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What Kids Buy: The Psychology of Marketing to Kids Paperback – May 1, 1999
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Paul Krunit President, Griffin-Bacal With more and more marketers charging into the youth market, it's more critical than ever that we have a thorough understanding of today's young consumers. The Youth Market Systems approach is unparalleled in providing today's marketers with that very important understanding. "What Kids Buy and Why" is a must read for anyone committed to playing in the youth marketplace and dedicated to being successful in it.
Candi Schwartz Kid Power Conference, Director, Marketing Advisory Council What Drs. Acuff and Reiher have accomplished is unprecedented. They've taken proven principles of child development and turned them into an innovative, breakthrough approach to the creation of winning products and programs for kids. "What Kids Buy and Why" is a foundational work for all kid-targeting industries.
Paul S. Michaels Vice President Franchise, M&M Mars Drs. Acuff and Reiher's approach is a breakthrough strategy for anyone interested in the creation of successful products for kids. In the trenches on the battlefield of today's competitive marketplace, it's bottom-line critical to know that gut instincts and educated guesses can be augmented by a science-based, intelligent approach to the design of products that win with kids -- the Youth Market Systems approach.
Joan Chiaramonte Vice President, Roper Starch Worldwide Finally there is a thought-provoking child-development-based approach to marketing to kids! In a systematic, step-by-step process with lots of examples, Drs. Acuff and Reiher lay out the fundamental understandings that today's kid-targeting professional needs to succeed.
Joel Ehrlich Senior Vice President, DC Comics/Warner Brothers Promotions Acuff and Reiher know more about the inner workings of kids than anyone I know. Their approach to understanding how children behave will give marketers tremendous insight into how to target messages and products that really meet kids' needs.
About the Author
Dan S. Acuff, PhD, is President of Youth Market System Consulting and, along with Dr. Robert H. Reiher, is among the world's leading specialists on youth-related products and programs. He has served as a consultant to more than fifty major kid-targeting corporations. Dr. Acuff lives and works in Glendale, California.
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The consulting company that wrote this book attempts to encapsulate their marketing approach into snappy acronyms and diagrams. The featured example is their "Product Leverage Matrix", a 15-step process for developing and evaluating products for children. Many of the steps seem arbitrary and redundant with one another, but readers may find that they bring some discipline to their product development ideas. By the end of the book, we've heard the same ideas presented several times, with only subtle differences between each presentation.
The main value of the book is the way in which it describes the concepts that appeal to children at different ages, due mainly to how their brains are physically changing. For example, kids under the age of 8 are generally turned off by any sort of sharp or jagged edges in product or character design, since sharp edges are associated with "bad guys". By age 10, however, kids (especially boys) are drawn to "edgy", somewhat dangerous marketing messages.
There isn't a ton of hard data or evidence presented. Given this fact, the book still manages to pull off a credible feel. It is also cited in several other books I've read recently about marketing to kids.
----Preschoolers prefer round, fuzzy animals with no visible teeth, whereas older children are receptive to more threatening animals, such as the Tazmanian Devil.
----Bugs Bunny has something for children of all ages: slapstick for younger kids and verbal humor for older kids. This is called "layering."
----Boys are less receptive to girl models than girls are to boy models.
----Computer games have had little success with girls. Some girls play computer games, but 80% of them use games purchased for a male friend or relative.
----In order to be accepted by peers, children find it necessary to disparage anything designed to appeal to younger children. However, an older child considers it safe to eat breakfast cereal promoted by cartoon animals in the privacy of his or her own home. This is called the "billboard effect."
All of the above facts, including even the statistics, are stated over and over. I agree with Rejean Roy. I'd like to see a little more content in those 194 pages. This is the most repetitious book I've read since Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.
Restaurants and fast-food for kids, which groceries and brands of clothing they like to use, even which type of automobile to buy for the family.
We should learn everything about Marketing to Kids!