Marketing for Thought

Kids say the darnest things

For the past two summers I have babysat for the same family in the town where I grew up.  I spent hours playing games, coloring, riding bikes, going on adventures, and watching cartoons with  the 7 year old girl and 3 year old boy, and every night without a doubt I would come home exhausted but with plenty of stories.

Everyone, even if they have only been around a kid below the age of ten for five minutes, can tell you that they say the most ridiculous, innocent, and thought-provoking things we will ever hear in our lives.  While I was babysitting on my 19th birthday, the young boy told me I was so old that when I was his age there were no GPS’s in cars. Another time, I was greeted by him on the front lawn, riding his bike without training wheels for the first time.  I asked him how it had happened so fast- just last week he had his training wheels on.  He told me that he was training to be in the Olympics.

Their innocence, curiosity, and carefree spirit paired with their non-filtered dialogue is what pulls at our heart strings.  It makes us melt. It makes us think of things in a new way, a different light.

How have marketers used this to get their messages across? Here are two of my favorite examples from this past year:

Soulpancake: Kid President Pep Talk

We watched this in my Integrated Marketing Communications class. I still melt.  His enthusiasm, speech inflexion, and perspective makes me smile and stay engaged the entire video.

Extra Mile: 10 year old teaches college guys to be gentleman

This one came up in my Facebook feed yesterday. Once again, these are simple calls to action: be nice, treat a girl nicely, pay for her dinner, pull out her chair, open the door, take long walks and talk, be a gentlemen, and ultimately be a nice guy.  Coming from a little kid though makes it mean even more.

Why do these videos work?  As we get older, we forget the little things.  Kids reminding us to make a change, be happier, or be a nicer guy, prove that these are simple things that we haven’t adopted into our lifestyles. Hearing it through this communication channel makes it even more effective than someone older telling us “the right thing to do.”

A couple weeks ago, we read as a class David Williamson’s “Marketing & Communications in Nonprofit Organizations,”  and he discusses in his cause marketing guidelines the importance of identifying the appropriate vehicle and combination of tools for delivering your message. This ties directly with knowing your audience.  He used the example of the “Truth” anti-smoking campaigns that use real facts and smokers to deter teenagers from smoking instead of authority figures.  This audience was not receptive to their parents, teachers, or other authoritative figures saying “don’t smoke” and needed to see the message in another manner.  The Kid President and the Extra Mile video use this same tactic- hearing what we should be doing from someone we don’t see as “above us.”

Plus, don’t you think they are just precious?

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