Pester power picks on more products

MUMBAI: Pester power is on the rise. Even Cartoon Network, the channel that commissioned NFO to study brat power of persuasion on the purchasing power of their parents, is pleasantly surprised to note that Indian kids (particularly in the advertiser friendly SEC A & B categories) have greater influence on the brands bought in their homes than they did last year.

New Generations 2002, the December 2002 study that surveyed a total of 3218 kids and their mothers across 14 cities, six of them metros, found that a whopping 75 per cent of the kids that receive pocket money get it weekly or oftener, a trend that's showing an increasing trend in Generations surveys since the first one conducted in 1998. 39 per cent of children from all cities surveyed get at least Rs 100 monthly as pocket money, the list led by the relatively smaller northen city of Ludhiana where nearly 69 per cent of kids draw regular pocket money.

Pester power this year also comes with a measure of parental validation. A good 31 per cent of parents today are willing to let kids accompany them when they are out to buy a durable, 43 per cent would take their kids along when on a trip to buy a computer and 39 per cent when out to purchase a music system.

Done with a focus on India as one of its key markets, the Cartoon Network survey ostensibly aims at studying juvenile media habits and the growing phenonmenon called pester power that enables advertisers to target elders using children as a via media. The number of categories to which pester power is increasingly applicable over the years makes for what ad guru Alyque Padamsee terms the transformation of parents into an 'extension of kids' desire to buy.'

Interestingly, as many kids in smaller cities like Ludhiana, Jaipur and Guwahati get pocket money to spend as they wish, as do their counterparts in Delhi and Mumbai, and often more than kids in Chennai, Bangalore and Kolkata. The amount pocketed too is on the rise, if the results of Generations 2002 are to be believed - 20 per cent of those who get pin money get it once a week, 23 per cent get it two to three times a week and 32 per cent get it daily.

A good 53 per cent of the kids who get allowances receive over one hundred rupees a month, most of which is spent on indulgences like chocolates, soft drinks and chips. Pester power however extends to products like cornflakes, biscuits and milk food drinks, where the reasons for brand choice among kids could range from liking the advertisement for the product to freebies that go with it and noticing its presence in the shops.

Parents interviewed during the month long survey show an amazing tolerance for their children's brand preferences. For a product like a kids' bicycle, 42 per cent said they would buy a brand the child preferred, if it met their requirements. 32 per cent said they seek the child's opinion before buying and 16 per cent said they would buy the brand the child liked most, indicating that in nearly 90 per cent of the cases, the child has a distinct say in brand choice.

For the first time, the Generations survey also studies the values and attitudes of kids in urban India, revealing that while achieving good grades at school remains a top priority for all children, the freedom to do what they please too ranks high (72 per cent) as does owning the latest things in the market (59 per cent) and looking good (90 per cent).

As regards kids' media habits, the study indicates that three quarters of the kids choose the channel they want during kids' prime time between 4 pm and 8 pm. Star Plus, the general entertainment channel follows Cartoon Network as the most watched channel among kids, with 46 per cent children voting it their favourite channel.

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