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What totay’s kids are thinking

This month, LiveWire went on-line to talk to kids ages eight to 10 about which commercials they're drawn to and how well their favorite ads correlate with their favorite brands. We explored the relationship between commercials and brands in three specific...
September 1, 1999

This month, LiveWire went on-line to talk to kids ages eight to 10 about which commercials they’re drawn to and how well their favorite ads correlate with their favorite brands. We explored the relationship between commercials and brands in three specific categories: fast food, athletic shoes and toys. Then we asked kids to design an ad for a new fictitious product. As always, our kids gave us wonderfully insightful and fresh ideas.

What we found:

What makes for a great fast food restaurant? The kids on our panel answered loud and clear: funny commercials and good-tasting food. Taco Bell won for both boys’ and girls’ favorite fast food commercial. The majority of kids applauded the comedy and cuteness of the little Chihuahua. Taco Bell also won for favorite fast food restaurant. When asked why, kids cited the quality of the product-they like the restaurant because the ‘food tastes good.’

In the athletic shoes category, Nike was an easy win in the commercial race. Kids found it difficult, however, to pin down exactly why they liked the commercials. Most could not give a specific reason, although a few kids mentioned celebrity endorsements. When asked to name their favorite shoe brand, Nike won again, but by a small margin. High price points turned a number of kids off. When asked if they own or plan to purchase Nike sneaks, most said no, citing the high cost of the product.

The boys and girls on our panel parted ways in the historically gender-specific toy category. Boys named ads for Lego and Hasbro’s Star Wars action figures as their favorites. Girls gave the honors to ads for Furby and Barbie. Both cited a love for the actual product as the main draw to the TV spots. Asked to choose their favorite actual toy, the boys stuck with their commercial picks, while girls departed slightly, adding American Girl dolls to Barbie as their top toy picks.

What kids said:

What would you call it?

Create-a-Taste

How much would it cost?

US$10 for a box of 20 servings

What would the commercial be like?

Kyle says: ‘Hey, Jimmy! What’d your mom pack for lunch?’

‘I got a hot dog.’

‘Christie, what did you bring?’

‘I got pizza.’

‘I wonder what Katy brought.’

Katy: ‘I got Create-a-Taste! It’s a new food that lets you decide what it tastes like. I personally like the pizza taste.’

All the kids gather around Katy as a narrator explains the product.

Melissa, 10, New York

What would you call it?

Chepperoni (cheese and pepperoni)

How much would it cost? US$5

What would the commercial be like?

It would be a home video of me and my friends having a sleep-over and eating Chepperoni as a snack. We’re having fun and everyone likes it.

Corey, 8, Texas

What would you call it?

Have It Your Way

How much would it cost? US$5.50

What would the commercial be like?

There would be a lot of people in an elevator and someone is sharing it. One at a time they each say, mmmm, chocolate…mmmm, steak…mmmm, bubble gum…mmmm, blackberry pie…. Then they all get off the elevator and start dancing like on the Gap commercials.

Abbie, 10, Washington

What would you call it?

Icecreamalicious

How much would it cost? US$2

What would the commercial be like?

Kids would be arguing over it, like who would get it. Then grandma walks over and takes it from them and eats it herself.

Shane, 9, New York

What would you call it?

Makes-you-smile-a-while

How much would it cost? US$1.50

What would the commercial be like?

It would show kids at camp, sad and missing their parents. Then one of them says: ‘Hey, I got this package from home. It’s the Makes-you-smile-a-while food!’ She shares it and they all start feeling better. Then they go share it with everyone else.

Katie, 11, Colorado

Next month:

Kids and finance: How much do kids know about mone? Do they save, and what do they save for?

Kid Think Inc., a youth marketing consulting group, investigates a wide range of issues in kids’ lives. Kid Think talks with kids via LiveWire: Today’s Families Online, a proprietary panel of more than 1,100 on-line families across the United States. Both Kid Think and LiveWire are divisions of Griffin Bacal, a New York-based 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 212-415-2992 or e-mail livewire@gbinc.com.

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