Children as Marketing Channels

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Raheem Akingbolu writes on the 2018 Chidren’s Day celebration in Nigeria and how various brands leveraged on it to connect with consumers

Children and mothers have been identified in marketing as the greatest influencers. In many homes, this group of people dictates what the family will buy and the station to watch on television. No wonder, many brand managers, especially those that produce household goods want to catch them.

Recent findings have revealed that Generation Z, a group of consumers that were born from 1996 onwards and Generation Alpha, born from 2010 onwards, make up the audience that is currently grabbing the attention of marketers everywhere.

Of course, technology has always been front and center for these two generations. With 73% of Generation Z having access to subscription video on demand services and over 90% of them owning a smartphone, this younger generation is unlike any other.

In today’s day and age, it’s not uncommon to see a toddler operating a smartphone. In fact, 55% of pre-schoolers use tablets on a regular basis and 16% own their own tablet. Children generally only start using smartphones in their teens but today, 41% of pre to early teens already use one.

According to a recent study, children between the ages of 5 and 15 now spend at least 15 hours online every week, which is 1 hour and 18 minutes more than they used to but how are they spending their time online exactly?
Surprisingly, it has been discovered that social media is not at the top of that list. 73% of children between 5 and 15 use YouTube more than any other online platform. Some even indicated that they would rather watch videos and shows on YouTube than watch TV.

By 2020, experts have predicted that this generation will make up 40% of all consumers, which means that brands really need to start paying attention to what makes them tick.

2018 children’s day in focus
For a good few years now, Millennial has been the word on the lips of many marketers but brands may soon have to shift their focus to a younger, more diverse audience that is growing at a rapid pace, Generation Z and Alpha.
Born with smartphones, tablets, and technology at their fingertips, these young consumers are the ones to watch. This was demonstrated by many Nigeria companies this year as each of them strived to outdo the other in reaching out to Nigerian children.

In an interview with THISDAY during this year children’s day at Ikeja Shopping Mall, the Chief Executive Officer of Idea House, Mr. Kehinde Salami said brand owners in Nigeria have embraced experiential marketing because of the conviction that this generation does not respond to advertising in the same way that older generations do. ‘’The use of ad blockers is almost a given, which means that marketers need to think of more creative, impactful ways to not only reach this audience but grab their attention too, hence the need for engagement as we are currently seeing in the market.

‘’Influencer marketing is on the rise for brands wanting to engage with young children and their families. YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are home to a vast array of content creators who reach millions of children under the age of 13. And many brands are taking it even one step further by adding teenage influencers, or “kidfluencers,” to their marketing strategies,” he said.

According to PwC’s Kids Digital Advertising Report 2017, the under-13 digital media market is currently seeing 25 percent year-on-year growth. Kids are an important demographic for marketers not only because of their impact on their parents’ buying decisions, but also as future adult consumers.

Emirate Airline
Under what was described as the Celebration of Emirates’ Little Travelers, handlers of Emirate Airlineshave begun to celebrate Nigerian children annually by kitting them like pilot and air hostesses.

At this year’s edition, the management of the Airline didn’t only take time to reel out the unique selling point of the brand; they also entertain the children and took them to Silverbird Cenema to watch educative and entertaining children focused movies.

Speaking on the significance of the day, the Regional Manager, West Africa at Emirates, Afzal Parambil, said the company thought of no better way to celebrate the special little travellers in the airline’s lives, than by bringing the joy of movies to life. ‘’Whether they are flying with family or alone, we ensure that Emirates’ Little Travelers have a memorable time flying with us, so that the journey is as enjoyable as your destination.

“Always a great hit with children and families is our award-winning ice Digital Widescreen which has over 3,000 channels including 50 Disney Classic movies, a dedicated Marvel channels which with movies like Ant Man, Marvel’s The Avengers and Iron Man. Additionally, we have 90 dedicated kids TV channels and around 100 video games for children. With specifically-dedicated channels for children on all flights, both youngsters and their parents can enjoy every minute of travel onboard.

So, in the spirit of celebrating children – we hope you enjoy Sherlock Gnomes to mark the start of summer and commemorate our in-flight experience for children,” he stated.

Speaking further on the operation of the airlines, he disclosed that Emirates flies 14 times a week from Lagos to Dubai (2 flights per day) and 4 times a week from Abuja to Dubai.

He also added that babies and toddlers on all routes can enjoy toiletry kits with wet wipes, cream, bib, teething ring and tissue pack. Other offerings are; child-friendly liners for the bassinet, baby food, formula, feeding bottles and diapers

Peak Milk and Chocolate Cup
FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria PLC, makers of Peak Chocolate Full Cream Milk Powder and Peak 456 Growing Up Milk also used the opportunity to unveil a 10-foot high chocolate cup, which was said to be Nigeria’s largest, in celebration of Children’s Day and ahead of the World Milk Day on June 1.

The unveiling which took place at JJT Park in Lagos in partnership with the Nutrition Society of Nigeria was claimed to attract more than 2,000 children, parents and guardians.

Speaking at the event, Brand Manager of Peak Chocolate Full Cream Milk Powder, Gloria Jacobs, stated that the essence of unveiling the giant chocolate cup was to re-emphasise the importance of nutrition whilst creating excitement among the children.

“With this year’s event, we wanted to show something spectacular and never-been-done feat to Nigerian children and particularly impress on them the importance of good nutrition by taking Peak Chocolate and Peak 456 daily for optimal growth and brain development because both contain adequate vitamins and essential nutrients” Jacobs said.

Also speaking at the event, Akon Imoh, Senior Brand Manager, Peak 456 Growing Up Milk explained that to demonstrate the versatility of milk in everyday foods, the children were encouraged to prepare daily recipes with Peak 456 and Peak Chocolate as a follow up to their Peak masterclass. The children then produced pancakes, chocolate cakes and doughnuts, and banana smoothies to the amazement of their parents. There was also a masterclass for mums to highlight the nutritional benefits of adding milk to their children’s daily foods.

Rounding off, Marketing Manager, Peak Maureen Ifada, reiterated that the Peak brand is synonymous with quality and high standards, and so always goes a step further in providing the best nutrition required for daily living.
“Children are very important to us at FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria and it is very essential to cultivate them young, especially at this stage of their growth when they need high quality nutrition for optimal brain growth, strong body development, sharp minds and a healthy lifestyle,” she said.

Conoil’s approach
As a company that is passionate about Nigeria, Conoil, one of the leading nation’s complete energy providers, also used the occasion to advise teachers, parents, governments, non-governmental organisations and all well-meaning Nigerians on the need for vigilance and urgent action to stem the growing negative influence on the children.

In its goodwill message to the Nigerian child to commemorate Children’s Day celebrations, the company entreated parents, leaders and every adult to lead by example by imbibing hard work, diligence, discipline, honesty, prudence, selflessness and patriotism.

It also called on parents to strive at all times to nurture, educate, mentor and pride their children to be the best in whatever endeavor they find themselves.

The statement counseled the private sector to partner with government at all levels to guarantee better living conditions for the Nigerian child by providing access to quality and affordable education, effective transportation system, good healthcare and other basic necessities so that they can grow, flourish and keep our nation strong.