Marketing tactics you can use to encourage healthy habits in kids 2014-09-03
Multinational corporations have mastered the art of marketing and advertising to your kids. They are so good in fact, we are now in a situation where we are fighting the media to shield our kids from fast food ads and promotions. Here are three tactics these companies use which we can actually tap into for the greater good.
Our kids are bombarded daily with advertising and messaging, selling fast food, toys and the latest gadgets and we in turn are bombarded by them with “I need”, “I want” and “please can I”. Pester Power is something marketers are all too aware of and willing to use as a tool to sell to your kids. Pester Power is strategically marketing straight to kids instead of parents, because not only are kids easier to capture, but they will relentlessly pester their parents to get the otherwise disregarded advertised item. Kids today hold far more decision making power in a household than previous generations.
Typically, Pester Power is used with toys and fast food, and it is so effective that in recent years parents have back lashed out against fast food companies in particular, for targeting their kids and making unhealthy choices so desirable. You can understand why parents are so frustrated watching their hours of positive reinforcement and lifestyle education going down the drain by large corporates.
Turn it into a positive
We agree that Pester Power is possibly the world’s most annoying marketing strategy, but imagine the benefits if we use it in a different way. Tailoring marketing for kids fitness programs to children and not parents could be key to your facility penetrating this market. Use Pester Power to entice kids into leading fit and healthy lifestyles, getting them wanting to participate in your youth programs by using language, mediums and programs tailored to their stage of development.
Commonwealth Bank did it with their in-school Dollarmite accounts. McDonalds did it with their Happy Meals, when they included a toy . And other well known brands such as Vogue and Country Road are jumping on board, providing kids versions of their services to “get ‘em young”. Leading Global companies are well aware that if you establish brand loyalty young, you will have the next generation brand loyal before they hit adulthood. Today’s kids can often recognise brands and status items by the age of 3 or 4, often before they can even read. One study found that 52 percent of 3 year olds and 73% of 4 year olds "often or almost always asked their parents for specific brands.”
Habits which are formed in childhood are often carried into adulthood. “Overweight or obese children are more likely to remain obese as adolescents and become overweight or obese as adults. About 80 per cent of obese adolescents will become obese adults.”
Turn it into a positive
Imagine establishing positive ideals about health and fitness choices in children before they even get to 18. What if you could already have a member brand loyal by the time they start paying for their own membership? Future proof your business by giving your facility the gift of the next paying generation - offering youth programs and activities to get children into your facility and create brand loyalty from childhood.
Marketing in Schools
Marketers are becoming more tactful at accessing and marketing to children, and the most direct way to reach kids, is in schools. Not only are children captive while in school, they’re also in an environment where they’re competing with their friends as to who has the latest trend. Fast food companies are once again captialising on this with promotions and competitions disguised as educational projects. The Pizza Hut reading incentive program Book It! encourages children to read books to receive Pizza Hut vouchers. In turn this creates a positive association between reading and pizza.
Marketing in schools offers a captive audience, and children are led to believe that what they are being educated on or promoted is the right choice; for them, school is a place of trust. If we take a look at the Pizza Hut incentives program, it is doubtful children are under the impression that pizza is bad, because they are rewarded with it for reading.
Turn it into a positive
How about instead of offering pizza as a positive for kids in schools, we offer fitness, fun and motivating social activities? Use your local school as a way to demonstrate your youth programs or build another revenue stream for your facility by hosting your programs in schools.
Take note of what successful companies do to engage their audiences, especially children. Although these companies aren’t delivering great messages, they are definitely engaging audiences, the rising obesity levels across the globe are a testament to that.