Children’s Day: L’Oreal, Others Grow Brand Visibility with Kid Consumers

A few decades ago, children were not spoken of as spenders or customers but as future consumers. Although they bought sweets, doughnuts and occasional soft drinks, brand owners and retailers at that period still did not recognise them as customers per se. The youngest population segment that was of concern to brand owners and retailers was the teens.
But, today, children are viewed as a viable market by many manufacturers and retailers.  With the budget of child-focused advertising and PR running in to billions of dollars, the kid consumer segment is really a moving monument to the marketplace today.
Potentially, children constitute the most lucrative market there is for many businesses. Entire industries – such as producers of candy, gum, frozen desserts, soft drinks, toys, comic books, records and cassettes – treat children as a current market. At the retail level, such outlets as video game parlours, movie houses and convenience stores also treat children as a ready market. Children are a future market for most goods and services. Manufacturers and retailers respond to them as future consumers to be cultivated now.
Children also constitute a market of influentials that cause millions of Naira of purchases among their parents. Probably best known of these marketers are cereal firms that intensively advertise to children on weekend morning television and directly or indirectly encourage the children to persuade their parents to buy certain brands of cereal. Today’s typical young consumers have several sources of funds, can spend their money on objects of their choice and are encouraged by their parents to become economically responsible as soon as possible. Most parents regard the notion of their children as consumers as a natural role to be assumed.
L'Oreal Pix
(L-R) Assistant Brand Manager Dark and Lovely, Iretiogo Etsaghara, Beautiful Beginnings Mum & I Pageant Princess, Precious Olatunde, General Manager Consumer Products Division, L’Oreal Central West Africa, Sekou Coulibaly, Human Resources Director, Enitan Ashley-Dejo and the Group Marketing Manager, Ogbemi Kesiena at the grand finale of Dark and Lovely Beautiful Beginnings Mum & I Beauty Pageant to mark  Children’s Day in Lagos.
But, should children, really be referred to as a market? According to renowned marketing scholar, Phil Cutler the following four requirements must be met in order for a group to be considered a market: The people or group must have a definable need for the product; Individuals in the group must have the authority to buy the specific product; The people in the group must have the ability to purchase the products and the people in the aggregate must be willing to use their buying power.
Emmanuel Young, a Field market research Consultant with RMS feels looking closely at each of these requirements; children appear to be a bona fide market.  Explaining further Young said, “It is true that one might question the first requirement, need for the product, in terms of sweets, bubble gum or candy. It is also true that a child doesn’t need this product to sustain life, however, needs are not only for survival but also for social reason or just fun”.
There are no indications that the nation’s parents are going to do anything to reduce the consumption efforts of their children. In fact, parents in general seem more determined than ever that their children will become consumers at an early age or, more fundamentally, become adult at an earlier age. Kids are starting school at a very early age, and they are marching toward adulthood at a much brisker pace than they used to and want more mature things to go with this accelerated growth.
This general trend must have motivated L’Oreal Central West Africa to Dazzle mummies and their daughters with a unique Beauty Pageant at Cally College, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos.  It was an event filled with sparks of beauty, glitz and glamour as parents and their female wards gathered to witness the grand finale of beauty pageant tagged Beautiful Beginnings: My Mum and I courtesy of L’Oreal Dark and Lovely beauty range of products. The activation which was a week-long workshop was designed to educate mothers and their lovely damsel on the importance hair maintenance was organized in commemoration of the children’s day.
After a keenly contested beauty pageant that involved 15 schools, Precious Olatunde, a student from Cally College emerged the overall winner and carted home the sum N200, 000, and a printer for her school. Also, the first runner-up, Islamiyah Ibuoye, a student from Bols School smiled home with 100,000, and a desk-top computer for her school. Also, Jemaimal Adegbe, a student from Frontliner School went home with the sum of 50, 000 and a scanner for her School.
Speaking at the historic beauty pageant, General Manager Consumer Products Division, L’Oreal Central West Africa, Sekou Coulibaly, stated that the ground breaking beauty pageant is in celebration children and their mothers. ‘‘Apart from the fact that the Dark and lovely beautiful beginnings focuses on children, we figured out that there has not really being much education made in Nigeria on maintaining children’s hair which is why we have created the maintenance week’’.
Some mothers and loyal patronisers of Dark and Lovely range of beauty products shared their various views about the initiative. Mrs Mercy Uchendu, a Road Safety Official established that the event has really been an eye-opening one. ‘‘Most parents like me have learnt a great deal from the workshop and today’s grand finale. I am very happy that this brand is thinking about us. I have learnt so much from this workshop that would have cost me money to learn such. Dark and Lovely has really mothers’ very fulfilled’’.
Commenting on the penchant of  brands using festive times like Children’s day to connect with Kids ,Olatunde Ademosun, Deputy Creative Director, Rosabel Says, the best way is for brands to cash in on Children’s day and other special days for kids like, birthdays, Christmas fun times , because brands should look beyond children’s day only.  “Brands need to use periods like this to position themselves. Some brands have even gone to the extent of giving children freebies and packaged good things for them. An example is what Milo is doing, creating an ambience for children to play and have fun at various locations of interest: cinemas, pools, playgrounds, etc. No serious brand playing in this segment should ignore a period like the Childrens’ Day celebration,” Ademosu stressed.
Source: BrandIQ