BrandWashing Marketing Tricks Targeting Kids

585 396 Derek Kimball

honest marketing

Its no secret that some companies will do just about anything they can to improve sales and establish their brands. The question though that some are asking is “do companies sometimes go too far in their efforts?”. After reading an article by the “Business Insider”, which detailed a few of the dirty “brandwashing” tricks companies use on children, I’m starting to think that the answer may be yes (at least on moral grounds). You be the judge:

youth marketing

A Philippine candy company by the name of Kopiko seems to have found one way to boost product sales. Apparently, getting pregnant women hooked on coffee flavored candy results in caffeinated children. A study done by the University of Colorado School of Medicine seems to support this idea that kids acquire many of the same tastes in food as their mothers when pregnant.

branding of tobbaco companies

It’s pretty obvious that tobacco companies aren’t very concerned with the youth getting hooked on their products. Yes, certain laws have made their efforts a bit more difficult, but creative packaging, iconic mascots like Camel Joe, and strong brand targeting toward teens once they turn 18 seem to illustrate that money trumps morality with many of these companies.

marketing toward kids

Cereal and junk food companies have known for a long time that things like colorful mascots, toys and games are a great way to build strong brand loyalty (i.e. cracker jack toys). The industry’s latest marketing efforts include the use of cell phone apps and computer games, many of which go viral and turn young kids into loyal brand ambassadors.

branding and marketing influence on children

With each generation there seems to be an increasingly overwhelming amount of peer pressure for young girls to feel pretty. The influence is especially apparent on television. Popular clothing company Abercrombie & Fitch created controversy when they apparently marketed “push up” bras to young girls.

Tesco, a toy making company marketed their “Peekaboo Pole Dancing Kit, to girls under the age of 10. An advertisement for the age inappropriate toy read the following:

“The Tesco Direct site advertises the kit with the words, “Unleash the sex kitten inside…simply extend the Peekaboo pole inside the tube, slip on the sexy tunes and away you go! Soon you’ll be flaunting it to the world and earning a fortune in Peekaboo Dance Dollars”.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Do you think these branding and marketing efforts cross the line or are people just being overly sensitive? Please comment below.

AUTHOR

Derek Kimball

Thanks for reading my blog. I'm a graphic designer who specializes in logo design and brand identity. If you'd like to receive periodic updates to useful design resources and writings, subscribe to the newsletter.

All stories by: Derek Kimball
5 comments
  • Steven Key

    These marketing and branding tactics have really crossed the line. It’s disgusting to be honest! Particularly disturbing is the “push up” bras for young girls and the “Peekaboo Pole Dancing Kit” sexualising children at such a young age. Shameful.

  • DesignBuddy

    Thanks for the comment Steven. Yeah, I think they go a bit too far sometimes. I guess these companies don’t realize that more honest marketing can be just as rewarding and less potentially damaging to their brands. I just checked out your website; you’ve got some good reads. I especially like the Letterpress video.

  • Jess Hallett

    It shouldn’t matter how good these marketing/branding techniques are, some people just need to be smart enough to prevent their children from being exposed to this crap. When we have kids, they definitely aren’t going to be playing with “pole dancing kits”…not at 10 years old, like the manufacturers intended.

  • DesignBuddy

    If anyone is reading this and wondering why Jess says “when we have kids”…it’s because she is my lovely girlfriend / fiance. Thanks for checking out my blog babe…and yeah I agree…if we ever have a daughter, she has to wait until she’s 18 before shes allowed to play around with pole dancing lol. Just another reason why it’s probably so much easier having a son.

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