10 Tips - How to advertise to children

Sam Vernon, advertisement sales manager at Egmont Group


Talk their language

Remember that kids are discerning consumers. They are short on time and attention, so it’s vital you capture their imagination. For print based advertising, it’s about impact (less words, more pictures!) with visually stimulating executions.


Be age appropriate

Ensure your content and message is appropriate for the target age, so make sure you understand the stages of children’s development, national curriculum and relevant hobbies and interests. For example, if your message is interactive, ensure that the child is challenged but can still accomplish the task! Accomplishment is important for a child’s self esteem.


Be responsible

Always be mindful of the fact that you are communicating to children and that your message could have an impact on Mum and Dad, eg, we would not advise including premium rate phone lines in advertising aimed at children.


Tell it like it really is

If an advert features products and price points, then be clear.

Parents dislike advertising promoting “prices from £4.95” when the accompanying images show far more expensive items!


Vary the creative

Children are highly critical of the same message being presented in the same way over and over again. This is likely to render the communication “boring” and children will lose interest.


Fit with the environment

Think about entering the spirit of the medium you are using. In magazines, children want to be entertained and interact, so they want a message that fits. The best advertisements form part of the experience and do not interrupt their flow of enjoyment.


What’s in it for me?

An advertising message must have tangible value for a child.

Information alone is not enough – it should be entertaining, make them laugh or give them something to do, eg, a game, puzzle or joke. It then becomes part of the experience.


Make it relevant to the sexes

Boys are boys and girls are girls, funnily enough, and they are very different emotionally, physically and socially. So make sure you tailor your message accordingly.


Remember parents appreciate the information too

Our research tells us that parents find advertising messages a useful way of keeping in touch with what their children like.

Advertisements can make their life easier around key times of year, such as Christmas or birthdays.


It’s all a question of balance

Parents and kids want and expect to see advertising messages, but there can be too much! They want to see a variety and a balance of products advertised.