Reaching both kids and parents without alienating either - or indeed both - sides is a tall order. But this is the challenge that faces marketers whose brands target kids in an age range where its mums who make the decision to buy.
For Burton's Foods, getting the balance right is key to maintaining market leadership of its Jammie Dodgers brand in the kids biscuit sector, and growing a 17 per cent market share. It's with this in mind that Burton's is investing £2 million in a push designed to leverage the start of the new school year into making its Mini Jammie Dodgers biscuit brand a lunchbox and playground favourite.
The 'Let The Jam Decide' activity kicks off this month and will run until Christmas. It has the twin objectives of raising awareness of Mini Jammie Dodgers to the levels of the better known standard Dodger and creating a buzz around the brand's creative concept of 'Jam Wrestling' among kids and mums alike.
"Jam is the hero of Jammie Dodgers - no other biscuit brand has the jam splodge in the middle and Jam Wrestling really builds on that uniqueness, says Paula O'Hare, Jammie Dodgers' senior brand manager.
Jam Wrestling has featured in Jammie Dodgers' marketing strategy for 18 months. It began life as an above-the-line creative concept, based on research that the brand's target market - kids aged six to 11 - rated WWF wrestling as their number one spectator sport.
And so the World Jam Wrestling Federation was born, with TV ads featuring a range of specially created 'Jampion' characters such as Dr Pongadoo, a hygienically challenged ex-humanities professor, and Autobot, a robot that fires things from its bottom, battling in a wrestling ring with jam as the weapon. This was extended below-the-line through retained agency Chilli Marketing Communications, with an on-pack push late last year.
Early this year, a follow-up campaign that involved sending in tokens for a miniature replica Jam Wrestling ring and character figure was implemented.
"When this concept launched we focused very much on the characters and them wrestling in jam, says Richard Shirley, joint managing director of Chilli. But in May this year the brand took the concept closer to the kids through a sponsorship deal with satellite channel Cartoon Network, complete with 10-second character ads and a competitive Jam Wrestling game on the Cartoon Network website.
The new push focuses even more on enabling kids to take part in Jam Wrestling, and rather than the promotion being an add-on, the latest activity is the crucial element in the through-the-line campaign.
"The Cartoon Network game was really popular and came fourth on its website in terms of hits, ahead of the other 20 character microsites," says O'Hare.
"Kids clearly had their favourite characters, so we've evolved the campaign to focus on 'the Academy' where Jampions go to improve their Jam Wrestling."
The promotion revolves around a Jam Wrestling Academy trading game that allows kids to interact with the Jampion characters. The trading game cards, designed by Chilli in conjunction with gamecard specialist Megaprint, are discs with pull-out panels that cause the character to stand up and also reveal their name and vital statistics. It is these statistics - values are given for the character's Jam-Power, Jam O-Grams, Jam-ability, Jam-Stamina and Jammie-Moves - that kids use to battle each other.
One million special packs of the Mini Jammie Dodger variant each contain eight different pull-out Jam Wrestling trading cards and a leaflet explaining the rules of the game. There are 40 characters to collect, but kids don't need all of them to play.
"It was crucial there were enough cards in the pack so kids could play the game instantly, says O'Hare. "It's no good just giving them two cards because they'll quickly get bored with it."
But while kids don't need to collect to enjoy the game, Stuart Macintosh, account manager at Megaprint, believes they will: "Kids like to collect because there is that competitive element with their friends as to who has the most."
However, Chilli's Shirley stresses that the scheme is first and foremost an in-pack gift. "Whereas it is price that might appeal to mum, having something free is really important to kids and each pack contains something of value to them. We've put different cards in each pack so that if they come back a second week they're unlikely to get the same ones. If they do, we're encouraging swapability."
O'Hare adds that swapability is key to spreading the word about the promotion.
"Hopefully the kids will tell their friends and they can trade if they receive the same cards. We're really trying to reach the playground and make Jammie Dodgers playground currency with this promotion, she says.
One of the ways in which Jammie Dodgers hopes to generate long-term playground excitement around the trading game is via an online version at the Virtual Jam Wrestling Academy, also created by Chilli. Each in-pack trading card has the web address printed on the back pointing kids to www.letthejamdecide.com, where they can play against friends or against the computer.
"They see the Academy on telly, and they can then go and play online with electronic versions of the trading cards and see who does best over a series of months on a leader board, says Shirley. The online version of the trading game also takes the form of a competition, with the top ten players being invited to visit the real-life 'Academy' for the day.
This chance to win prizes also runs on in-pack cards. Some of the packs will contain a winning pull-out card that contains a code. The cards direct winners to the promotional website where they can log their code to find out whether they have won a year's supply of Jammie Dodgers, a boxed set of the 40 Jampion collector cards or one of the ten coveted places at the Jam Academy.
"The fact that there's an actual Academy to visit brings the concept closer to kids and mums. Once there, the winners will run jam assault courses, get dropped in jam and meet new character Badger, says O'Hare.
Badger is the hero of the supporting ad campaign, which has been created specifically for the promotion, a first for Jammie Dodgers. The £1.2 million TV campaign, through Saatchi & Saatchi, is being conducted in two parts, with general ads featuring the Academy launched on August 26. A follow-up promotion-specific ad, featuring a child having fun with the game, is due to air on September 24 to maintain momentum once the packs are in-store.
O'Hare is relying on the advertising as a crucial tool to get mums onside and drive footfall instore. "By advertising the promotion, mum will come into the store knowing it is there and knowing what to look for, she says. "In the past our advertising has focused on the kids, running on kids' channels and during kids' shows. This time we're targeting mum too, as the gatekeeper and the one who makes the purchasing decisions."
There will also be some in-store support, with POP and lunchboxes featuring in back-to-school displays. But there won't be a lot of price activity because, according to Shirley, while the retailers push this, the brand is trying to do something different. "One of the main problems is the trade limiting what you can do in terms of added value, he says. "This activity gives mums and kids the chance to interact with the brand over and above price. They'll have seen the ads and then they can play the game."
Burton's hopes the activity will help Mini Jammie Dodgers achieve longevity of brand recognition with both kids and mums. Only time will tell whether Jam Wrestling, and by association Jammie Dodgers, really does become the talk of the playground this autumn.
IN MY VIEW - 7/10
Who do you think really eats Jammie Dodgers? I don't mean who buys them - that's mum in the supermarket and ostensibly she buys them for little Johnny at home.
But I bet that the majority of packets bought are actually consumed by furtive fathers gleefully pillaging the biscuit barrel on returning from the pub. And half a packet doesn't go nearly as far as it used to in my experience.
In many ways fathers would be a more homogeneous and easily targetable group. The golden rule of promoting to kids is that you have to pitch a couple of years older to get your target group aspiring to participate.
Trouble is, six to 11 is a huge age range. Aim for 11 year olds and you're into PlayStation2 and mobile phones. For them, collecting cards in a playground may seem a bit, well, childish. The online game (played one, won one so far) is a good concept, but in terms of playability, Spider-Man it's not.
But full marks have to go to the agency for developing the concept of Jam Wrestling, which focuses on the central product benefit of 'jamminess', rather than just buying a proven licence as a short cut to relevance.
And credit is also due to the client for investing in the concept over several campaigns and allowing awareness to build. Being prepared to put money into television advertising highlights commitment and will give the campaign stature with the trade.
Ultimately, though, the campaign's success will be decided by how many kids start collecting the cards and battling it out in the playground and online, pestering mum for more characters with which to beat opponents and move up the high score rankings.
My guess is that for those still in junior school this will work just fine, but there's a big danger that from senior school they'll be lost to more hi-tech attractions.
Until, of course, they become fathers in their thirties.
Nick Hoardley, managing director, Triangle Group.