience, and was quite surprised when she started getting letters from 16-year-old girls who were reading it. And this was back in 1997. Now it has readers as young as 12 and as old as 80, and she's given up trying to figure out where the periphery is.
Henry Jenkins, in his book Textual Poachers says this may be the primary driving force behind Fan Fic. The Girl-Show Ghetto means that females aren't going to have their brothers or husbands watching shows that are aimed for them, or they find the female-aimed shows lacking in quality and they end up watching shows aimed at men and using fanfic to refocus the narrative.
Male homosexual pornography is popular among heterosexual women.
Not surprising, as lesbian pornography is popular among heterosexual men. And naturally, lesbian porn aimed at men has some female watchers (some of whom are bisexual or lesbian, obviously, but also straight women).
Asexuals sometimes watch porn because they find it fascinating, despite not finding it sexually appealing. Ditto to those who are aroused by porn, but decide to check out something outside their realm of interest.
Calvin: Why do we drink cow milk?! Who's the first guy who thought, "I think I'll drink whatever comes out of these things when I squeeze 'em!"?
William F. Buckley's run for mayor of New York City in 1965, for which he founded the state's Conservative Party, was intended to appeal to the sorts of people who embraced his brand of conservatism at the time — country-club patricians like Buckley himself, some businessmen, and the odd intellectuals. But his platform turned out to have strong appeal to middle-aged White working-class men, sort of like Archie Bunker, a character that wouldn't debut until 1971. The discovery proved key to the ascendance of the conservative movement nationally over the next decade and a half.
High-end digital still cameras are capable of recording HD video, making them popular with indie filmmakers, as the cheapest high-end models cost only a few hundred dollars at the lowest, compared with HD cameras that start at multiple-thousand range.
The Pinnacle Dazzle DVC 100 is marketed as a device for copying old VHS footage to DVDs. However, a great number of video game reviewers and let's players on websites such as YouTube use it as a low-end capture device for video game footage.
Serious coffee enthusiasts have started using popcorn poppers to roast their own beans.
And let's not forget the shoe videos, which can be high octane Fetish Fuel.
The Ouya gaming system was supposed to usher in an age of open source game gaming. Support for the console among game developers was thin at best, in the beginning. The console's early sales were carried mostly by consumers buying the system to use as an Android media center. It's still considered by many to be the best Android TV box on the market, its only big name competition being the Amazon Fire TV.
Bizarre, but perhaps inevitable in a secular age: Many entertainments with explicitly religious themes that were previously attacked by Christians as being blasphemous are now widely popular with those critics' older selves, or with younger generations within that demographic, because they are now viewed as The Moral Substitute. Christian leaders now encourage their flocks to see Jesus Christ Superstar (previously aimed at hippies and other hipsters) and The Exorcist (previously aimed at horror fans); when Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ was released in 2004, one pastor even lampshaded this, acknowledging that he was begging his parishioners to see a graphically violent, R-rated movie.
Statler: I doubt this page will appeal to people outside of the target demographic.
Waldorf: I doubt it will appeal to people inside of the target demographic!