The toughest challenge for an advertising whizz kid is trying to market a product that kids will love and parents will buy. It’s a balancing act like no other; like setting up a hire wire between two moving mammoths and walking along it on your hands, which have clown shoes on. Yeah, tricky, tricky. Yet advertisers have met this challenge with a smile and done an incredible job of succeeding.

Forget about flashing banner ads, contests, sweepstakes and sponsored Google Ads that match your search terms. These don’t work on kids. They don’t cut the mustard, so to speak. No, what advertisers are doing now is one part sneaky and two parts genius, which is why it works so well at capturing your kid’s attention and your hard earned cash.

So, without further ado, here are the most incredible ways online marketers are doing their jobs:

1. Social Media Is Huge

Celebrities hardly have to do any work these days and they can make the big bucks. We’re talking about thousands and thousands to send a tweet about latest Nerf gun or a pop a picture of themselves on Instagram eating some new to the market cereal. They aren’t ad labelled and yet they are getting in front of the audience the brands desperately want. It’s a win-win for both parties.

2. Wildly Fun Websites

According to the experts in user-centric web design, PRWD, so many big brands are now using games to boost their marketing moves. You have Play-Doh with an interactive video on its homepage, with Lucky Charms doing the same, while McDonald’s has made a full-on game on their HappyMeal website, littering its products throughout its virtual world to spread the brand’s message. It is relatively new in marketing terms, but it is already rampant across the website. Some have even gone as far to make games apps, albeit mainly kids TV shows like The Deep (which is one of the best kids shows we have ever seen – it’s like a James Bond film if James Bond films were animated, based underwater and about a family of explorers).

3. Updates By Text

Pretty much every teenager in the western world now has a smartphone by the time they are 11 (which means they aren’t even teens yet). What’s more, half of all teenagers are probably addicted to shows like Gossip Girl or Teen Wolf or something like that, which is great because it gives them something to get all excited about with their not-quite teenage friends in the same way we used to when there were only four TV channels, but it’s also great because they never have to miss out on the latest news. They can just sign up for the show’s mobile alerts and get the latest tidbits straight to their phones. That’s why so many advertisers are now buying ad space from these guys, sending ads straight to your kid’s phone when they sign up for these alerts.

4. Video Content Got Good

The sensation that is Youtube isn’t just somewhere you can go to watch Britain’s Got Talent clips, the latest music videos, go through tutorials on how to clean your car’s headlights with nothing but toothpaste or see what features are hidden on your favourite retro console games; they are also a goldmine of branded videos. Let’s use Lucky Charms as a great example once more, which has an entire web series starring its world-famous Leprechaun. It’s not just on YouTube, though. They release each episode on their website first, which means kids go to their website and get walloped by branded images of their products at every turn. We’re no shaming them or anything, quite the contrary. It’s nice to know we’re getting more for our money than just rubbish tasting cereals.

5. Pester Power

A lot of brands want to create advertising campaigns that will grab the kids eye first before explaining why they are a great buy for the parents second. That’s what makes it so tricky. You need to be attractive to children but substantial to parents, which is where imagery and copywriting need to work together. However, some brands can struggle to nail this so they just use the irresistible force of pester power instead. The reason for this is simple: kids have way more autonomy and decision-making influence in families than they ever used to. When we were kids, we would say thank you for anything we were given (at least that’s how we remember it), but nowadays, kids are vocal about what they want and we parents are scared of tantrums, so we give in. Marketers know this and have preyed on us weak parenting folk and we applaud it.

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