As screen time increased, Mattel tried to make it more productive for kids: Lokesh Kataria

In a fireside chat at the Pitch CMO Summit 2021, Kataria, Head of Marketing and Franchise – India, Mattel Toys, spoke about 'Building A Kids Brand In India'

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jun 1, 2021 4:56 PM

A lot has changed for the consumers and brands since the pandemic. With children spending more time on tablets and mobiles, the way they're being marketed to has also undergone changes. To expound more on the topic, Lokesh Kataria, Head of Marketing and Franchise – India, Mattel Toys, spoke to  Neeta Nair, Assistant Editor, IMPACT, about the topic 'Building A Kids Brand in India' at the PITCH CMO Summit 2021 Delhi edition. 

"It has been a big learning for us during the pandemic. Luckily, we were prepared. In the past three-four years, we've been stressing a lot about capturing kids' imagination on the digital platforms. I think that preparation came very handy to us, and it's not only us. Kids being confined within these four walls have been getting more and more screen time. Now how do you make that productive for them?

"While too much screen time is bad, how can I turn it into productive and valuable time? That's where we found this sweet balance. Making them engaged through videos, apps, games, and a lot of resources, and also getting them to learn how to develop their personality," explained Kataria. 

Since these days, kids are glued to screens, Kataria pointed out that the most prominent platform to communicate with them now is a mobile phone or a tablet in terms of hardware. "In terms of medium, YouTube and the consumption platforms related to videos are leading the edge. There is a need to create an ecosystem around it where everything is connected. So if a kid watches a YouTube video of a Barbie Color Reveal product and has to buy it, you need to link to an E-commerce platform."

He added: "When they're consuming the content, make kids curious. You need to tell them a story because the kid's imagination is much better than adults'. So tell them a story and connect the product with them. Give kids a couple of virtual simulations and then finally direct them to a platform where they can buy. So that's where I think it's not just one platform, but we're creating an ecosystem around all the platforms, combining them and giving them a wholesome experience," said Kataria. 

He also informed that the company focused has wholly shifted to digital. "For the past one year, we have been focusing 100% on digital, and there are reasons for it. Most of India's households are still one-TV household, and when there are more people in the house, they might not get a 100% chance to watch what they want.

"I'm not saying that the TV ratings are going down. But it's much more efficient, productive and beneficial for both consumers and the brand to connect on the medium of choice today, so that's why we are focusing all those energies on digital."

He also spoke about how Mattel is addressing the mental health of the kids. "To help boost mental wellness of kids, we at Mattel have an offering called 'Playrooms for Kids.' It helps them cope up with the stress that the current situation is causing them. We provide many resources for kids, parents, and caregivers online, on a neutral platform, any software in operating systems that's a platform for them to explore, find and choose things they would love to do."

While speaking about the importance of the kids influencer aspect, Kataria said, "We're trying to understand who the big kid influencers in India are. Indian's space in terms of kids influencers is in the nascent stage when compared to the west. We are trying to create an ecosystem of influencers in the country. India is still behind it, but we will get there. So yes, influencers are an important strategy within the digital marketing strategy for us because it doesn't give you an experience of selling the product but also gives you an understanding of holding and trying the product itself."

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