Targeting moms and kids

Updated: Mar 31 2009, 06:19am hrs
There is a saying among marketers that in tough times, whatever merchandise consumers are still buying is purchased in this order: first, for the children; then for mom; next, for the pets; and finally, for dad.

That may be why advertisers selling products aimed at children and mothers seem to be staying the course or, in some instances, expanding efforts meant to maintain or increase market share. For example, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, sold by Campbell Soup Co, recently teamed up with the Cartoon Network cable channel, part of Time Warner, for a National Recess Week promotion, centered on encouraging school-age children to be more active.

Motts apple juice and apple sauce, sold by the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, are returning to television advertising after a 10-year absence in a campaign intended to convince mothers that those products are a good source of the fruit their children ought to eat daily. The campaign, by Laird & Partners in New York, features the actress Marcia Cross, a mother in real life who is also among the mothers of Wisteria Lane on the ABC series Desperate Housewives. The Penney deal covers a variety of media outlets, in what is known as a cross-platform advertising sales package. The agreement, centered on the popular Hannah Montana series on the Disney Channel, also includes Disney Online, Radio Disney and FamilyFun magazine.

A campaign also involves Disney units such as the consumer products division; the Walt Disney Studios unit, for Hannah Montana the Movie, to be released April 10; and Walt Disney Records.

The State Farm deal is focused on the Disney Channel and one of its stars, Selena Gomez, from the series Wizards of Waverly Place. The agreement, intended to help encourage safe driving among teenagers, also includes a section of the State Farm website (statefarm.com/teendriving) and the Disney Channel website (disneychannel.com).

We feel its important in this climate to not have a bunker mentality, to be out there showing new things to our customers, said Clark McNaught, senior vice- president and general merchandise manager for the childrens division at Penney in Plano, Texas.

NY Times / Stuart Elliott