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The minefield of marketing to children online (part 1)

By 20th June 2013November 7th, 2014Digital Marketing

Online marketing to kids is becoming more difficult with new rules, regulation and guidance appearing from various concerned groups with various agendas. Some are looking to combat the growing case of obesity, some are worried that children are being taken advantage of and others about the pester power effect of advertising.

On the other side of the fence you have the kids food and products manufacturers who have some excellent items that they need to make kids aware of but without breaking the rules. These manufacturers need to show that they are marketing their products and creating demand before the retailers will give them shelf space. No retailer want to give coveted and limited shelf space to a product that no-one has heard of or wishes to buy.

So let’s take a look at some of the Do’s and Dont’s when it comes to marketing to children:


  • Firstly be aware of their age and lack of experience, kids can be vulnerable and easily led
  • Make everything super clear, what is the product, size, description and performance, what is included and what is not.
  • Include parents and adults in your marketing especially if the product is complex or costly ensure that kids are aware that they need parental approval
  • Market the right products to the right aged children in other words don’t sell 12 year old kids a bottle of fizzy alcohol
  • Ensure that marketing communications are clearly distinguishable from news or editorial content
  • Privacy and adequate data protection are ensured


  • Don’t make a direct appeal the kids to buy the advertised product, its OK to show off its features but don’t tell them to “Buy Now!”
  • Don’t go for the pester power either by telling them to ask their parents for it or attempt to undermine their parents authority.
  • Don’t hint in any way that the child will not be cool or unpopular if they don’t have your product
  • Don’t undermine positive social behaviours, lifestyles or atitudes
  • Don’t use ambiguous language such as “only £89.99” kids don’t always understand the worth of money

In other words ensure that at all stages you are involved in ethical marketing as this will not only be beneficial to the kids but to your brand and the industry as a whole which is in dire need of a shift in perception.

Create transparent child friendly campaigns that are designed to target your young consumer effectively without compromising any rules, regulations or morals.

In Part 2 of “The minefield of marketing to children onlinewe will discuss the collation of personal data.