Businesses that market their products to children continue to stumble upon extremely successful marketing techniques that capture both children and their parents and create a buzz about their product or service via unplanned media identification. Although there have been dozens of successful strategies employed over the years, there are a few that continue to win over audiences time and time again.
1. Perfect kids.
Kids in commercials and advertisements play the role of the perfect child. In reality, these child actors are often older and more well-behaved than the target audience. In other words, businesses are aware of what their audience would like their children to be. This subconsciously forms a link between the product and good behavior from the children who are involved with the use of or play of the product or service.
2. Heart over head.
Successful marketing often involves the creation of an emotional ambiance that draws consumers into the product and makes them feel good. Parents immediately identify with these “feel good” products or services. Emotional connections cause the audience to relate and often overrule logical thinking.
3. Amazing exaggeration.
Many marketers exaggerate the uses and abilities of their products. Stuffed teddy bears walk on their own. Airplanes fly and cars do wheelies, dolls cry and super soakers spray entire lengths of football fields. Do all these products deliver on these criteria? Hardly. But do kids buy into their capabilities? Of course.
4. Cute celebrities.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sell pizza. Spuds McKenzie sells beer. “Joe Cool” camel sells cigarettes. All of these icons draw children in and serve as examples of attractive, exciting celebrities who use or endorse the product.
5. Idealistic settings.
Barbie struts her stuff on the beach with waves crashing in the background. Lego spaceships fly through dark outer space and power wheels leap over rivers and trenches. The rocks, dirt, sand and water don’t come with the toys. But this showcases the products to both children and parents, making them seem adventurous and exciting.
6. Feel the beat.
Music and other attention-grabbing sound effects add to the excitement of commercials. Sound can make toys seem more life-like and grab the attention of children with their upbeat sounds and loud volumes. Either way, they help set the mood that marketers want.
7. Star power.
Movie stars. Sports icons. Boy band heartthrobs. They tell children what foods to eat, what clothes to wear, what music to listen to. Children subscribe to these marketing tactics, not realizing that the star is paid for the endorsement and normally does not actually use the product – unless it’s given to them for free.
8. Selective editing.
Selective editing is used in all commercials, but especially in commercials for athletic toys. The Frisbee flies perfectly into the dog’s mouth. The child actor catches the football from across the park. Unfortunately, that’s not the way most of these products really work. And unfortunately, most children lack the athletic prowess and coordination to execute the use of these products in a similar way.
9. Hiss! Bang! Boom!
Watch the expressions on children’s faces when the next toy commercial comes on. It’s all about excitement. With all the quick movements, laughter, and bells and whistles involved in the product marketing, children get the impression that this kind of fun comes packaged with the toy, cereal, or t-shirt being marketed.
10. Family Fun.
“This is something the whole family can do together!” “Kids prefer it four to one!” “Choosy kids choose JIF.” Many commercials target parents and promise happiness for their children in order to draw in product purchases – even if their product won’t always deliver.