Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Children and Marketing



I came across this video earlier and found it interesting. The girl in the video is apparently the 5-year old daughter of Adam Ladd, who is described on his Twitter page as "Graphic and identity designer with thoughts and observations around logos and brand design execution." Unrelated (or maybe it could be related), but also of note, he is a self-described "Christ-follower."

I found it interesting the logos that she recognized, but also the ones she semi-recognized, or did not recognize at all.

Recognized by name:
  • Disney
  • GE
  • Apple
  • McDonald's: "An 'M' for McDonald's and it looks like a fry...but it's an 'M'  made out of fries."
  • Nike
 Recognized product, but did not actually name the company:
  • Pepsi: "It's the pop...from the pizza place."
  • KFC: "Looks like a person...he matches the color of the restaurant."
  • Starbucks: "That is the coffee logo."
  • BP: "Gas."
  • Mercedes: "On a car."
  • XBox : "That is on a control that you use to control the TV at Ryan's house."
Did not recognize the logo at all:
  • Republican Party: "A Parade Elephant"
  • Monster Energy Drink: "Little Squirms"
  • Motorola: "That looks like an 'm'.
  • Bank of America: "Looks like the American flag."
  • Bell: "A bell."
  • Boeing: "An outside space...looks like a shooting start with a planet."
  • CBS: "An eye."
  • Chili's: "Chili, and it has an 's' next to it...and chilis are spicy."
  • Google Chrome: "that looks like a beach ball...beach balls are very colorful."
  • Gerber: "Babies...are little."
  • Greyhound: "That is a cheetah."
  • Jaguar: "A cheetah"
  • Puma: "Cheetah"
  • Target: "A letter 'o'...but it has a dot in it."
  • NBC: "A turkey that's really colorful like the rainbow."
  • Panera Bread: "That is coffee again...maybe on a restaurant?"
  • Sony Ericsson: "That looks like a marble."
  • World Wildlife Fund: "Panda bears live out in the woods, I think."
  • Olympics: "Baby toys...those look like baby toys."
Of the five that she actually did recognize by name, I was most surprised by Nike. (It would have been GE, but since her grandfather works for GE, I'm not surprised). I would definitely expect her to recognize the Apple logo given her dad's involvement in graphic arts and most likely use of Apple computers, but was definitely surprised that she tied it to the Apple store, as opposed to the products Apple produces. Also Disney was expected for obvious reasons, as well as McDonald's. Nike, I am surprised with because I do not think I was interested really in fashion or shoes or anything of the sort when I was that age. I am not sure whether this is something she just picked up from commercials, or tv, or whether Nike has an active presence in her life.

Also interesting was, for the logos that she did not actually name, her recognition of the products associated with the brands. So for Pepsi, she recognized it as "the pop," even though she did not say Pepsi. Also she recognized KFC as the restaurant, Starbucks as the coffee, BP as gas, Mercedes as a car (but also incorrectly as a peace sign--but that says something about the proliferation of the peace sign), and XBox. These were interesting to me because while the child did not associate these by name, she was able to tie it to a type of product, which arguably is almost as good as being able to actually name the brand. In fact, it might be better because the brand is recognizable without even having to "say" any words.

Finally, I found interesting in a humorous way, the logos she did not recognize. As someone noted in a comment under the video, he did not realize that the Bank of America logo was shaped like an American flag, something the girl recognized. Also, I never really examined the Boeing logo up close, but never actually looked at it close enough to notice that it was a shooting star with a planet. I found her recognition of CBS' logo as an eye interesting because I definitely did not see the eye until my teen years. I also found her associating the Jaguar, Puma, and Greyhound logos with a cheetah to be amusing, though I wonder how she would have answered if they were not shown to her back to back.

There were a couple of things I noticed from this clip:
  1. There are actually a lot of brands that this 5-year old does not recognize. I wonder if that would be the same for an average 5-year old.
  2. 5-year olds are observant
I was going to turn this into a post about marketing ethics, but there is nothing that I can really say that isn't already fairly obvious. Which can be summed up in the following sentence: "Market responsibly to children." (i.e. no Joe Camels) It's clear that if you do not want to market to children you can choose not to do so. It is the marketer's and ultimately, the company's responsibility to market ethically.

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