Marketing Food To Our Kids
Why is it so financially profitable to go after our kids when a company is looking to sell their goods? Well, just picture a loving parent who wants the best for their child. When “little Johnny” asks over and over for the new little treat, it doesn’t take long before Mom or Dad eventually say, “Why not JUST this once?” You can see how things then continue to unravel and before long the company has a new loyal customer.
The food industry itself admits that it spends over two billion dollars a year pitching their products directly to children and teenagers. TWO BILLION! If they weren’t getting results, you know they wouldn’t continue to spend money like this.
Why is this so disturbing? Well, just look at our children’s health across the country. Diet-related illnesses among young people are growing at alarming rates. Prior to 1994 only 2 to 4 percent of children newly diagnosed with diabetes had Type 2 form of the disease according to Dr. Francine Kaufman, past president of the American Diabetes Association. By 1999, 8 to 45 percent of new cases in children were diagnosed as Type 2.
Let’s look at this in a little more detail. How is it done?
First you build brand loyalty. The goal of the food companies is to get a life-long customer. All marketing companies know it is very costly to get new customers. So, if you can get someone hooked in when they are just becoming a new consumer, you may have a customer for decades.
Marketing companies know the psychology of how this one works. Children ask over and over for something. Basically, they pester their parents until eventually the parents get worn down thinking it is just easier to give in to the request (the pester!). 75 percent of parents admit that they bought a product for the first time because their child asked them for it.
It’s not just TV where our kids are getting bombarded with the continual temptation that they need some new bottled drink or new packaged food. Much of what is being presented to our kids is much more subtle. For instance, the food companies have learned how to get into the curriculum at the schools. Some examples would be the “The Oreo Cookie Counting Book,” or the “M & M Counting Book.” Many junk food companies partner with schools trading dollars in order to get their brand in front of our kids.
This is the new frontier in marketing and the food companies aren’t getting left behind. They are on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube making use of all of these platforms in order to reach their audience. Many companies offer prizes, contests, and free games in order to get their customers to keep coming back and to tell their friends.
Listen to Anna Lappe’s give her presentation on Marketing Food to our Children.