LONDON: Ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi has launched a London-based arm of its kid marketing unit Kid Connection in an effort to help its U.K. clients tap into the five- to 11-year-old market more effectively.
The new unit will resemble a similar operation at Saatchi & Saatchi in New York, which opened in 1992. It plans to offer clients advice on communication, strategy, promotions, events, product development, packaging and market research.
The move follows research by the agency that suggests that kids under age 15 influence £31 billion (US$51 billion) in adult spending in the U.K. each year. Not only is this influence felt in products aimed at children, says the agency, but also in purchases such as cars, houses, holidays and computers.
In addition, Saatchi has carried out what it describes as ‘a global review of child development with child psychologists.’ It claims this will help shape proprietary tools that can make advertising relevant to kids.
The head of the new unit, Stefano Tiratelli, says the move reflects the ‘broad expertise within the Saatchi group. . . . We want to pool that expertise, brand it and sell it to existing and new clients.’
According to Tiratelli, the aim of the unit is to lock in consumers at an early age and stick with them through to the next generation. He describes kids as ‘three markets in one. Purchasers, influencers and the future. It is crucial that advertisers understand them if they are to succeed in this area. Too often, they put in some slang, slap in a jingle and assume it will work.’
Marketing to children has been the subject of growing concern in the U.K. in the last year following an upsurge in corporate sponsorships in schools. However, Tiratelli stresses that the new unit is not an attempt to circumvent safeguards. ‘We’ve been instrumental in developing an industry code of practice for advertising to children. People expect clients to behave and rightly so. We want to ensure that our clients are responsible and part of the debate.’