Marketing to kids is important. They're decision makers and influencers on a whole host of purchases. Historically, marketers have targeting them through 30 second spots on Saturday mornings, when TV was dedicated to cartoons. Lots has changed. Kids of today don't behave the way kids of 10 years ago did. They're more likely to be on the Internet than watching broadcast television. Some kids think of the TV set as a "Video Game Monitor". Okay, none of this is new to any of us. Interactive and video gaming advertising have been the main places to turn when targeting the elusive kids market, but we think there's a big one missing.
Go to a house where a couple of preteen and teens live and check out the behavior when there's a physical piece of mail for them. Something interesting. It's a completely foreign medium to this age group. Direct mail does and can break through more than interactive, TV, or most other channels simply because it is so uncluttered and in some ways new.
We decided to test this. We went to the home of a friend a recent Saturday morning and rousted their 10 and 13 year old boys out of bed. We brought them down stairs to the kitchen table where they found a laptop online and ready to be surfed, the TV controller with the TV close by and a couple of direct mail packages addressed to them. We said "go to it boys", but you're not eating breakfast until you finish the god damn experiment. They seemed a bit scared to be honest, but quickly got in the spirit of things. The first thing that drew their attention and the first thing they were interested in engaging in was the direct mail, by far. They were so intrigued and in awe of this thing known as mail which didn't come to them digitally or through an eMail account. They seemed to not be aware that there was this little organization called the US Postal Service which periodically sent out packages and letters. They asked, "Why would anyone send out a message like that". It was amazing. They didn't even think in terms of letters but rather "messages". Strange new world.
I think the sugar water salesman, fast food joints and other pagan organizations better jump through this open window before it gets slammed shut. Heck, maybe even the tobacco companies can send a couple of cigarettes to young targets to get their hooks in them early.