As summer vacation approaches, the kids' content landscape is gearing up for a refreshing line-up, and advertisers have different plans to capitalise on it. With an increase in viewership, advertisers have a better chance of connecting with their target audience effectively during this period, industry experts believe.
The experts also stated that during summer vacation kids channels go the extra mile by offering special programming, movie festivals, on-ground activities and custom summer packages, creating more association opportunities for advertisers. Moreover, it's not just the regular kids' brands, even non-kids categories are focusing on the genre to leverage the pestering power of children.
Increased viewership during summer vacation creates opportunities for advertisers
Simanta Mahanta, Senior Vice-President – Investment and Partnerships, Initiative India, said that seasonality is a key dimension in the advertising industry and plays an important role in both volume and pricing. While seasonality typically drives specific category-level surges in demand, regardless of growth in viewership, in the kids’ genre, summer vacations drive growth in both business and viewership.
With more leisure time, kids tend to tune in to TV more, leading to viewership growth, which creates a better opportunity for advertisers to connect with them effectively. This provides an opportunity for kids’ channels to command higher pricing from advertisers.
However, this higher pricing typically only applies to topical advertisers since large advertisers with regular business in this genre usually insulate themselves from seasonal pricing increases with long-term deals with key channels, Mahanta added.
Furthermore, he went on to say that kids channels usually come up with special programming during this period, keeping in mind the potentially higher time spent by kids and the surge in demand from different advertisers.
“In addition to new show launches, they create customised summer packages of existing content, such as movie festivals and special episodes. They also organise different on-ground activities like mall activations and summer camps to connect more with kids and create a higher viewership base for the future. All of these special content and activations also provide association opportunities for advertisers looking for higher volumes of business during this period,” Mahanta stated.
In terms of categories, all kids’ products usually increase their advertising inputs during summer vacation. In addition to the regularly active brands, topical kids products like fruit drinks and ice creams start activating all their campaigns during this period. Even some non-kids categories like ACs and automobiles have started considering this genre or increasing campaign inputs to leverage the pestering power of kids, keeping in mind the primarily one TV household scenario in India, as per him.
“Advertisers looking for better ROI during this period usually associate, or should associate, with the special programming that kids’ channels bring in during this period, both in terms of on-air and on-ground. While on-air associations with special programming help drive awareness/TOMA (top-of-mind awareness), associating with on-ground activities can help advertisers looking for more engagement and drive mid and bottom-funnel metrics,” Mahanta said.
Advertisers’ plans to capitalise on the increase in kids' content viewership
Rajiv Dubey, Head of Media at Dabur, said that some Dabur brands have higher saliency in summer months which coincides with kids’ vacation time, hence one doesn't want to miss this opportunity to communicate. Kids genre offers a unique set of programming - involving educational content, entertainment, exposure to other cultures, which improves social interaction and also helps parents.
As per him, Dabur’s brands like Real, Glucose and Vita have kids-specific communications and they communicate with parents and kids both, through the kids.
Ajay Gupta, Founder, Chairman and MD of Capital Foods, also said, “While TV ads targeting kids are effective, we also provide recipe videos featuring our products to mothers, who are often responsible for meal preparation. Our goal is to inspire parents to create exciting and tasty meals for their children during the summer months, promoting tasty meal eating habits and creating lasting memories.”
Top advertisers in kids genre
According to a senior advertiser, top advertisers in the kids genre who fill up about 80% of the genre are Unilever, RBI, Nestle, Britannia, Mondelez, Kellogg's, Disney, Pepsi, Parle etc, most of them being FMCGs.
Surprisingly, the most advertised brand in the kids’ genre is a toilet cleaner brand and a toothpaste brand due to the availability of cheap GRPs. “I am sure that none of these brands are targeted towards kids but their mothers,” he added.
Speaking about the challenges, Dubey said, “The biggest challenge or I would say opportunity is to build long-term brand loyalty by engaging with kids at an early age. In a digital context, one would want to ensure that advertising appears in a brand-safe environment.”
Furthermore, he went on to say that advertisers also need to be mindful of age-appropriate messaging on one side and address parents' concerns about not doing excessive commercialisation and inappropriate messaging for innocent minds on the other. As a responsible company, Dabur is mindful of these facts.
Recounting the most important benefit of kids genre, Dubey said that on TV it offers dual viewership involving mother/parent-child and has pan India presence as compared to other genres which are region-specific.
Meanwhile, Gupta said, “As a company, we are committed to promoting ethical products for kids. We ensure that our advertising strategies steer clear of any products that could be harmful to children. Additionally, we recognise that kids have a shorter attention span and require succinct communication to maintain their interest.”
“Therefore, we strive to get our message across in a concise and effective manner. Our tonality is carefully chosen to appeal to kids without compromising on our values or ethics. We believe that by prioritising the health and well-being of children, we can create a positive impact on their lives and contribute towards a healthier future,” he added.
Channels’ interactive engagement initiatives with brands
Apart from launching new shows and IPs, the kids channels are also well aware of the hype around the summer holiday season and they intend to engage with brands and make full use of this opportunity.
“At the BBC, we have created some of the most successful franchise brands in the world, particularly in the kids space. Our Consumer Products and Licensing team globally is always working to create fun, engaging and exciting toys, albums, colouring books and much more. We are planning to grow in APAC in the coming years in this space,” Stanley Fernandes, Vice-President, Distribution, BBC Studios South Asia said.
Uttam Pal Singh, South Asia - Head of Kids Cluster, Warner Bros. Discovery said, “We actively engage with brands to create interactive engagement initiatives for our audiences. Moreover, brands that have traditionally advertised on television continue to do so with new shows and IPs for their campaigns and new brand launches. Our on-ground and on-air campaigns have attracted both traditional and non-traditional advertisers and brands, thanks to the immense popularity of Cartoon Network, Pogo, and Discovery Kids characters. It's not just kids who love these characters, but parents too, resulting in a significant rise in co-viewing.”
For the summer holidays, brands across categories such as snacks/food and beverages, student stationery, personal care/hygiene, home care and consumer durables, have tied hands with Warner Bros Discovery’s channels, as per Singh.
“In addition, we are constantly exploring new opportunities, such as collaborating with relevant content creators and communities, utilising various media platform tools, and partnering with brand and media entities to execute topical campaigns and launches,” Singh said.
“Furthermore, as part of our strategy to build Cartoon Network as the go-to anime destination for kids, we invited the anime fan community to participate in a 'Watch and Win' trivia contest for special rewards. As part of the premiere campaign, ‘Dragon Ball’ fandom showcased their love for Goku's world with a 'Selfie Contest',” Singh added.
Speaking about the new category of brands that have started showing interest in the kids’ genre, Nina Elavia Jaipuria, Head, Hindi Mass Entertainment and Kids TV Network, Viacom18, said, “This year we got Tata Consumer Products to advertise. Then we also got H&M, Apollo Pharmacy and Havmore. So, there are a lot of advertisers who have tapped into the kids’ genre for the first time.”
A Disney kids channels' spokesperson said, “With our differentiated content offerings across the network and the current viewership that our channels are enjoying, brands are definitely looking at as their preferred partner to reach out to kids and families. Consumer Durables remains to be a consistent category which continues to advertise on our channels to reach out to parents and families while toys, stationeries, sports goods and on-ground events have come on board to appeal to the kids, all creating meaningful campaigns to reach out to their audiences.”
“In addition to this, we have extended our prowess in storytelling, to help brands address changing consumption patterns by creating personalised stories that help them to better engage with their audiences,” the spokesperson added.