I have 23 nieces and nephews (mostly thanks to my husband’s family) plus one on the way. I have seen how brands aim marketing strategies toward children. So when this article, “Preschoolers Know All About Brands” by K.J. Dell’Antonia at slate.com landed on my desk, I was immediately intrigued.
In a nutshell, the article focuses on a study showing that preschool-aged children really do know branding and are able to associate products with brands and make judgments whether they like or dislike them, similar to how an adult might. In many ways marketing professionals have given preschoolers the ability to become savvy shoppers. There are people that argue this type of branding toward young children is thought to be manipulative and cause innocent children to be unable to make sound decisions based on their own cognitive thoughts and reasoning. On the flipside, others believe brand messaging can be considered a way that kids learn to prioritize and organize the tangible world around them.
I’m not here to choose a side or get into the nitty-gritty about this article because it has led me to think outside of the box and beyond the content of this article. If our preschoolers already know branding, what does this say about social media and the role it will play in our children’s lives?
Today social media is geared toward tweens and adults and it has become another tool brands use to target their audience. While brands such as Nickelodeon, a children’s television network, have yet to implement social media, they currently have integrated messaging on their networks that have our preschoolers gravitating to its web sites where a plethora of activities and games await them.
So I ask these questions, what is beyond the horizon for social media and will the landscape evolve to include these little ones? And How? Are preschoolers an untapped market? Children like to mimic adults, and many of us are engaged in social media in some form or another and I cannot help to wonder, if social media targets this young of an audience will they become as enamored with it as we are?