Use Kid Promos To Market To Kids, Not Manipulate Them

Marketing to children has been happening for probably as long as marketing has existed. To some people it probably used to seem like a waste of time, because kids don’t have jobs so they don’t have money to spend. That kind of shortsighted thinking isn’t very common these days, and the promotional industry has no shortage of products for children.

The fast food industry has been a master of marketing in general, but has been especially good at marketing to kids for the past few decades. The introduction of a particular fast food restaurant’s meals targeted directly at children in 1979 turned out to be a huge success and have been used to this day. A decades-old marketing program is a thing to behold! This author grew up in the 1980s and had grown up looking forward to an opportunity to have one of those meals. Mostly for the toy! The meal just wasn’t just “kid sized” but incorporated cute promotional packaging and cheap promotional toys. It turned out so successful that the leading competitors couldn’t ignore it and they’ve got their own.

Special food packaging and food portions for children aren’t the only way to market to kids. Virtually every business out there will have some avenue for kids promos. A bank can offer a special promotion to encourage kids to start saving early, giving out promotional piggy banks or putting together a “Getting started” kit for kids that educates them on the benefits of saving money. Some airlines have special “fun packs” they offer to families which are airplane-theme boxes with more airplane themed promotional items inside. Crayons, pencils, pads of papers, and even toys are out there. You might even try to include children in the actual planning of your next promotional product. Hold an artwork contest that allows kids to submit art, and use the winning entry on your next promotional giveaway to give your company a kid-friendly appeal.

It’s important to at least make an effort to combine your marketing with something beneficial to the kids. If it’s just blatant manipulation of kids, parents will have a negative reaction and for good reason. Then you’ve got bad publicity, and your business might not be the kind of business that can claim any publicity is good publicity. There are a wide variety of ways to add an education touch to your promotional items, and some of them are explicitly education like special safety coloring books or products with educational messages.

The difference between marketing and alienating potential customers can always be kind of hazy, but is particularly treacherous when it comes to kids. While McDonald’s special meal idea turned out to be a huge success, they stumbled when they went as far as marketing directly on a school’s report cards. Almost every school district, looking for more revenue, has at least considered allowing restaurants to set up shop in a cafeteria and this is always controversial. So don’t toe the line too closely, you don’t know when you’ll accidentally cross it.

Even despite the hazards, including youth in marketing efforts remains a worthwhile idea. Don’t be slimy about it and you’ll be fine. Creating a good relationship with youth will lead to a mutually beneficial and long-lasting business relationship.

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