It’s impossible to discuss public relations and the kiddie demographic without touching on the issue of parenting. Companies know that young children are an incredibly lucrative consumer group, and they’re willing to do just about anything to exploit that potential financial windfall.
However, as we pointed out in yesterday’s coverage of Victoria’s Secret’s marketing push to sell lingerie to tweens, parents own 100% of their own kids’ purchasing power. Savvy brands know that in order to reach children, they must go through the parents, not around them. Enter KFC’s new Lil’ Bucket Kids Meals.
The packaging tells the entire story. The Lil’ Bucket Kids Meals are vibrantly colored and playful, even offering QR codes and games that encourage youngsters to interact with the products. Kids’ Meals are nothing new; fast food brands have long relied on toy messaging to get their stuff into youngsters’ stomachs. Hey, most of us grew up eating them and we turned out just fine (ahem).
But times are changing.
Fast food brands are wrestling with an outdated product—unhealthy food—and a rapidly changing public approach toward nutritional content. We still love chips and soda, but now we want to know where our food is grown, how it’s made and what effects it might have on our health (and the health of our children).
That’s why KFC’s Lil’ Bucket Kids Meals offer apple sauce in a fun, squeezable bottle and healthy side options like green beans and milk in place of greasy fries and soda. These alternatives are the direct (and clever) result of a company paying attention to the public’s evolving tastes. By offering healthier option, KFC can absolve itself from any personal decisions a child or parent makes — a wise move considering this recent, scathing report on nutrition and kids meals. As another part of this bid to woo parents, KFC is sponsoring a “playground makeover” contest via a mobile app featured on its Facebook page.
KFC knows that it just needs to get parents and children into its restaurants; hunger and convenience will take care of the rest. Sure, there may be healthy options on the menu, but we all know how hard it is to get kids to eat green beans at home, let alone in a KFC.
So parents should remember: once they rationalize the decision to walk through those doors, they should know its mac and cheese and mashed potatoes and gravy time.
Green beans? Puh-leaze.