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Unconventional ads gaining leverage from kids’ channels

Kids’ channels are witnessing a rise in ads from brands that have nothing to do with kids. Industry stalwarts provide interesting insights into this growing trend and how this is panning out for the brands

Unconventional ads gaining leverage from kids’ channels

Kids’ channels are witnessing a rise in ads from brands that have nothing to do with kids. Industry stalwarts provide interesting insights into this growing trend and how this is panning out for the brands

Aanchal Kohli | Mumbai | September 8, 2015


The tagline for a website for children’s products states: ‘Buying stuff for kids is no child’s play’. It sure isn’t and the race to woo the little ones has become serious business and no longer limited to toys and trinkets. If industry figures are to be believed, leading kids’ channels seem to be getting 55-60 per cent of their ad revenues from unconventional advertising.

Sectors that are getting attracted to kids’ channels today include automobile, insurance and technology, even as traditional advertisers such as GSK and HUL remain among the top spenders. takes a look at the growing trend of unconventional advertising on kids’ channels and speaks to a cross-section of industry stalwarts on the implications and the road ahead.

Unconventional advertising: A boon or bane?

Sanjay Tripathy Sanjay Tripathy

According to Sanjay Tripathy, Senior Executive Vice President - Head Marketing, Product, Analytics, Digital & E-Commerce, HDFC Life, “In today’s society, one can safely say that the pester power that kids hold has definitely grown by leaps and bounds. Some years back, a child had no say in household items or even dare demand what he/she could consume. Today, in this globalised world and with increased purchasing power, the scenario is very different. Most kids, even in middle income homes, today are raised in an environment of entitlement; and no matter how hard parents try, it would be fair to say that kids today are far more demanding of things from their parents.”

Anita Nayyar Anita Nayyar

Anita Nayyar, CEO - India & South Asia, Havas Media, observed, “The kids genre has one of the most focused eyeballs in the country, multiplied with the fact that it is the third largest in viewership. Kids’ brands contribute to 6-7 per cent of all brands leaving a huge blue ocean. Kids today are exceedingly smart and exposed to all categories of brands as part of their daily lifestyle; they are also within earshot of family discussions, so they pick up on nuances of saving, finance, insurance, housing, etc. Cars and online shopping – like the shoe that mom bought from – are part of their culture too; and no one can dispute that they are tech savvy and have deep interest in them. They are on the go with friends, people, travel, movie, music – often even before stepping into play school! It is no doubt they play a key role in the buying decision at home. This effect has not been lost on advertisers, many of whom are themselves exposed to kids. Pester power is at its biggest high today. Hence, the opportunity and need to further monetise.”

Tripathy added, “Further, with nuclear families increasingly becoming the norm, kids are becoming early tech adopters and are far more knowledgeable on certain categories, they become a part of the family’s decision-making. So, one does find a new set of advertisers of automobiles or consumer electronics experiment with this segment now and then. The last set I see advertising heavily on kid’s channels are the dotcoms. I think this would be in order to reach out to the female segment and create the category, hence, requiring heavy presence across genres.”

Nina Elavia Jaipuria Nina Elavia Jaipuria

Nina Elavia Jaipuria, EVP & Business Head - Kids Cluster, Viacom18, commented, “Unconventional media advertising that includes  non-FCT customisations and brand integrations are a win-win for all stakeholders, including channels, advertisers and the viewers. For the viewer, non-FCT customisations and brand integrations allow them to engage with the characters and the advertiser brands in a more engaging and entertaining manner. These customisations add tremendous value to the advertisers’ brands by bringing their products closer to the viewer and creating a great connect with their target group. Seamlessly integrated into the content, non-FCT customisation also helps ensure an effective communication campaign giving advertisers maximum bang for their buck.”

“For the broadcaster, it allows us to optimise our monetisation beyond FCT by allowing us to leverage the strength of our content and characters. Given the merit of such integrations and the influence that our characters have over our audiences, the task ahead is to ensure that we get our dues and are recognised for the reach and engagement that we bring to the advertisers’ brands,” Jaipuria added.

Abhinav Upadhyay, Head - Marketing and Innovation, Zee Learn, said, “It is relevant for a brand if their desired target audience is watching the channel. Advertising today is about telling stories in a different and better way, which can connect to children and their parents. For our brand called Kidzee, we have been using television as a conventional form to target our audience.”

Nikhil Gandhi Nikhil Gandhi

According to Nikhil Gandhi, Vice-Presidant, Revenues, Media Networks, Disney India, “Any new form of advertising is good for a brand and for the medium. In the last couple of years, we are the only kids’ channel that welcomes the entire family at the same time. We have a line-up for both kids and parents. Interestingly, even when there are shows which are wholly and solely for the kids, the parents do keep a check on what their kids are watching, hence it is a good catch for a lot brands to advertise. Also, the fact is that advertising on a kids’ channel is a little more cost-effective than on a general entertainment channel.”

The strategies involved

HDFC Life Insurance does not normally advertise on kids’ channels as, Tripathy explained, a large percentage of the TG consists of males and the numbers just don’t add up for the segment. Secondly, consumer involvement is low in insurance as a sector. “Hence, our advertising needs to be more compelling in its conversation. We prefer being present on genres that are closest to our TG like news, entertainment or sports. Lastly, given that as insurance players we always work with limited budgets and cannot afford pilferage of any kind in our campaigns, we prefer to be present with higher intensity around fewer genres/ properties than be the everywhere-you-can-see campaign,” he said.

Nayyar here stated that it was a combination of regular advertising, branded content and innovations. For example, Kellogg Choco’s association with ‘Chhota Bheem’. The popular character was also used to promote road safety rules as part of Honda’s campaign. “This format also allows a brand to reiterate its message in a subtler, more meaningful format,” she said.

“When we look at unconventional advertisers on kids’ channels, you can bucket them into two. One, those who are using the platform to drive pester power, and the others who use the platform because of dual viewership, a more efficient buy to reach out to mothers vis-a-vis mainline channels. However, at the same time there are many more strategic innovations that conventional advertisers targeting kids are driving today with licensing, character integrations and branded content,” remarked Shekhar Banerjee, Senior VP, Madison Media.

The categories involved

According to Jaipuria, “Advertisers have increasingly started taking cognizance of the influence that children have on household purchase decisions. From vacation choices to car purchases to meal selections, they exert tremendous power over the family pocketbook. With kids emerging as in-house consultants, marketers are reaching out to them through television, which is their primary communication platform. The category also allows these brands to target parents who are co-viewers on these channels. We have thus seen an increasing influx of non-kid product advertisers advertising on kids channels, categories like printers (Canon and HP), automobiles and two-wheelers (Hyundai and Honda), travel (Thomas Cook), e-commerce (Jasper-Snapdeal, Flipkart, Olx), paints (Akzo Noble, Berger Paints), insurance (Max Life). Our attempt is to go beyond pure FCT sale and interestingly integrate these categories into our on-air and on-ground initiatives. An interesting example of this is the Max Life Insurance I Genius campaign, curated to reach out to their target audience.”

Zee Learn’s Upadhyay added here, “We have seen a very large set of advertisers on the kids’ channels that advertise with an aim to create an impact mark.”

Gandhi too agreed that a lot of categories such as finance, FMCG, automobiles, e-commerce have now started advertising on kids’ channels. He said, “A lot of brands have started using this trend with an aim to target both families and children at the same time. The categories are evolving day by day.”

Nayyar said that clients have got a positive and continuous response to their ads on kids’ channels. Tripathy added, “Nearly 20 per cent of viewership on kids’ channels comes from accompanied viewing by a parent and they too become a compelling proposition for certain sectors/ industries. India remains by and large a single TV household. Data tends to reflect that a substantial percentage of women (at home mothers) watch shows on kids’ channels along with their children. This is also why one tends to find a lot of FMCG products like shampoos and conditioners, and consumer durables like refrigerators and washing machines advertising on kids’ channels as well.”

Upadhyay observed that the response has been quite encouraging. According to Disney’s Gandhi, nearly 55 per cent of the revenue was from unconventional form of advertising, while only around 45 per cent were actual kids’ brands on the channel.

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