Type-2 Diabetes is more common in children than ever before thanks to a society that serves up a steady diet of fast food and junk food advertising. According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), “Food marketing intentionally targets children who are too young to distinguish advertising from truth and induces them to eat high-calorie, low-nutrient (but highly profitable) “junk” foods; companies succeed so well in this effort that business-as-usual cannot be allowed to continue.”
As a fitness expert, I’m acutely aware of how nutrition fuels the mind, body and spirit, and I feel that Health Nutrition Marketers are doing children a service by combating these messages with a healthy alternative. Traditional advertising can be manipulative and inappropriate for young children, but I think healthy food and beverage marketing is responsible marketing when education is the main goal.
With that said, here are some ways that your Health Nutrition brand can reach out and help educate a younger market by speaking their language:
These days, even children as young as 7 have cell phones for safety and entertainment. Hopefully, these phones are monitored by a responsible adult who can and will block or opt out of inappropriate text messages. Under that assumption, I think it is perfectly fine to send message ads, memos and coupons via text to remind kids about healthy eating habits. For instance, you could send a link to a YouTube video (See this cute preschool rap video for inspiration http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mdQgvGrhwU) that is sponsored by your Health Nutrition brand. Then follow up with a coupon for a FREE (kids don’t have money!) sample.
Get them Talking
Kids talk, text and tweet all the time. Are they talking about brands? Probably, as in, “I just had too much McD’s for lunch. Now, I feel like I’m gonna hurl.” These sorts of statements can be positive, too. So, how can you get them talking about your brand? Here’s an idea. Share some news about your brand that will get them excited, like the fact that you’ll be at the mall all afternoon giving away a free sample. If you can, find out the types of kids (maybe student athletes) that would be good “brand sirens” for a new product and target them through social media platforms, instant messaging, and blogs.
Back to YouTube. Short video of your product are a great way to get the buzz out, make the messaging fun and entertain kids in a way they will want to share on all of their social media platforms. The key is to be funny, lighthearted, and NOT an advertisement. Remember how I talked about educational advertising being more responsible? This would be a great place to apply that. I imagine something like School House Rock for a new generation.
Marketing with interactive games works very well for snack, beverage, and other “impulse” food products. You can incorporate your brand into the storylines of popular games by using simple software. It will enable you to respond to a player’s actions in real time and to change, add, or update advertising messages to tailor them appeal to a particular individual.
Remember just because you’re a Health Nutrition brand doesn’t mean your advertising has to be boring. Be clever to connect, and be sure to leave a positive takeaway that’s about more than your bottom line.
For tips on how to leverage your health nutrition brand as a healthy choice for consumers:
Jessica is a competitive athlete and the President of Energize HNM, a health and nutrition marketing agency. Jessica is committed to supporting health brands of every size by helping them define their missions and connect with their customers on a deeper, more meaningful level.