Brands invade schools!

Today’s front page news in the Economic Times on brands giving price off on shoes and back packs and even iPads for use in schools and colleges sounds both interesting and alarming. On the face of it giving discounts for clothing and other personal effects needed for school sounds fine but under question right now is the intention. The ET story quotes several child experts who think that ‘hooking’ kids this early on branded goods is likely to increase what they call the pester power of children,. leading no doubt to expensive purchases which may or may not be affordable for parents. We know that kids can and do impact brand choice and engagement with this group has become central to strategy for many brands. Are there any moral issues here? Marketing experts do not see any short to medium advantage in this strategy. Some of the more responsible brands see this as crass and not something they consider expressive of true social responsibility. This is a stance worthy of respect and endorsement. Brands that make food and other items for kids have in many cases voluntarily taken the ethical route of NOT targeting children in their brand communication. Manipulating social values is an accusation made against marketers off and on, raising the anti consumerism pitch to new levels. Psychologists and sociologists have been co-opted into helping brands target children more effectively. And the jury is still out on whether this is right or wrong.

What do you think?


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