Marketing: How to Make Children's Characters Work for You

Jeanne Sager
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Disney fruitIs the news that kids are choosing junk food because of the appearance of their favorite characters on the packaging really the worst thing that's happened to parents?

Yes, childhood obesity is bad.

We get it.

But if we have a trigger point for convincing our kids to do something -- albeit one that's commercial -- is it so bad if we harness the power for good?

It's become popular to wax philosophic about marketing to kids, and there are some clear dangers.

But when groups like the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood name their site URLs "commercial exploitation," it's bound to scare the bejesus out of us.

Read their site. They have some valid points, and some words to live by.

Now ignore the bluster.

bakuganIf the only way you can convince your child to brush her teeth is with a Dora brush, stop beating yourself up. You just saved your child from becoming one of the 28 percent of preschoolers between the ages of 2 and 5 who suffer from tooth decay.

I allow my daughter to watch TV, read books, and walk outside of my house -- she is assaulted by marketing. For us the key is in making it work FOR us.

A few times I confess I'm totally sold on selling out:

1. Toothbrushing. Colgate has a new series of SpongeBob, Dora, even Pop Stars toothbrushes and toothpaste in their Colgate Kids line. And my daughter not only likes the characters, but she digs the taste of her paste -- and wakes up asking to brush her teeth. If that's not a success, what is?

2. Food. Bypass the junk and teach them their favorites like fruits too. I picked up Mickey dried apples a few months ago by chance at the grocery store, but the Mouse has an entire Disney Garden line that I discovered at a recent marketing event. From fruit slices to cheese, they're conveniently packaged for parents who are on the go.

3. Good for the Earth. From Sesame Street veggie seeds to Disney tote bags, I've already confessed I'm good on green marketing to kids.

Do you eschew all marketing or make it work for your family?

 

Image via Disney Consumer Products/Drugstore.com

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