To help us keep up-to-date with what’s happening with kids, we’ve asked Kid Think Inc., a youth marketing consulting group, to investigate and report back to us on a wide range of issues in kids’ lives. Since today’s kids spend so much time on-line, Kid Think talked with kids via LiveWire: Today’s Families Online, a proprietary panel of 600 on-line families across the United States.
Both Kid Think and LiveWire are divisions of Griffin Bacal, a New York communications agency specializing in the youth and family markets. If you have any questions or subjects you would like Kid Think to cover, call Paul Kurnit at 212-337-6442 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
In an attempt to establish loyalty among young consumers, many companies are offering clubs with exclusive membership to kids. This month, we asked kids age seven to 10 if they belong to any kids clubs and what their impressions are of them.
What we found:
We discovered that kids clubs are prevalent and very popular among our panelists. The majority were familiar with at least one and most considered them pretty cool. Overall, our panelists appreciate the fact that companies offer clubs that are geared exclusively to them. Denny, age 7, from California, poignantly puts it like this: ‘It’s nice that companies are caring for kids and have clubs for them. I like that because it’s a nice thing to do for people, `cause if kids didn’t have anything to do, their life would be boring.’
We found that each club offers something unique to its young members that singles them out and makes them feel special. Some clubs even celebrate birthdays by sending kids birthday cards and coupons for free meals.
In addition to making kids feel good, kids clubs offer many tangible benefits. Some of the many things kids receive as members are magazines, free movie tickets, calendars, stickers, coupons and exclusive product offerings. Such is the case with the Lego Maniacs Club, which offers products and insider information on upcoming product introductions to its kids clubs members that are not offered to regular retail customers.
While getting free stuff is certainly exciting, for many kids, simply getting mail addressed to them is equally appealing. Stephanie, age 8, from New York, says that belonging to a kids club is cool because ‘you get a lot of mail, which is really nice. I love getting mail.’
What kids said:
While most kids know friends or siblings who also participate in kids clubs, we were surprised to realize that the majority hadn’t made any new friends as a result of belonging to one. Although our panelists consider getting free stuff most important, when asked to imagine and design a kids club of their own, they often combined new products and information with the possibility of making new friends, perhaps corresponding with pen pals or chatting over the Web. We asked kids to use their imagination and develop a kids club for a company of their choice. Here’s what they had to say:
‘I would make a Power Rangers club for all the kids that like Power Rangers and we would have a place, like Discovery Zone, to play and talk about the Power Rangers, and we could wear costumes like our favorite ranger. We would get to meet and make new friends and we would get a new Power Rangers toy every time we had a club meeting.’ Allyson, Kansas, age 7
‘It would be for kids [who] have Nintendo. The kids would trade secret codes for the games. We would get free stuff. Maybe get pen pals. Kids would be a part of something and could make new friends and it would be something they like.’ Daniel, Iowa, age 8
‘I would work with Nike-they’re the coolest. They should have a club to help kids learn more about different sports and maybe have famous stars from teams work with the club. Kids could enter contests to win stuff. Kids could meet other kids in their area who are interested in the same sports, not just kids in the neighborhood or on the same teams.’ Patrick, Michigan, age 8
‘A sticker club or Beanie Babies club. You would be able to be with other kids and trade stickers and play with each others’ Beanie Babies.’ Jenna, Pennsylvania, age 8
Next month: Kid Think Inc. will talk to kids about cool animated shows and characters.
The Kid Think column is a regular KidScreen feature.