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Nickelodeon Kaleidoscope: Kids talk brands and advertising, part two

From the subtlety of product placement to the in-your-face approach of pop-up ads, this generation of kids and teens are no strangers to advertising. Having grown up being marketed to, they're accustomed to all types of advertising, which has created nothing less than a group of very savvy consumers. In fact, they expect to be marketed to, and that's okay. And though some may claim they don't like advertising, this research shows kids (especially teens) are responding to ads in both positive and negative ways. So really it's not that they don't like marketing - they simply don't like bad marketing.
July 27, 2009

From the subtlety of product placement to the in-your-face approach of pop-up ads, this generation of kids and teens are no strangers to advertising. Having grown up being marketed to, they’re accustomed to all types of advertising, which has created nothing less than a group of very savvy consumers. In fact, they expect to be marketed to, and that’s okay. And though some may claim they don’t like advertising, this research shows kids (especially teens) are responding to ads in both positive and negative ways. So really it’s not that they don’t like marketing – they simply don’t like bad marketing.

When it comes to commercials, kids and teens respond most positively to funny spots containing catchy/cool music or memorable characters. Familiar characters make a commercial ‘more exciting,’ increasing the chances they’ll watch an ad again, particularly when a character is used in a series of ads for a brand or product. Additionally, the stickiest commercials with tweens and teens tend to find life beyond TV. This demo will buzz online about ads they like with friends and oftentimes view them repeatedly via video sites such as YouTube. Right now, favorite commercials with kids and teens include ads for freecreditreport.com, Geiko and Budweiser. Interestingly, these ads aren’t necessarily being produced to appeal to this demo.

Kids also responded positively to infomercials. Younger kids, ages eight to 11, like the detail-oriented nature of these ads. Not only is it enjoyable to see how a product works, but the product demonstration provides this demo with a lot of info. We know this format can be effective in marketing to adult consumers, but why are infomercials having an impact on kids? Again, this is a generation that has grown up with marketing and product innovation. Kids and teens constantly want to know ‘What else will this product do for me?’ Infomercials provide not only an answer, but also a promise.

The digital market represents its own set of unique challenges. The kid audience expects innovation and targeted messaging, and pop-up ads often fall short.

Overt product placement as a form of advertising is also often viewed negatively. Kids and teens did reveal product placement isn’t necessarily bad so long as it’s done in an organic way, but when it seems fake, kids call it ‘cheesy.’ As such, like any other media, product placement needs to be planned carefully and delivered appropriately.

Several factors figure into kids’ purchasing decisions. The top-three most important reasons to purchase a product are: ‘It makes me look cool,’ ‘parents approve’ and the ‘product is affordable.’ As expected, tweens and teens rely on friends as their number-one reference when it comes to brand and product recommendations. The internet plays an interesting role in purchasing decisions as well. Kids often hear the buzz and follow up by doing web-based research, looking up customer reviews, price points and product usage.

This concludes our two-part report on the impact brands and advertising have on kids and teens. In September’s Kaleidoscope, we’ll explore gender roles and what it means to be ‘a boy’ and be ‘a girl’ through the eyes of a child, tween and teen. For more information, contact Erin Miller at Kaleidoscope@nick.com

(Source: Nickelodeon Kids & Family Research, March 2009; Touchstone Research, April 2009. Quant Sample size: N = 500)

In an effort to keep you in touch with our audience and give a voice to our consumers, the Brand and Consumer Insights Department at Nickelodeon Kids & Family has created Nickelodeon Kaleidoscope. Every month, Kaleidoscope will capture key areas of interest across the kid and family cultural landscape, provide an understanding of attitudes and behaviors, and report on trends and buzz.

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