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Housewife-targeted TVCs attract children too

MUMBAI: Advertisers targeting kids would do well to keep housewives as their primary target for TVCs (television commercials.

At the seminar on Pester Power organised by Mindspace Events, Starcom Worldwide MD Andrey Purushottam said that if a TVC delivers 100 GRPs for housewives, one also gets 89 GRPs for the kids. Speaking on the topic "Parents as Gatekeepers", he said that one would have to spend 22 per cent more if one wants to equalise the figure. All India figures show that the delivery rate hovers at 70 kid GRPs, for every 100 housewife GRPs.

In West Bengal, kids' GRPs go down to 66. An advertiser of a kids' product may not want to lose that 30 per cent and so for him the extra effort might prove worthwhile. However, kids oriented plans do not deliver satisfactory results among housewives. In other words what is good for the goose may not be to the taste of the gander.

Purushottam also stressed the need for a kid TVC to be as real and natural as possible. As a bad example of advertising, he offered Anchor White toothpaste. Here, the kid is used merely as an artificial construct. The fact that the kid is promoting a particular brand is way too obvious, he said. For the Surf ad, which had the "Daag Dhoondte Reh Jaoge" tagline, Starcom took care to make sure that kids would behave as they would in real life. That is why you see the brother pull the sisters hair when she dirties his clean white shirt, he added.

However, he also admitted: “If you use kids in stereotypical fashion the execution can rescue you." He used the example of an Indonesian TVC, which sees toothbrushes doing a jig. He went on to say that Indonesia is an expert of getting rid of the mumbo jumbo and getting straight to the heart of the matter. He attributed this to the fact that Indonesians are not as complicated as Indians.

He regretted that while FMCG’s use the television as their primary medium for spreading the message, they offer limited scope for pinpoint targeting. It makes sense for companies to target men as fathers buy and try a product just to see what it feels like.

A woman on the other hand makes deliberate changes in choice. He also criticised marketers for taking the easy way out. “Everyone does consumer promotions. That is however taking the lazy way out. Freebies like Milo work in the short run but do not make an impact in the long term. Looking at consumers as consumers is rubbish. One needs to view them as human beings and kids are no different. To create a great ad for kids you have to create a great ad per se” says Purushottam.

Purushottam went on to reveal the results of a survey conducted in Mumbai and Pune to determine at which stage of the buying process kids influenced the most across categories. The stages were trigger, consideration, research process, buy and post buy.

In the Milk, Food Drinks category (MFD) kids are involved in all the stages. For toothpastes it is the consideration stage. For kids below eight the colour is important. For the 8-11 age bracket the taste counts. Those between 12-14 are mature enough to look for freshness. For chips and wafers kids play an important role in the trigger, buy and post buy. Tomato Ketchup, Glucose and Powder come into play only during the post buy stage. It is however important to note that kids take the post buy evaluation period seriously.

Cornflakes have a tough road ahead, Purushottam pointed out. Kids do not consume them and so parents see it as a waste of money. In India it is perceived as a supplement and not as a breakfast cereal.

Another interesting find is that while the ad recall for promotional campaigns is high the recall for theme campaigns is unsatisfactory. Purushottam also noted that the younger sibling decides the brand bought possibly due to overtly aggressive behaviour. While freebies may not work in the long term they work for younger kids who accumulate and see them as a status symbol.

The flip side is that it also induces parents to switch brands. Purushottam said that it could be a smart move to use kids in a commercial that is not targeted at them. Pepsodent is an excellent example of this. This is because kids have a high emotional appeal for parents.

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