Marketing to children, CBeebies and Child Space

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Call me paranoid, but I prefer that my 3-and-half-year old kid does not get addicted to TV. Watching some DVDs bought for her is way better then some inane TV programmes. The worry is that I can’t control the appearance of a Set Wet or Fuel TVC in the middle of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. So even with TV, I try to ration the kind of programmes and the duration for which she watches them.

But I have been impressed with CBeebies and find it the safest for kid consumption (at least for my kid). The advantage: Brit English mostly. So none of the atrocious pronunciation in some TV programmes and local nursery rhyme CDs. It helps to know that it coms from the BBC stable which is a huge plus in India. Secondly, my perception is that they know a thing or two about kids and that makes me feel safer. Unlike most kid programmes which operate in 30-minute slots, the programmes here are shorter – 10 to 15 minutes. Perfect for short attention spans. Another aspect that I noticed is the heavy repetition of programmes and episodes within them. I don’t know if its a function of ad & programme inventory or a deliberate strategy but this repetition works. One would think that kids will be bored but they love the repetition which helps them memorize things faster. Another brand which has possibly got the hang of what works with kids & parents is Ferrero with their Kinder Surprise. The thrill of finding a new toy every time you buy one and the joy in putting it together after or before slurping on the chocolate seems to be a big hit with kids.

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Speaking of kids, appealing to them and their parents, I had a chat with the owner of Child Space, a furniture store for kids, when I went to buy a writing table for my daughter. She talked of not taking chance with kids’ furniture as ‘you can’t request that only one child jump on the bed at a time’. She mentioned that, in the context of sourcing from the best (a bit of self promotion there) – never mind that she sources from China (doesn’t everybody?). But the psychology behind both CBeebies and Child Space is the same. Blame it on the lack of television entertainment and lack of electricity, but our previous generation produced kids as a pastime. The pampering was understandably muted. With the concept of DINKS (double income no kids), single kids and doting grandparents, the propensity to splurge or even indulge on one’s kid is commonplace. But winning the confidence of the parent is so critical.

Not much rocket science in what I said – every brand targeted at kids knows all of this. But some, like CBeebies, seem to just do it better. What say?

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