Pester Power Marketing


Pester power marketing is a subset of youth marketing where the marketers make use of the ‘Pester Power’ or the ‘Nag Factor’ to target small kids in order to persuade their parents to buy whatever these tiny tots demand for.

It is a way of creating customer lifetime value where marketers sow the seed of loyalty into children so that when they grow up, the marketers can increase their market share of the future either by making use of Nostalgia Marketing or simply by retaining their customers.

For instance, Kum & Go’s Chief Marketing Officer, Kevin Krause, conducted a campaign in 2010 to give away a free soccer ball along with the purchase of two 12-pack of Coca Cola and two Powerade beverages, with a notion in mind that kids will want to have the soccer ball and thus will persuade their parents to get the combo offer. This campaign increased the sales of Coca Cola by 18% and Powerade by 52%.

This is the only reason why colorful packaged snacks and cookies are kept in supermarkets at the eyelevel of the children. The ‘Kidfluence’ or the power to let their parents buy something for them is the key marketing strategies of food chains like McDonald’s and Dominoes. It has been reported that 9 nagging sessions can be the reason for the parents giving in requests of the children.

How to create an effective Pester Power?

Children get more attracted to products than a brand, thus, the product itself should be made in such a way keeping these young ones in mind that it should be catchy and attractive. Children also get influenced by avatars like Harry Potter, Pokemon, Barbie, etc. Thus, attaching a role model to your product is the best way to keep attracting your target audience. Marketers also make use of catchy tunes to attract the children’s attention and these catchy tunes and role models are remembered by the child throughout its life, thus, giving a way to nostalgia marketing and building up customer lifetime value.

Pester Power has become even more popular and powerful with the rise of nucleated families where both the parents are working and not able to spend enough time with their children. Therefore, to compensate that time parents tend to easily fall into ‘Kidfluence’ and buy the products that their children want. This also provided children with huge spending power on behalf of their parents.

The cycle of pester power can be as follows:
Pester Power Marketing, Customer Lifetime Value, Know your customer, Scale your customer

Pester Power is not just limited to the nag-factor, it can originate from peer pressure, embarrassments or high expectations as well. If a child starts to throw tantrums in the middle of the supermarket in front of everyone staring at you then saying direct ‘No’ as a parent is not a resort. To avoid these embarrassing situations the parents usually give in to the wants of their child.

Therefore, it has become extremely important in today’s scenario that to win over the actual buyers, the businesses does not only have to advertise their products/services to the customers, i.e., the parents, but also indirectly market it to the consumers, i.e., the children as well, to level up their game of brand promotions and to build up a customer base of larger customer lifetime value.

Harnessing Pester Power Marketing F&B business

Taking the example of how McDonald’s was able to earn the Pester Power award at the Children’s Food Awards by a jury of 800 parents for its marketing campaign of Happy Meal to children. McDonald’s packs all the factors of effective pester power in a box, i.e., yummy burgers and food items as their main product, along with interesting role models in the form of toys that they watch on television, like minion, potato head, etc. Along with the product the packaging is also done for the purpose of attracting kids and a catchy tune of ‘I’m lovin it’.

We have all seen the power of pestering in a traditional marketing scenario. But now we are living in an era of a digitized world which has its own different kind of tech savvy children. In order to cater to these tiny tots to make them our permanent customers till future as well, the businesses must think from today’s point of view, as to what today’s kids like to do and how we can advertise to them. The businesses, especially the marketers must think of the content that kids consume and the games that they play these days and from which medium as well.

Common Sense Media’s 2019 reports, suggested that average 8-12 year old kids watch TV for more than 4 hours a day. Whereas YouTube and other online video platforms are becoming kid’s favorite source to watch any sort of content and about 76% of 8-12 year kids make use of these websites.

So the answer is quite clear that the food brands can easily promote themselves by intertwining their products with famous cartoon characters on these platforms. For example, advertising a slushy with Elsa from Frozen, or advertising a spinach sandwich with Popoye.

The food brands can also promote themselves by collaborating with baby influencers on these websites, like with the baby chef Kobe, or with the Stauffer family, which will definitely make the kids want the products that they have or they promote.

Another way in which brands can promote themselves is by the use of CGI avatars, where they can make their own burgers, or any food items into cartoon characters and intertwine it with a cool story, catchy tunes and flashy packaging which will definitely attract kids. And if not a story then the brands can also tell about the company through rhymes and these CGI avatars. These avatars will also give way to market their products in the future through nostalgia marketing.

Supposedly, a new kid customer enters into your restaurant. He sees the bright set up of the restaurant according to his taste and gets excited about it. On the table you have a colorful and visually appealing manual of how the kid can use there app in order to get free toys and then they see that toy in a showcase with an advertisement saying ‘It can be yours’ then the kid would definitely nag his parents to give him the phone and order according to the manual in order to avail the free gift or he will tell his parents to do so. Here the kid becomes the decision maker and conducts the entire ordering.

If the kid’s experience is a delighted one then he would always want to come back again to the restaurant and pester his parents to do so as well.
As the kid will grow up it will become his habit to visit the particular restaurant and he will do so with his friends as well. If the restaurant is also able to provide a delighted experience to his friends then there we have it. The restaurant acquired new customers while retaining the older ones!

The grown up kid even after having his own family would like to bring his children to the same restaurant and thus the restaurant would be effectively able to increase its customer lifetime value along with scaling its business from the same customer.

Utilizing the power of Gaming in Pester Power Marketing

According to an article published by Centre on Media and Child Health:

  • 66% of kids aged between 8-12 years play games for 2 hours per day
  • 56% of teens play games for 2.5 hours per day
  • Young children from 3-8 years of age play games for about 40 minutes per day

Since, the entire kid’s population are stuck to gaming, therefore, it becomes even easier to target them through games.

If you have a game in your app, then the usage time of your app by the kids will increase, and as they play they will earn rewards which they can redeem to buy the items they like from the app, which will increase the in-app purchases.

Furthermore, we can send Push-notifications reminders to the phone so that the kids are able to know when they can get what they want. In order to drive sales and increase the store visits we can make use of Gamification.

Gamification will help the businesses to use the Pester Power more effectively as when the kids will see on the app that they are just a visit away to earn that admired toy they will nag their parents to take them to the store.

Puck’s campaign “Saving the Cows” helped them to lift their revenues by 7% in the key market of Saudi Arabia by making use of Gamification technique in their game “Saving the Cows” where they amplified the reach and engagement by running snapchat ads where they asked the kids to swipe up to unlock the next level of the game. This game was available to only those who bought the Puck’s product through Snapcode.