Product Characteristics for Children

Product Characteristics for Children

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0993-6.ch008


At this point, we have discussed about a host of different dimensions and topics when it comes to marketing for children, ranging from the ethical issues, future anticipation, autobiographical memory, brand loyalty, to loving brand and product longevity. In this chapter, we will step back a bit by exploring more on the product side of the equation, particularly regarding the product characteristics for children. Specifically, we are going to discuss about the factors which differentiate products for children and the various dimensions of children product's characteristics. At the end of the chapter, we should be able to understand ways in which marketers can create products that have a deep impression in children's minds.
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The children’s world is a play world, which is full of joy and cheerfulness. Children’s products are made to support children’s development growth stage and their cheerful world. There are special characters that differentiate between products for children and those for adults. What differentiates products for kids with products used by adults? Take a look at Figure 1.

Figure 1.

Products for children


From Figure 1, several prominent characteristics stand out that differentiate products for kids and adults. These characteristics include colourful packaging, as well as the presence of a cartoon character like from the cartoon Bee Movie, Dora the Explorer, Bugs Bunny, Winnie the Pooh, among others. In addition, several products also include mascot cartoons as product icons. For instance, the character Paddle Lion for the product Walls ice cream, Taro Boy for the snack Taro, Chester Cheetah for the snack Cheetos, as well as Happy Meal characters (Ronald McDonald, Grimace, Hamburglar, Mayor McCheese, Big Mac, Birdie, and Captain Crook) for McDonald’s.

If you glance at the food and drink products along the supermarket aisles, you can easily differentiate which products are for children and adults. Children’s drink and snack product packages tend to be bright colours like yellow, green, red, blue, and orange. Moreover, the package colours are customized with the variation in taste offered. For example, a red package is used for a strawberry flavour, a yellowish-orange colour is used for an orange flavour, a green package is used for a melon flavour, and so on.

Can children choose and distinguish between products that are designed for them? Below is an illustrated excerpt that attempts to explain product preferences by children based on observations.


When Freyan Chooses Taro

Before getting into the car, Freyan (10), asks for permission from his mom who picks him up from his extracurricular course. While talking in a rather loud voice near the closed car window, this kid exclaims:

Mom, wait a minute. I want to buy Taro first! …

Then he trots off to a small grocery shop that is located across the street from where his mom’s car is parked to buy Taro. From inside the car, his mom notices her son asking the seller a question. After he is done asking, Freyan is seen holding and examining the ‘Taro’ that is hung on the rolling door intently. The way this child wants to make sure about the ‘Taro’ that he will buy is just like the young girl who is picking out clothes that are hung on a rack in a department store.

From Freyan’s body language, his mom knows that Freyan does not buy the ‘Taro’. Inside the car, Freyan’s mom asks him in an inquisitive tone, “Why didn’t you buy the Taro snack? Why?” In a hurried manner, Freyan explains that the snack hanging on the rolling door is actually not Taro. “The package is similar to Taro, Mom! But it isn’t Taro …”, “I don’t know that brand ...!”

This incident provides a marketing depiction. The characteristics of the Taro product successfully built a product perception and image for Freyan. From the story above, he was initially fooled by the package colour and picture layout on the package that resembled a Taro package. However, after looking at it more closely, Freyan was able to identify that the snack was not Taro. The uniqueness of the Taro characteristics through its packaging, font choices, and Taro Boy mascot cartoon figure make the Taro product difficult to be imitated by its competitors. In other words, the uniqueness of the Taro product characteristics creates a product differentiation that ultimately lets it come out on top compared with its competitors.


The Definition Of A Product Characteristic

What are product characteristics? These are special or specific aspects of a product that are different from its competitors and can be offered to the market to fulfil customer needs or desires (Kotler & Keller, 2006; Brown, 1998). In short, every product certainly has unique and different characteristics.

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