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Kid Marketing Forum targets tomorrow's market

MUMBAI: Kids took centerstage as adult marketers, media men and television channel heads attempted to zero in on effective marketing to kids in the first ever Nickelodeon Brand Equity Kid Marketing Forum held yesterday.

A well attended gathering comprising ad, television and entertainment professionals heard out a distinguished selection of speakers, ranging from researchers to film stars, extrapolate on what marks kids in style, attitude and brand loyalty. The focus was on how to appeal to kids, develop loyalty and in effect, develop tomorrow's markets. Nickelodeon India managing director Alex Kuruvilla set the ball rolling for the event with the observation that the potential of the Indian kids' market, pegged at an estimated 350 million children, is bigger than the whole of Western Europe combined.

Millward Brown marketing and business development director Jamie Lord followed up with a detailed presentation based on five years of research on pester power. "Honesty and simplicity", Lord said, "were the biggest essentials while marketing to tweens." IMRB senior vice president Neerja Wable, who shared the presentation with him, pointed out that even in India, a product category like cars had 71 per cent of kids influencing their parents' purchase decision. Pester power is definitely on the rise, Wable said, even in rural India, where often the child is the only literate member of the family and is often relied upon for accurate information.

Columbia Tristar Films managing director Uday Singh, in his presentation on the success of the Spiderman story in India, pointed out that localisation of content was key in the success of a foreign product, even as leveraging promotional equity and exploiting the full nature of the product was also crucial, Singh said.

Nickelodeon UK managing director Nicky Parkinson, who said that Nick UK's key audience was the nine to 11 age group, said the important aspects of brand building are that they have to be available 24/7 and need to be interactive and aspirational as the Nick experience itself shows.

Adman Prahlad Kakkar livened up the post tea session with a peppy talk on kids' attitudes and mindsets, interspersed with a few clips from ads made by his Genesis Films' over the last two decades. "Kids mouthing adult scripted dialogue in ads are irritating," he pointed out. "For children, advertising is entertainment, ads are not just commercial breaks for the young ones," he said.

Jive Records senior vice president Julia Lipari, the last speaker of the day, said that the worlds of entertainment and brands are intersecting and impacting kids' space at a faster pace today. A successful kids' promotion should include a good product, effective packaging, integrated promotions, a free component of pricing and an eye on parents, who are still the gatekeepers for all information flowing to children.

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