Kids’ Brands Go Mobile for Product Rollouts and Promos

Imagine for a moment that you work in the marketing/communications department at Nickelodeon, PBS Kids or any other huge kids’ brand. What better time to schedule your next big product rollout than right before Christmas! Need a strategic hook? Disguise your promo materials as educational tools—you can familiarize members of your target audience with your brand’s newest innovations while winning approval from their parents!

November brought news of kids’ network Nickelodeon creating educational apps for kids, and a recent New York Times article clarified the purpose of these apps: promoting Nickelodeon’s TV properties.

Think about it: As television ownership and cable subscription rates decline, parents “are increasingly putting mobile devices into preschoolers’ hands and laps”–which creates some great new promotional opportunities for brands that appeal to young kids.

Stats are convincing: For example, 21 percent of current parents report that “their children first interacted with ‘Sesame Street‘ someplace other than television, with YouTube and the top alternative sources”. So of course we understand why so many children’s brands see futures in mobile. Check out this video spot for an educational app promoting the Nick Jr. property Bubble Guppies:

Earlier this year we reported on the growing phenomenon of downloadable games for young kids that are really “nothing but interactive candy ads”. Some parents understandably don’t approve of these sly moves by junk food promoters to introduce innocent kids to cookie dough and Slurpees–but who can argue against educational tools, even if they promote cartoons?

This approach is without a doubt a brilliant strategy. But we do have to ask: How young is too young to be bombarded with marketing messages? Is branding always OK as long as it’s “educational” too?

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.