Friday, August 24, 2007

Marketing to Kids

I read today that the UK consumer watchdog group "Which?" has 'condemned' the use of superheros in advertising to children, particularly by large food companies such as Kellogg's.

I also read that Nickelodeon will stop allowing its characters to be used in 'junk food' advertising. The group last week said that as of January 2009 its licensed characters on food packaging will be limited to 'better for you' products, in accordance with government dietary guidelines.

Advertising does play a role in our continuing obesity crisis, but I question if this is the right decision. From working in the food and supplement industry I know that the target 'consumer' for kids products is not the child, it is the child's mother. After all, typically a 5 year old doesn't go out and by frosted cereals, mom buys them for the 5 year old.

So, if we want to lower the amount of junk food in children's diets, perhaps we should spend less time looking at how often superman appears on packaging (which really only appeals to the child) and more time examining the supposed health claims that are increasingly appearing on labels and packaging (which appeals to the moms)


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Jane said...

true up to a point, it is Mom's responsibility. But the marketers are not wasting their cash on advertising that does not work: they know that a strung out mom doing the grocery shopping with a couple of pre schoolers is likely to give in and buy the one with the superhero because the kids are whining and crying and it shuts them up. If the boxes don't attract the kids, Mom is more likely to be guided by the nutrition panel.

Brad Pilon said...

Hi Jane,

I completely agree. It is a continuing never-ending battle. There is large group of people out there who want you to buy their products, and spend millions trying to figure out how to best accomplish this.

It's hard to always be viligent, but the more we are aware of the marketing the more we can make educated decisions.

so to your point - If you can win over the kids AND mom's "first glance approval" your product will move of the shelf and into the buggy, plain and simple.

Thanks for pointing this out.