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Five mantras to make kids’ media brands a digital hit

29-August-2012
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Five mantras to make kids’ media brands a digital hit

Although India is still in a nascent stage when it comes to customising content and advertising on digital and mobile, today brands across categories are using it as an imperative media option in their communication plans. One of the most interesting brand categories that is experimenting on this medium is the kids’ vertical.

The virtual world is today considered to the most attention-pulling medium. Considering this, potential kids’ media brands have used digital and mobile platforms not only for engagement but also for educating. Here is a quick look at how some of the kids’ media brands are leveraging their communication plans on the digital platform and what do they look forward from this click-away medium.

Treat social media as a virtual playground
Let’s imagine all social media platforms are a massive playground and all the millions of users are running around inside of it, climbing on things, playing games and exchanging conversation. Now imagine there’s an adult watching over the kids, keeping an eye over their every move, making notes of their behavior, what games they are playing, what they are talking about and with whom. The adult represents big companies and brands, and kids are the general public and users of social media platforms.

One increasingly hears of and sees a new Facebook games or competition that a brand has implemented on its Facebook page to gain more likes or mentions from potential new fans. Facebook has become very popular and is probably going to become more prevalent and more creative.

Cartoon Network recently created a ‘Game Creator’ on Facebook. In this game, kids could create their own characters, settings, challenges, etc. and which was then available for other kids to play as well. This gave kids a sense of being a part of the toon world they admire and be the superhero they aspire to be like.

Going forward, Turner also has plans to set up a separate channel for Cartoon Network and POGO on YouTube to create digital content that has a viral appeal.

‘Giveaways’ are a must
One of the most successful ways to get kids talking about your brand is to give stuff away. When it comes to kids, it can’t be complicated – no codes, no SMSes, no waiting lines; the recent Disney’s Jet Set Go campaign asked kids to just give a missed call on a number whenever they saw the animated aircraft flying across their television screens. A winner was declared everyday and the momentum continued for 30 days, extended to four more days on the basis of response. The campaign saw parents and kids coming together in a bid to make it to Disneyland. Nickelodeon too hosted opportunities during Father’s day and Mother’s day through which kids could win gift vouchers for their parents to make the occasions fun and memorable.

Amar Chitra Katha Media, an entertainment and education company, is one of the first players in the print industry to have tapped kids as their target audiences in India that used ‘giveaways’ as a readership tactic right from the early . This unique ‘start-up’ has acquired some of India’s most-loved brands including Amar Chitra Katha, Tinkle Magazine, well-known proprietary characters such as Suppandi and a world-class animation and gaming studio. They are now developing a portfolio of products that will use innovative technology and India-centric content on the digital space. ACK Media also early this year announced the launch of its comic book on Tenzing Norgay as an iPad App. Developed internally, the digital comics from the group are also available on the Amazon Kindle store.

Content should be ‘Tooned’
According to Dhawal Katkar, Director, Marketing and PR, Turner, “The aim is to treat the digital space as a platform for interactive and engaging content creation that complements the on-air strategy rather than just a medium for passive advertising. Thus, kids can interact with our brands and characters in a manner that is fun for them – be it via games, trivia, videos, etc., and at the same time, we achieve our aim of improving recall and affinity for kids’ brands.”

As a part of this year’s Friendship day celebrations, Nickelodeon and Sonic rolled out an interactive campaign wherein kids had spot where toons pops up on the screen giving a hilarious friendship quote. The lucky ones who sent in the correct name of the toon had a chance to win exciting prizes such as PSPs, Keymon Ache, DVDs and Blackberry phones. The gateway to this contest was the channels digital and mobile platforms.

Play safe
“When targeting children, the most important factor is to provide content that is not only fun to consume but also safe. Kids are very impressionable and hence, we ensure that none of our games or applications promote violence, bad manners or other antisocial behaviours. Since kids have short attention spans, it is essential to constantly create new and innovative content that captivates them, evokes brain teasers, while ensuring that they have a good time,” said Katkar.

A lot of players are looking at educating values and responsibilities through their digital initiatives. For example, Nickelodeon designed a special application on Facebook that allowed users to send an e-rakhi to their brothers and sisters. Users could wish their siblings online through a virtual rakhi and bring a smile on their face by sending them some sweet messages as well.

The future looks fun
According to the Cartoon Network New Generation 2011 today, 23 per cent of kids viewership comes from digital homes as against 12 per cent in 2010, due to change in universe updation. About 48 per cent of kids are computer users with eight per cent having access to internet at home. Although these figures may not seem substantial, they have almost quadrupled in this year. In such a scenario, kids’ media brands are wisely creating content that kids demand anytime anywhere.

Commenting on digital opportunities for kids’ brands, Nina Elavia Jaipuria, EVP and GM, Sonic and Nickelodeon India said, “One should understand that today we have a plethora of options in the digital world, which is ever evolving. The thought process that one has to keep in mind is that kids’ brands should be evolving. One needs to also keep a check on the pulse of what kids are looking for constantly. Once that is in place, mapping their area of interest becomes easy to understand and fun to communicate back to them.”

Turner will launch 15 mobile games by the end of this year and already has successful partnerships with DTH providers such as Tata Sky for unique ‘fun to learn’ specials. It is also looking forward to establish its presence in the tablet market that is growing exponentially in India. Nickelodeon and Sonic have already seen successful hits in mobile games; taking this forward they are aiming to launch 220 games by the end of this year.

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