Last year, Campbell Mithun Esty's KidCom children's marketing unit determined kids were much like adults when it comes to commercials: They like spots with a humorous story and creativity.
However, in the Minneapolis agency's second annual Ad-Traction survey, the link between likability and purchases is a bit fuzzy.
"We've discovered a gray zone that puts conditions on how kids decide what they want to buy," said KidCom general manager Christine Fruechte.
According to the study, humor and story continue to foster likability, but to be swayed to buy, most kids need to see a demonstration. Some spots ranking high for "likability," including those for such adult-oriented products as Bud Light and Miller Lite, did not spark an impulse to buy. (Can you hear the sighs of relief from the brewers?) Sony PlayStation, Nintendo 64 and Barbie spots weren't as likeable, but did spark that important buy impulse.
"Likability does not, by itself, automatically equal desire," Fruechte said.
But TBWA/Chiat/Day's talking Chihuahua commercials for Taco Bell ranked high on both likability and motivational lists ... except in the case of 15- to 17-year-old boys, who said they saw the spots too much.