3 Ways Marketing to Kids Ethically is Good Business

Adhering to ethical marketing standards when selling kids’ products can help your company stand out from competitors. Learn from PBS how ethical marketing can improve your reputation and bottom line.

With a flood of kids products and brands in the market, your company may be wondering how to stand out from the crowd. Taking special care to market kids products in an ethical manner can set your company apart from other brands by earning the trust of parents and caregivers.

Ethical marketing can improve brand perception, which ultimately leads to brand favorability and potential revenue growth. In this article, we’ll explore three ways ethical marketing can improve your reputation and bottom line:

Parents prefer softer brand messages over hard commercial messages when viewing ads for kids products

Parents are concerned about the amount of commercial messaging their kids are exposed to, and don’t want to see products being advertised to kids in an inappropriate way. According to a 2023 Kantar survey,  65% of parents have a negative opinion of companies that try to hard-sell their products to their children.* As a result, brands should focus on non-promotional, value-neutral messaging in their advertising and avoid showing images of products in their ad that may influence a child’s desires. This soft-sell approach will resonate better with parents and caregivers because it reinforces the values they care about most— keeping their children safe and healthy and free of commercial influence.

Parents prefer their children watch content in an uncluttered environment

Sixty-five percent of parents are “concerned about the amount of television advertising directed at their children” and they are aware of how much time their children spend on digital devices.* They want their kids’ exposure to ads to be limited – too much can cause negative associations with the brand. This can be achieved by partnering with organizations like PBS, whose KIDS programs limit the number of sponsor messages allowed per program in each of their series, significantly cutting back on the commercial clutter kids are exposed to.

Improved brand perception translates to purchase power

Ensuring that your brand is taking steps to ethically market kids products, will positively improve your brand perception. Targeting your sponsor message to the adult co-watching content with their child — and not the child directly  —  will earn parents’ respect, trust and, ultimately, business. Eighty-five percent of parents say “when my child is watching PBS KIDS I will watch with them” and because of PBS KIDS’s brand-safe environment, parents have a more positive perception of PBS KIDS sponsors.* In fact, parents are 30% more likely to buy a product for their child/children if they hear about it from a sponsor on PBS KIDS as opposed to hearing it from an advertiser on commercial kids video (TV & Streaming).*

There is both reputational and monetary value in ethical marketing to parents. If you’re ready to get started, here are three items to think about when marketing your kids product:

  • Target the adult viewer in advertising messages, not the child
  • Seek out an uncluttered environment for your ads (on linear, digital and streaming networks)
  • Prioritize brand messaging over commercial messaging 

Interested in taking advantage of the brand lift that comes from advertising on PBS KIDS? Learn how you can become a national corporate sponsor with our large library of renowned PBS KIDS shows: Contact Us

*Source: Kantar | SGPTV,  US Video Audience Insights 2023


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