Saturday, December 13, 2008

Reaching Kids with TV ads

You know how persistent a 2 year old is when they want something. Here's some great advice on how to create that want:

Five Things You Should Know About Kids And Advertising
Anne Marie Kelly, Dec 08, 2008 05:00 AM
It's no secret that U.S. adults are bombarded with advertising messages in every waking hour, in just about every venue imaginable. Little surprise, then, that many of us have limited tolerance for television commercials some 70 years after television service as we know it was invented.

Not so kids ages 6-11, according to the most recent data from the "2008 American Kids Study" conducted by Mediamark Research & Intelligence (MRI). Results of the in-home survey of approximately 5,000 youths - along with an accompanying survey of primary adult caregivers - highlight five revealing characteristics with regard to kids' use of television and their attitudes toward advertising:

1. Most kids watch TV commercials as opposed to taking action to avoid them. Asked what they do when a commercial comes on, 58.9% of kids said they watch it. That percentage rises to 64.3% among children ages 6-7. The responses of boys and girls are nearly identical, with 59.1% and 58.6%, respectively, making no attempt to avoid commercials. And, their parents' wealth seems to have no bearing kids' desire to avoid commercials, as 58.4% of kids in households with incomes under $75,000 are commercial watchers compared with 59.6% of kids in households with incomes higher than $75,000.

2. Kids usually don't multimedia-task when watching TV

More than one half (55.6%) of our young offspring report that when they watch TV they are not simultaneously using other media, such a listening to the radio, reaching comic books or playing video games. This is particularly true for younger children: 65.1% of kids ages 6 and 7 report they are do not use any other media when watching TV.

The most popular non-media activity done while simultaneously watching TV is eating, with 56.9% of kids feeding their stomachs along with their auditory and visual senses. Girls are slightly more likely to be noshing while viewing, at 59% versus 55% of boys. And again, household income does not appear to encourage or mitigate the urge to ingest and watch, as roughly 57% of kids in households above and below the $75,000 mark do it.

3. Kids like humor, music and seeing people their own age in ads

When it comes to pleasing a child with advertising, humor, music and peer representation are the best remedy, as they are the top three elements cited when children were asked what they "really like to see or hear" in ads. And, of the three, humor is the hands-down winner. Approximately 82% of kids 6-11 said they liked "funny things, like a funny animal or character" or "silly humor" in ads, a sentiment that carries rather evenly across the age segments. The appeal of music in advertising increases with age, with 60.0% of kids ages 10-11 preferring it compared with 48.7% of those ages 6-7. Conversely, seeing or hearing "kids my age" in ads decreases with age; while 44.9% of children, overall, prefer to see other kids in advertising, only 36% of children aged 10-11 felt the same way.

4. As with adults, kids can be drawn to Web sites by TV and print advertisements. Using offline advertising to drive consumers to the Internet-which has become the modus operandi of much of today's marketing world-is not limited to adults. Approximately 46% of kids 6-11 reported visiting a Web site they saw or heard about in a commercial or other advertisement. They were evenly split by gender (49.1% boys, 50.9% girls) and, not surprisingly, the older the child the more likely he or she is to engage in this activity. Kids in households with incomes above $75,000 were 13% more likely to visit a Web site they saw in a commercial or ad than the average child ages 6-11.

5. Parents, by and large, exert control

In addition to surveying children, MRI asks "primary caregivers"-typically mothers or stepmothers-to fill out a separate questionnaire that seeks, among other things, information about their oversight of kids' TV and video viewing. Virtually all primary caregivers report that the kids in their household watch either TV or videos. As for supervision of viewing habits, only 17.1% of caregivers reported they place no restrictions whatsoever on kids ages 6-11, with most of this group saying they "trust the child to choose wisely." This laissez-faire approach is more likely to be the case in households with incomes under $75,000 and with kids ages 10 or 11.

The vast majority of caregivers have rules in place regarding TV and video watching. For instance, 63.8% of caregivers report that "there are some shows I do not let the child watch at all" and 47.6% limit the amount of time their child can watch TV or videos. Both restrictions are more common in households with higher incomes. However, 60% of homes below $75,000 ban viewing of some shows and 42.1% place time limits on viewing TV or videos. As for employing technology as a surrogate watchdog, just 6.16% of caregivers reported using a V-Chip to control what kids watch.

So there's your youthful audience for advertising: Attentive, not scornful of commercials and fond of munching while watching. Just don't forget the silly humor.

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