Marketing to kids, then and now

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Stumbled upon a collection of vintage Indian prints ads today. Was particularly amused by the tone & manner of ads targeted at kids of those days. The ones for Morton chocolates, Nutrine and Leo Toys – set in an era of GEC radios and BSA-SLRs. Cut to, urban kids of today who grow up playing games on smart phones and the iPad. The rich media and ease of use of devices like the iPad are a great source of entertainment and education. It seem a far cry from the world of craft classes, books and geometry boxes. Herewith a collection of ads aimed at kids of a bygone era:

There’s been much hue & cry over the influence of advertising on today’s kids. Rightfully so. It is said that children under the age of 8 are unable to critically comprehend televised advertising messages and are prone to accept advertiser messages as truthful, accurate and unbiased. My 5-year old actually expects a purple ray of stars when she uses a Scotch Purple glue stick on paper. And their brand awareness and influence on brand purchase is far too high. As part of the marketing fraternity, creating brand preference among your target audience is an inevitable choice. Marketers have understood their responsibility and taken steps.

In today’s ‘kids as consumers’ world, I wish there was an effort to inculcate reading habits and soften the influence of commercialism (one can’t fully escape it, I guess). But parents including yours truly, thrust the unsuspecting kid in front of a TV for some peace & quiet or just to get the kid out of your hair. No wonder kids ask if ‘Amul presents Masterchef India‘ is on TV today and for permission to watch a programme ‘Only on Pogo‘. Getting them to read books or involved in craft & other activities is hard work. It calls for an investment of time and some sacrifices. In this context, institutions like Hippocampus and Active Canvas (aware only to a handful) are like a breath of fresh air. But then they are no match to the allure of mass media – both to parents & their kids.

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  1. Very true..Robert Opie also believes that Ads tend to represent Society very accurately. I'm a child of the 90's and without naming any brands in particular, there is such a distinct change in the way different sections are targeted. But, children being, well, children are perhaps more impressionable.

    Understandably you've focused on the branding, market-related, technological and evolutionary aspect of it, but there's also a degenerative side to this story.

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