What Ticks for Indian Consumers/ Children – Ashwin Padmanabhan and Divya Radhakrishnan

23 Sep,2014

Continuing with our extracts from the second edition of the MxMIndia Annual, we present contributions by Ashwin Padmanabhan and Divya Radhakrishnan



‘Marketers should be aware of the changing dynamics of kids in India’


By Ashwin Padmanabhan


According to Census 2011, the total number of children in India is 164.5 million, roughly about 30 per cent of India’s total population. Given this statistic, it is inevitable that companies will target kids – using various tools and strategies (most common in the marketplace being pester power and peer pressure) to sell their products and services. Also, today’s kids are tomorrow’s consumers, employees and community members. Kids between the age bracket 4-12 and 12-18 have a higher affinity for radio than the older consumer segments.


They love to turn the radio on their mobile phones (yes, most kids do own mobile phones and even tablets today) and listen to RJs, they do like music and they absolutely love it when they get a chance to come on air and speak about things they like, about their school/college lives, best friends and hang out places etc. Radio stations that have come up with initiatives engaging with kids have invariably got a good response – depending on the popularity of the station.


Advertisers targeting kids are aware that radio is an effective medium than television when it comes to engaging with kids. To give you an example, Birla Sun Life Insurance launched a campaign with us on Children’s Day. The initiative was called ‘Not Jobs but Passions’. We encouraged kids to share their passions with us and the shortlisted entries were given a chance to become radio professionals for a day (on Nov 14, Children’s Day) in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai.




Engaging kids – busting a myth


By Divya Radhakrishnan


All along, in every forum kids have been defined by a parameter called age and sometimes filtered through gender in some categories But, what was classically defined as 4-14 years is actually two different worlds and two different identities in the span of 10 years. It therefore is very important to define focus and be true to it. The core of this group is the 8-14 year old who is very different from the 4-7. The 8-14 seeks to be able to differentiate themselves through achievement of any sorts… academic or otherwise.


Junior Indian Idol as much an inspiration as coming first in class is. Under pressure from teachers, parents and peers to prove their mettle. Any source that makes this journey smooth is sought for actively. They adulate the source that empowers them to do so more so if the tools of “Amazement” and “Wonderness” is used. If they are left wide-eyed and gaping, they embrace it immediately. If there is any such role model who helps them explore, keeps them engaged and entertain them, then they are immediately lapped up.


As a result of their quicker adaptability to technology, they are “Young” but want to be treated as “Adult” and hence “The new Young adult”. They therefore wish to be included in: choice making – gadgets, vacations, weekends, and solving day to day challenges through technology of which very often they make better masters than their adults.




It is observed that kids love mythological content and consume a lot of that on TV. We did Ramayana on radio and invited kids to enact various characters of the Ramayana. The initiative was carried out by kids, for the kids and of course the parents were also involved. Children are often friendly, highly observant and aware of their surroundings, spontaneous and quick to respond. They enjoy talking to people and do not have inhibitions. They posses talent that sometimes parents are not aware of. For kids to express their talent in front of the world, we initiated the Big Junior RJ Hunt.


The property got tremendous response from both – kids at the consumer end and advertisers at the business end. While you engage with kids on radio, one should also not miss out on digital media as kids spend a lot of time on social networks, games on mobile and PC, interactive websites etc. Last but not the least – today’s kids are much smarter.


We must treat them as adults and not as kids. They are knowledgeable, they have an opinion and possess a far greater understanding of technology, products and services available in the market place. Marketers should be aware of the changing dynamics of kids in India and tweak their strategies accordingly.



Their contact points range from kids TV, select shows on GECs, internet, apps on tablets, some print of the variety where learning meets fun.


To quote the Smarties campaign, “Smarties have the answers” would capture the essence of the new “Young adults”. So to engage with this lot, marketers need:


# Agility, the learning curve is very sharp and adaptability is swift as they have nothing to unlearn


# Drop prototyping as the evolution is rapid


# Adopt heroes quickly and be open to drop them as quickly


# Innovative media planning as they are very impatient


# Have the skill to assess promotions so need to exercise caution


# Beware of typecasting so that the other group is put away, eg for boys only


# Draw the line between entertainment and education spaces to communicate


# Avoid single window syndrome – strategies based on kids at home.



Tomorrow: Wednesday, September 24: Family – Apurva Purohit and Shalini Rawla


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