Indian media and advertisers are well aware of pester power and the various attempts to explore it. However, bringing science into the concept and taking an in-depth look at the 4-14 age group and the role it plays as consumer hasn’t really been undertaken in India so far. The situation stands changed now as Walt Disney India and GroupM partner to produce ‘KidSense’, a study on emerging consumers in India.
KidSense is a strategic step from Disney and GroupM and germinates from the belief that while it is known that the 4-14 age group cannot be generalised as one group any more, there is a need to understand how the segments created within this TG can be understood better. The objective is to analyse the emerging patterns and the effect that these have on key decisions – whether in regard to media or brands.
Both partners – Rajat Jain, MD, Walt Disney Company (India) and Ashutosh Srivastava, CEO, GroupM, India and South Asia – are clear that this was a study meant to be a reference point for the industry and aimed at giving the media and marketing fraternity key insights that could help them drive their brand better using the ‘little people’ TG.
Jain added that this was one of the first steps that the media major had taken in this direction. He said, “You will see much more coming from us, and not necessarily all on the format of research only – you will see more events, forums and other such initiatives.”
KidSense has been designed as a two-part study – quantitative and qualitative. For the former, the other partner roped in is Indica Research Practices and Consulting, and Third Eye for the latter.
How Kids Think?
Through the qualitative data, Third Eye has attempted to answer the question ‘How kids think?’, and Third Eye’s Jasmeet established that not only did the sub-segments of the 4-14 think completely different from each other, but they also played a different kind of a role as influencers.
Jasmeet explained that this TG was on the same planet, but operated in different worlds. Breaking the TG further, she pointed out three distinct groups that finally emerged. These were ‘Toothager’ (4-5 years old), ‘Toonager’ (6-9 years old) and ‘Tweenager’ (10-12 years old). The study covered the 4-14 years old and their mothers, teachers, and kid experts spread across six markets – Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Baroda, Madurai and Lucknow.
She explained that the city mix was taken to get a better feel of kids across India than being caught in only a metro-phenomenon. Kids’ experts included sociologists, psychologists, paediatrician, psychologist, NGOs, and experts who conduct theatre groups / activity classes. The sample of this study was around 80 groups and represented across SEC ABC.
Beginning with Toothagers, some of the points that come across in the study included that repetition was of importance to them. Favourites were borne out of familiarity and played a key role in the products they wanted. She said, “Jingles are becoming the new nursery rhyme, they want to see the same show again and again, same ads and promos again and again.”
The key distinction of this TG was that it lived in one world, which they created and where anything could happen. “They literally play God,” said Jasmeet. While substitution is the mother’s solace for this TG, by the time they come to the next group, it is negotiation. The next set, ‘Toonagers’, mark the crossover. This TG moves easily between the real world and their world. “Merchandising plays a key role here,” said Jasmeet, adding, “It helps them to convert real world into their world. It is easy for them to adopt someone’s identity. They start getting the sense of relativity and hence, there is them and there is another.”
Socialisation begins with this TG. The ‘bench mate’ and the ‘best friend’ come into existence. Toonagers don’t want the same thing as was the case with the Toothagers, they want something better than them or people they know have. This is the TG, which doesn’t say ‘I want to be like Superman’, they say, ‘I am Superman’.
The birth of identity comes with Tweenagers. This band wants to have a leader, aspires to be someone. Indian kids in this segment today don’t necessarily have any one icon, they want the best of the best. A key point that Jasmeet pointed here was that in the present scene, a Tweenager behaved very closely to a teenager. She suggested that the reason for this could be many beginning with increased media exposure to growing standards of living, but the bottomline was that traits of a certain age were shrinking and it would be no surprise if they shrunk even further.
Next: Quantitative aspects.