March 27, 2008

Marketing to Kids Is it right?

hockey2.jpegCryptic as that may sound I am referring to a report in the New York times about a new venture,, which is creating a social networking site for youth sports which is expected to start in mid-April. It is aspiring to be like Facebook for youth athletes, parents and coaches — a vast audience. The value proposition or soft sell on is that young athletes will be able to set up a profile, post pictures, communicate with friends and share videos of games. Of course the coaches and parents are included. Coaches will able to communicate with their players and parents and parents will be able to get practice schedules, coordinate car pools and find out which equipment to purchase.

Youth sports are huge. It involves parents a huge audience and the 52 million children who participated in organized children’s sports leagues. (National Council of Youth Sports.) It’s a massive audience into which to project brands and products- but is it right? Check out how teens think at Marketing Vox – they are vulnerable

Remember that Madison Avenue has for eons used professional sports teams as a way to promote and market brands products and services. What followed was the push to sell brands and services to the college level and then high schools with Takkle, a social-networking site for high school athletes which are partially owned by Sports Illustrated.

Now with the “WePlay” model , Madison Avenue and advertisers will have the chance to present brands and products to even younger and younger audiences and thats not the end of it.

Potentially as Rick Heitzmann, managing director at Pequot Ventures, the venture arm of Pequot Capital Management has been reported to say “There’s no reason to believe that the organizing principles that are applied here ( to sports can’t be applied elsewhere, such as to religious organizations,”

Everything is going commercial Play and Prey. Is that a good thing???????

My vote is no.



  1. I do not think it is a good thing however these days it seems the power of money is bigger and sometimes too often more important than the wellbeing of our kids.

    Comment by Emma — March 27, 2008 @ 11:58 pm

  2. Thanks for the comment Emma I agree with you that big money is a challenge and is very powerful and often loses sight of what is right. Fortunately the consumer has the power in their hands. I am a senior executive in marketing and advertising and I have seen what happens when the consumer turns agains a product or service. Its a amazing how quickly corporations come to their senses. After all the power we give to corporations and brands is money and if they dont make money they quickly change. 🙂
    PS I have great faith in the power of social media. I hope a debate about marketing to children will take place.

    Comment by trontr — March 28, 2008 @ 9:07 am

  3. Take a toy away from a child, and you will often see a catastrophic meltdown. Kids are in the delicate process of developing an “egoic” sense of self.

    They have recently equated a limited series of letters in the alphabet as their name/identity. They often identify “things” as an extension of their sense of self. (hence the meltdown and the hunger for more, more)

    It is tragic when so much emphasis is put on acquisitions.
    It is equally tragic when their sense of self is defined by friends family, society, culture and advertisers.

    my vote is no.

    footnote. I remember a stepdaughter hating a handcrafted Barbie doll house that her father had labored over for months, because it was not vacu formed pink plastic. comments please….w

    Comment by Heather — March 28, 2008 @ 7:44 pm

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