12 May 2010

Child's Power - Pester Power

Targeting parents through Children

In the past marketing and PR industry tended to overlook children as a demographic audience. It is changed today as advertisers believe that young people’s spending power in the family is growing. They ‘have become the most marketed-to generation in history’, write Media Awareness Network.

Marketers and consumer PR practitioners use the fact that current families are smaller than in the olden days and that many people tend to postpone raising offspring until their economic situation is settled. This means families have more disposable income to spend on their children when they finally arrive. Also busy lifestyles and lack of time for kids is often rewarded by material goods parents buy; and the advertising and promotional industries use such opportunities to sell many products.

"We're relying on the kid to pester the mom to buy the product, rather than going straight to the mom", said Barbara Martino, Advertising Executive. It is all about creating so called pester power that advertisers, marketers and PR people aim at when targeting children.
Building brand name loyalty also begins with young people. "Brand marketing must begin with children. Even if a child does not buy the product and will not for many years... the marketing must begin in childhood", claims James McNeal (‘The Kids Market’, 1999).

When I read that comment and others, I got a chill. I remember when I was a child I loved watching commercials for kids because they were showing everything I wanted at that time but I don't remember getting those things without an occasion. Getting toys or sweets was strictly limited to birthdays, Christmases or maybe a visit from a long-no-see relative (though even then I often go a book needed for school or something useful rather than fun). 

When I watch some children now and I hear them crying in a store because they want something, or even teenagers who carry expensive mobiles or clothes, I have an overpowering feeling of growing materialism. Many ideologies have already vanished and there are not many new ones that appear nowadays. Is this growing materialism supposed to replace that?


Markus said...

I have children and I see the influence they have on me. It's difficult to say no to most of their 'wants'. But i believe that people (grownups) are becoming more aware of the pester-power and try to fight it. Though there still are many parents who leave their children in front of TV for hours to have a moment of peace for themselves. This fills kids' heads with adverts and these 'wants'. I know that advertising for children has some limitations, but maybe there should be more of them.

Tony Heywood said...

I have kids ranging in age from 4 month old to 11 years old and they do tend to pester you for things. It is a mixture of advertising and peer pressure, with peer pressure getting more important as they get older.

You just need to try and access the value and long term desire for something (Lego = good as they play with it all the time. Power Rangers = bad as the soon grow out of it)

I have found a great site that is useful if your children are starting to use the net.

Child online safety

Neta said...

Great link Tony. Thanx...

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