Designing for Kids has Adult Sales Appeal

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I’ve never been much of a parade person. Not that I have anything against parades, but they’ve just never held my interest. However, this year has been different. And, it had a lot to do with how the parade was designed. Our town, probably like many others, was experiencing a dwindling parade population. In thinking about how to solve the problem, parade organizers designed a creative parade experience with kid appeal.

First, they invited the town’s little leagues to march in the parade. Second, the little leaguers tossed candy into the crowds. While some little leaguers aimed candy towards their siblings, others were happy to throw the furthest, throw to the loudest fans, or throw to unsuspecting parade goers. What a great way to engage attendees and to workout to those future-baseball arms. Lastly, little league families were invited for a free ice cream social after the parade!

Designing the parade with kids in mind had great adult “sales” appeal as well. Some of my learning from this experience included:

  • When your kids are invited to march in the parade, your entire family is more likely to attend the parade
  • Giving the marchers an activity, like throwing candy, is fun and helps pass the time
  • Siblings enjoyed watching the parade go by, spotting family members, and catching candy
  • Happy kids = happy parents!

For me, this year’s parade experience has changed my perspective. Our town did a great job of changing my mind by changing how I feel. By incorporating my son into the parade and making the parade fun for his brother, it put a smile on my face. So, each year as the weather gets warmer, and the parades become more plentiful, I look forward to Memorial Day parades, July 4th parades, and so on…

And, if you think designing for kids just pertains to parades, think again. Look no further than the cereal aisle, toy store, or video games for the explosive potential in designing for kids. The next time you pass by a product geared towards kids, think about how marketers might be subliminally (or not so subliminally) talking to parents with packaging, advertising and emotional appeal.


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