What Ticks for Indian Consumers/ Children – Raghu Bhatt and Krishna Desai

25 Aug,2014

Continuing with our extracts from the second edition of the MxMIndia Annual, we present contributions by Raghu Bhatt and Krishna Desai



Be aware of responsibilities while marketing to kids

By Raghu Bhatt


Imagine a scenario where someone introduces a cigarette brand that exclusively targets kids. How comfortable would you be working on the brand? But if the same cigarette were targeting adults, it’s likely that you wouldn’t have a strong moral objection. This brings us to the first dimension of kid marketing. There is a very strong ethical question to consider, with kid products. Kids are the future and while marketing to them, we suddenly become aware of our immense responsibilities. Kids can do that to you.


Kid marketing uses certain tools and techniques, many of them chiselled to perfection through years of practice. As a baby grows up, he or she continually refines her ability to make parents buy things for them. In some ways, they are like purchase managers who are sitting on a lot of cash – something every marketer of cereals, confectionary, clothes, retailers, movies and toys is constantly eyeing.





Kids – fluent influencers of change

By Krishna Desai


Children are bestowed with many aspirations… world leaders, sports icons, entrepreneurs, etc. They display talent, knowledge and influence over most parameters of society and businesses. As consumers, they cannot be ignored.


Gone are the days when children were only consulted when it came to purchasing candies and toys. A child today influences every decision from household electronics, to insurance, to cars and even wall paint! Some interesting facts and growth trends are below:


:: Kids influence on parents has more than doubled since 2009 – with more than 60 per cent parents in 2012 saying that they may or definitely will consider their child’s opinion on purchase decisions.

:: With the percentage of kids receiving pocket /gift money increasing from 36 per cent in 2008 to 56 per cent in 2012, the purchasing power of kids has definitely increased.

(Source: Cartoon Network New Generations Study 2008 – 2012)




Kids exhibit certain commonalities of behaviour that marketers leverage. For example, kids form a special bond with cartoon characters. For kids, these characters are not imaginary but real people. And when these characters start peddling stuff, they become hugely influential. These cartoon characters are also scientifically designed to elicit an emotional response from kids. For instance, the smooth round forms of the Cbeebies have been created after a lot of R&D to evoke a sense of reassurance amongst babies, in much the same way nature creates babies whose very appearance evokes the protective instincts of a mother.




There is phenomenal growth seen in the kids’ adoption of new media. These ‘screenagers’ access technology at every touch point be it mobiles, computers, tablets, television, etc. For instance,:: In the last five years, the number of kids using the internet has more than doubled! (27 per cent use the internet in 2012 v/s 10 per cent in 2008).

:: Although gaming has always dominated the top activity online, social networking has grown from 14 per cent in 2009 to 53 per cent in 2012. Ironically only half the parents of kids visiting social networking sites are aware of their children’s activities.

:: Today, 95 per cent kids grow up in homes with mobile phones compared to 59 per cent kids in 2006. 10 per cent of these kids actually own their own mobile phone.

(Source: Cartoon Network New Generations Study 2008-2012.)


Kids have also transformed the broadcast industry influencing the way business is done for all stakeholders. With almost 100 per cent urban kids watching TV every day, brands, marketers, broadcasters and distributers seek this platform to reach this expanding and intelligible TG. As television consumers, kids are unique. They cannot be compared and virtually have no similarity to other geodemographics. Some core trends, challenges and opportunities are:


1. Children outgrow things a lot faster than any other demographic. A kids’ network, including that of Turner’s – CN and Pogo, experiences a churn every 4-5 years with new kids coming in and older kids moving to other genres.


2. Kids, on an average, spend two hours watching television. This hasn’t changed much over the years. But the number of channels available today has more than doubled compared to a few years ago. This represents a huge challenge for broadcasters, especially kids channels, to attract and sustain viewership. Comparatively, housewives spend up to four hours a day watching television.


3. Another fact is that out of the total viewing, children spend only 20 per cent time watching kids’ channels mainly because of the dominance of housewives in single television households. Although this may seem as a hindrance, it is actually an opportunity in disguise. This 20 per cent has grown from 15 per cent in 2009.Also, with the growth of multiple TV households and new media to compliment TV, there is hope of growth and expansion of the genre.




Tomorrow (Tuesday, Aug 26): Family – Punit Goenka and Pradeep Gupta




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