Advertisers know the possible long-term benefits of marketing to kids. Here are several of their strategies.
- Corporations research kids’ fantasies, artwork and behavior to understand what techniques will best affect them.
- Children like to collect things. Some notable companies have capitalized on this by making a variety of products and then convincing kids that they have to obtain them all. Pokémon and Ty Beanie Babies are two corporations who have been especially good at this technique.
- Toy companies personify their stuffed animals and dolls, giving them names and birthdays. This strategy allows kids to connect with their toys as if they were real.
- Clubs for kids are a great way of gaining brand loyalty because children enjoy feeling like they belong. Examples of such clubs include Disney, Burger King, MTV and Nickelodeon.
- Kids are exposed constantly to advertising at school.
- “Kidfluence” or “pester power” — marketing lingo encourages kids to influence their parents’ spending.
- “Buzz marketing” or “street marketing” refers to companies’ efforts to get popular kids in a neighborhood to wear or use their products, thus automatically making their merchandise fashionable.
- “Cross-selling” is when two or more companies advertise each other’s products to reach a broader audience. For example, Burger King made a deal with the makers of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Before the movie came out, Burger King promoted the characters. In return, Burger King was included in the movie. Cross-selling is a more complicated version of licensing.
- Fast-food chains target children by having playgrounds, clubs, games, toys, contests and merchandise related to movies, TV shows and sports teams.
- Marketers of teen movies and video games pursue children by advertising violent action toys.
- Although kids aren’t supposed to be allowed to watch them, PG-13 and R-rated movies are marketed directly to children under 17.
- Music with explicit lyrics is advertised on TV, radio, print and online venues popular with teens.