The KidScreen strategy challenge

While it lies at the very core of what advertisers do, strategy is a difficult thing to pin down. Taken loosely as the battle plan an agency comes up with to accomplish its client's objectives, strategy encompasses everything from research to...
January 1, 2000

While it lies at the very core of what advertisers do, strategy is a difficult thing to pin down. Taken loosely as the battle plan an agency comes up with to accomplish its client’s objectives, strategy encompasses everything from research to creative direction to the media plan.

In this, the first installment of our second annual three-part series on

advertising to kids, we look at strategy through two hypothetical assignments bravely taken on by old hands in the kid advertising business.

Then, in ‘Kraft and Cartoon experiment with democracy’ (page 96),

we look behind the scenes at a real campaign slated to break this spring.

In a bid to explore the difficult process of developing advertising for kids, we played client and asked two kid-friendly agencies to come up with strategies for meeting hypothetical marketing goals. Both responded with inventive tactics. Campbell Mithun Esty stepped up to the plate with a blueprint for spinning a teen line off an imaginary existing brand, while Saatchi & Saatchi responded with a cautionary tale on steering clients away from misguided strategies…

Taking on the tempestuous teens

The contenders

Linda Peine, manager strategic planning

Barbara Ryan, strategic planner

CME KidCom (a unit of Campbell Mithun Esty)

The assignment

A leading national manufacturer and retailer of an exclusive full-line personal care brand wants to expand its highly successful franchise beyond saturated adult markets. The brand, Adian, is a line of high-quality, premium-priced personal care products sold exclusively at company-owned stores. The brand’s personality is natural and experiential.

The strategy

First, we activate the Genesis Model, our proprietary brand management tool. This model determines the business objectives and unearths brand vision, product characteristics, current target market and competition-the foundation of our strategy and plan of attack.

Based on this model, the ideal solution is to target teens. While this target is mercurial and unpredictable, the teen market is twice the size of boomers, with an average disposable income estimated at US$94 million (and experiencing ever-increasing ‘growth spurts’).

Of greater significance, appearance is paramount to the teen target, and personal care products enjoy top priority. (Dwell for a moment on your developmental years-filled with a heightened level of socialization, desire for acceptance and budding romance.)

The inherent aspirational, experiential and unique qualities of Adian can fill a void in the teen personal care category, which is already replete with look-alike and ‘junior’ variations that make genuine differentiation difficult, at best.

Still, two glaring ‘blemishes’ stain Adian’s visage: The existing product line’s prohibitive price point, and the requirement that any new initiative not disenfranchise the established adult consumer base.

Our strategy centers on developing and launching a new line of products that retains the essence and uniqueness of Adian, but also addresses the special needs and budgets of teens-making it ‘for them.’

Teens are as territorial as they are aspirational, and we know successful products are designed with them as the sole target. Further, to avoid dilution of the Adian brand among current adult users, the new line is introduced as a separate entity, with its own brand name and packaging.

Distributing this product in mass retail outlets is synergistic with Adian’s business objective (expand beyond saturated markets currently served by Adian’s O&O retail outlets) and matches teen’s shopping habits. The opportunity exists to leverage Adian’s heritage to secure mass retailer interest.

To maximize volume, we opt for an androgynous brand-a proven strategy in clothing and perfume. The line focuses on skin and hair products, with the intent to expand into other areas in the future such as cosmetics, aromatherapy products, and even foods and beverages.

Our experience with the teen target leads us to defining a brand personality that is relevant and enticing to teens: Spiritual, confident and mysterious. The brand deliverables are efficacy, experiential and universal.

Tactics we would employ to market the line include:

* Special in-store displays that create an experiential, sensory journey

* In-store computer kiosks and Web site for skin and hair evaluation and experimentation

* Extensive sampling in restrooms, clubs, theaters and more traditional venues such as mailboxes and print ads

* Public relations campaigns to stimulate editorial coverage in teen lifestyle and health & beauty publications

* Event marketing, through sponsorship of concerts, sporting events, health and well-being classes, etc.

* Environmental charitable contributions and tie-ins

* Cross-promotional tie-ins with other natural product categories including herbal teas, candles, natural fabric items and food products

In short, we have created a strategy and marketing communications program to take a premier, high-end personal care line targeted to adults and make it accessible and distinctive in the cluttered, yet highly profitable, teen product arena.

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