- Market Segment
- Cultural Makeup
- Would Not Have Purchased Product If Not Nagged
- Top Tween Interests
- Elementary School Teachers in the U.S.
- Where Tweens Like to Shop
- Magazine Readership In Thousands
- Decision Analyst - Hot Personalities
- Decision Analyst - Hot Personalities By Category
- Decision Analyst - Top Restaurant Chains
- Decision Analyst - Top Brands of Shoes
- Decision Analyst - Top Brands of Clothing
As children enter their tween years, print becomes a viable advertising option for reaching this audience. The relatively low cost of media and advertising production associated with print advertising makes this medium an excellent way for marketers with even the tightest of budgets to mount a reasonable national effort to tweens.
As with TV, print ads for tweens can be far more creative than print for younger children. Of course, tweens' reading abilities improve as they age, and they have a far greater understanding of language and use of metaphor. For example in one particular study, children were read a statement like:
"After working there many years, the prison guard became a rock and could not be moved. " When asked about this statement, 5 to 7 year olds thought the guard had physically and magically turned into a rock! The group aged 8 to 9 realized that a physical change did not take place but were still a little confused by the situation. The group aged 11 and 12 got it.
Also, with younger children, print advertisers must take pains to make 100 percent certain that the product and message is extremely apparent in the ad, with virtually nothing else capable of being a distraction from that objective. Unlike tweens, who are much more systematic in looking things over and scanning for the information that they want, children aged 5 and 6 do not scan pictures or print ads but look at things holistically.
Does Print Advertising Work?
Of course it does. Our own research with tweens regarding print has found magazine advertising to be especially effective in extending the recall of advertising in other mediums. Many kids will view a print ad and automatically tell us the selling points of the TV spot they saw for the product. We have even witnessed kids looking at a print ad and automatically tying it together with in-school posters that they saw for the same product.
Advertising recall for print is in line with what we would expect from other media for kids. Specifically, in the 1994 Magnet Study, unaided recall for print-advertised kid products ran from 13 percent to 26 percent. Total recall ranged from 51 percent for a candy to 84 percent for a soft drink.
Print offers marketers a few advantages that TV cannot. For one thing, tweens can save your ad.
Among kid readers, 83 percent report that they actually refer back to a magazine ad when deciding about a product that they may want. Tweens can also share your ad with a friend. In fact, more than one-third of kid-magazine readers receive their magazine as a pass-along from a friend.
In some cases, tweens report taping their favorite ads to their bedroom walls. This is especially true if the ad incorporates their favorite sports personality, celebrity, or just an ultra-cool visual. Imagine that! There is a way to have your ad in front of your target every single day of the year, without paying anything more for it. In fact, tweens like certain print ads so much that, according to Michelle Butler of Disney Adventures magazine, they will occasionally write to the magazine asking when a certain ad will appear again. With print ads, tweens can show your ad to their parents making it even easier for them to influence the purchase of your item. Not only can they show their parents exactly what your item looks like, if you have included copy in your ad that can help the tween sell the parent, the tween will use this as well. In fact, 83 percent of kid readers state that they show ads to their parents.
Tweens will spend time interacting with certain print ads, especially if there is a fun, cool contest, intriguing puzzle, or provocative visual. Tweens like to win, and a simple-to-understand contest with the right prizes can get some outstanding results. For example, a simple word puzzle in a Trolli print ad, giving every successful entrant a free bag of candy, generated over 50,000 responses!
What Should a Good Print Ad Do?
The visual is the key. Every time we expose tweens to a sample of print advertising, they are drawn to the most exciting, clearest visuals. The visual should be relevant to the tween, showing his or her favorite sport, fun situation, and so forth. Be careful of inconsistencies and exaggerations. Younger tweens sometimes do not understand a distorted body part or an item doing something or being somewhere it should not be.
If kids are in the ad, their ages, cultures, and overall appearances are of critical importance. As with TV, the talent's age must never be younger than the targeted tween. Remember that tweens do not want to be thought of as "babies," and a younger child in the ad will tell them that this product is for someone younger than they are.
Today's tweens are growing up in a multicultural environment, and they expect advertising to reflect that diversity. A recent study of some print ads for tween girls showed us that this group takes advertising quite seriously. They can be quite critical of the "wrong" type of advertising. For example, we showed 9-year old to 11-year old girls some test ads for fashion athletic shoes and were surprised at their dismay over the lack of cultural diversity among the ad's talent. Moreover, when it comes to diversity in ads, tween girls also showed us that it's not only the lack of skin colors that might offend them, but also the lack of hair colors. Make sure your ads show more than just pretty blondes.
As tweens age, they are increasingly concerned about fitting in and wearing and doing the right or cool thing. Therefore talent must not appear to be "uncool" to your audience, or they will assume your product is not for them. In other work we did with tween girls we found them actually projecting themselves and their friends in to the print advertising they saw. For example, looking at a group scene younger than they are.
While copy can help tweens sell their parents on a specific item, it is far less intriguing to them than visuals. In fact, much of the time, tweens don't read copy at all, even in their favorite ads. Copy should be short and easy to read. It used to be felt that swirly, wavy, or even circled lines of copy would capture the attention of tweens, but lately we have not found this to be true.
In summary, the visual must do it all and tell your essential product story. the great visual captures attention, communicates the message, and involves the product. An ad that relies on a visual to merely capture attention and on a copy to make the product connection has to work too hard with the audience. In fact, when your ad is ready to go, ask yourself: "Would a tween want to put this ad on his or her bedroom wall?" If no, try again. Ask yourself "Would a tween want to put this ad on his or her bedroom wall?" If no, try again.
What About Radio?
While radio advertising has traditionally targeted the teen and adult market, it can be a way in which to advertise to tweens as well. This is especially true for products and services less likely to have to need visuals to communicate their advantages. Tweens do listen to radio, especially as they become older. In addition, as we have seen, music is a very important part of their lives.
Radio can be an excellent vehicle for aiding or provoking tween influence because this medium allows marketers to attract tweens together with their parents-especially in cars on the way to and from school, activities, and family outings. According to Arbitron, when it comes to choosing a particular radio station for the family to listen to, in 34 per choosing a particular radio station for the family to listen to, in 34 percent of households, the child always makes the choice some of the time.
Among kids aged 9 to 11 86 percent report actively listening to commercials on the radio. They say they think radio ads are funny and entertaining. Most importantly, the majority of tweens report that radio ads told them about things that they wanted to buy and that they asked someone to buy the item for them.
Although tween use of the radio generally mimics that of teens, Rick Berger, president of the Next Generation Radio, suggests that it is still very possible to fine-tune ad efforts around tweens. Specifically, tween listening first peaks in the early morning, when tweens are getting ready for school, and then peaks again from 3 P.M. to 6 P.M., right after tweens are home from school. He also suggests surrounding your ad message around "countdown" show-where the DJ is "counting down" a top-40 list, for example. Lastly, while one might have to buy teen programming in order to reach a tween audience, Mr. Berger states that radio stations will usually work with advertisers to offer rates that would offset any inefficiency that may result.
(The Great Tween Buying Machine-By David L. Siegel, Timothy J. Coffey, Gregory Livingston page150-154).
IN-SCHOOL MARKETING SUGGESTIONS
- Understand the seasonality of the school year. Find out when various themes subjects are taught. Programs should be targeted to these dates.
- Make materials easy to use for teachers and administrators. They are busy people.
- Think like a parent! As a parent, would you be thankful to the sponsor for providing this assistance to your school and to your children? Would you want class time taken to implement it?
- Tweens are being taught to expect a world that culturally diverse. Advertising would be wise to reflect this.
- Tweens are becoming technologically adept at younger ages- a trend that will continue.
- Today's tweens expect to be able to easily access whatever information they desire concerning various products and services they wish to buy or investigate. Marketers should make certain that appropriate Web sites are developed and made accessible to these potential consumers.
- To keep up with the newest standards and advances in Internet literacy, marketers should monitor http://www.iste.org the Web site of the International Society for Technology in Education.
- Tweens are much savvier than their predecessors in understanding advertising and the media. Smart marketers should remember that these tweens expect the facts not just the sizzle.
- In-school marketing can be a worthwhile addition to your marketing mix, providing that you identify the appropriate teacher needs.
- Marketing, advertising, and sponsorship opportunities may exist on various school Web sites that are frequented daily by students and their parents.
- New opportunities for marketing to teachers now exist by advertising on or sponsoring various teacher Web sites.
(The Great Tween Buying Machine-By David L. Siegel, Timothy J. Coffey, Gregory Livingston page:106-107)