To Influence Kids, Market To Their Influencers, Says Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon has seemingly found the secret for kids' marketers: Don't target children, just the people who influence them.

Kids' marketers might snicker: Does that mean taking your commercials off Nickelodeon? Nice try. Nickelodeon says this kind of marketing should complement, not replace, standard kids' advertising and marketing chores.

Based on some new research, Nick reveals some of the obvious--middle age kids, tweens, if you will, really don't like to be marketed to directly. Marketers should push messages to those that influence them--perhaps some people who are older, and maybe some of different ethnicities.

A Nick multicultural kids study found that 44 percent of kids 6-14 believe that black people know the most about the latest music; 34 percent of those kids also believe blacks are the ones to go to about the coolest fashions; and 37 percent think blacks are the experts about sports.

Thirty-four percent also believe, according to the study, that white people will set you right about the best movies; and 35 percent say whites can point you in the right direction about computers and the Internet. Thirty-three percent think white people have the best knowledge of video games.



Nickelodeon believes that in this new digital age, marketers can do micro- and complex messaging to these trendsetters. Nickelodeon president Cyma Zarghami told a group of kids' advertising executives in Los Angeles yesterday, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter: "I don't know if it necessarily eliminates the traditional way of doing advertising, but it actually is additive in a way that may be more affordable in the short term."

And which networks would benefit the most from this strategy? Nickelodeon didn't say--but we could guess. It would mean more money for at least one trendsetting network-- MTV, where in theory some of those influencers reside--cool older kids and young adults--and which just happens to be Nickelodeon's sister network. (What a coincidence!)

There seems to be a more pressing underlying message from the study: Today's kids seemingly are growing up faster, looking to take on attitudes, styles, and products associated with adults. Perhaps Nickelodeon feels threatened about losing viewers at a younger age. Disney has had the problem for years, as kids grow out of Mickey Mouse at an increasingly younger and younger age.

All this means that in the new digital age Nickelodeon's programming will need to adjust--as it always does--to a more complex world where kids are hipper about the adult world at a younger age.

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