As schools open their doors and marketers attempt to reach children and parents, a recent study considers children's products: the items parents are most likely to buy and the best channels to use to reach kids.
Best Brand Tactic
Most parents (84%) say their children influence their purchasing decisions, according to a July 2009 Octagon First Call survey:
In turn, celebrity or character endorsements influence children's preferences, say most parents of children across all age groups:
- Moms constitute 97% of back-to-school purchasers.
- Grade school children (age 5-11) respond the most positively to celebrity or character endorsed back-to-school products.
- Parent of grade school children say Miley Cyrus, SpongeBob, and the Jonas Brothers are the three most popular celebrity/character back-to-school endorsees.
- Parents want celebrities to endorse healthy lifestyle decisions.
Asked what back-to-school items they planned to buy, parents responded as follows:
- Clothing (85.7%)
- School supplies (82.9%)
- Backpack (59.4%)
- Lunch box (39.4%)
Educational software, after-school entertainment such as iPods and video games will be purchased at a lesser rate during this season and it would be better to allocate the marketing budget to instead target the upcoming holiday season, First Call said.
Parents were also asked: "What types of products would you like to have celebrities endorse in the upcoming back-to-school season?" Their answers, broken out by child age group:
- Pre-K: Health (healthy foods, healthy snacks, fruits & veggies), supplies (lunchboxes, backpacks), apparel (footwear), school programs (education tools & resources, exercise programs, reading programs).
- Grade School: Health (healthy foods, fruits & veggies, healthy snacks, healthy attitudes), supplies (folders, lunchboxes, backpacks, books), school programs (reading programs, exercise programs, education tools & resources), apparel (footwear).
- Middle School: Health (healthy foods, healthy snacks, healthy habits), supplies (binders, folders, notebooks), school programs (reading programs).
- High School: Health (healthy foods, healthy habits/foods), supplies (backpacks, notebooks, mugs), apparel (clothes, collared shirts).
- College: Health (healthy food, healthy habits/exercise), supplies (backpacks, lunchboxes, notebooks).
Health is the big trend—with demand for healthy foods, healthy snacks, healthy attitudes, exercise or healthy habits, notes First Call.
Close to 71% of parents say TV is the most popular medium for their child to find out about back-to-school offerings; 92% of parents of children in middle school say so.
Pre-K students on the other hand, tend to respond better to TV when it's coupled with another tactic, such as packaging, according to parents.
The top 5 channels with the highest rating averages are as follows:
- Point of sale
Asked "How does your child stay up to date with their favorite celebrity/character?" parents identify more than one channel. The results, in order:
The following table shows which age group each medium resonates most with, according to parents:
Parents say their college and high school students clearly prefer the Internet when catching up on celeb gossip, whereas their youngest kids (Pre-K) tend to stick to DVDs.
About the research: In July 2009, Octagon First Call polled 200 parents with school-age children regarding the use of celebrities and licensed characters for back-to-school purchases and intent.