Amy Henry Announced as a Speaker at the Digital Kids Summit

Posted by Amy Henry on Tue, Jul 23, 2013 @ 02:45 PM

digital kids summitAmy Henry, Vice President Youth Insights, will be presenting, “Understanding App Value from Parent’s Perspective” at this year’s Digital Kids Summit. The summit, the must-attend event for brand owners, entertainment and media executives, marketers, producers, digital media directors and licensing professionals seeking to engage children online and on digital devices, will take place on September 19 in San Francisco.

During this presentation Henry reveals what parents of preschoolers through tweens see as “value” in the apps they allow their children to use. She’ll also explore the role kids play on the influence of app purchases. Along the way, Henry will bash some myths and unveil the new truths about parents’ relationship to apps today.

To attend the conference there are multiple registration options: go to Digital Kids Summit or Digital Kids Edu  for more information on both events as well as possible multi-even registration discounts.

View the Digital Kids Summit Speakers page to learn more.

Tags: Education, youth research, digital drugs, culture

Creating An A-Peeling Kid/Tween Promotion

Posted by Amy Henry on Wed, Jul 17, 2013 @ 11:09 AM

While Despicable Me 2, which topped the box office for the past two weekends might be benefitting from family-movie-friendly weather across much of the country, we would be remiss if we ignored the true pull and power of the film: enter the Minions.Chiquit Banana

These golden-hued mischief-makers made a big impact on kids and tweens after the original film; with their silly speak, funny shapes and sizes and relatable role as “minions” (what kid doesn’t feel like a servant to an all powerful adult at least some of the time?).

So it’s no surprise that Despicable Me 2 earned over $250 million in promotional partnerships before the film’s release, just prior to Independence Day. Predictably, there’s a collection of cute Happy Meal Minions. Cheetos is running a “One-In-A-Minion” sweepstakes, and put Minions in a special edition of Cheetos “Mix-Ups.” Honey Nut Cheerios and Lucky Charms has gone old, school, offering a literal “prize inside” the box.

But the promotion that stands out to us comes from an unexpected source: Chiquita Banana. From our perspective, this might be the perfect partnership for kids. Here’s what we think brands can learn from Chiquita’s strategy and execution:

  1. Keep it simple!  Minions love bananas. This simple truth, told to viewers in the movie, makes infinite sense to (and we say this with affection) LITERAL kids! They are yellow. They look kind of like bananas. Therefore they love them. So they chose this URL: www.minionslovebananas.com. When it comes to kids promotions, don’t overthink it. Keep it simple, and kids will understand.
  2. Play AGAINST type. Bananas don’t exactly have a rebellious rap. They’re one of kids’ first foods. They’re easy eating. They don’t require utensils. And, of course, simple sweets like bananas get squeezed out as favorite snacks as kids turn to tweens, and certainly to teens. BUT, Minions bring a bit of edge to the bunch. Bananas have always had a humorous halo, and Chiquita reminds us that bananas can be as fun as they are fulfilling. So when choosing your promotional partner, don’t just consider what “fits” – think about your partner as a pathway to the place you’d really like to be.
  3. Own it. When it comes to kid and tween promotions, simply being associated with the right partner can be helpful. But Chiquita shows that promotions that matter make the most of any brand/partner association. Other brands include the Minions; Chiquita makes it hard not to think about bananas when you think of these little guys. Granted, Chiquita has a unique advantage in that they only have to own “bananas” – not differentiate themselves among a formidable category competitor. But Chiquita seems to claim these characters in a way that other Despicable Me 2 promotional partners have not.
  4. Package it. While all of the Despicable Me 2 partners include Minion imagery on their offerings, Chiquita takes the best advantage of the little bit of real estate they have. The brand went big, placing more than a half billion Despicable Me 2 stickers on the front of these fruits. The variation gives kids a chance to literally pick their favorite, and makes a healthy option even more a-peeling for moms.
  5. Follow-through. Chiquita’s site offers games, kid recipes and even a chance to win a trip to Hawaii – all great ways to extend the life of this association online. But the games on the site – “Minion Memory” and a “Minion Maker” feel younger than the presumed target for this promotion (which, remember, involves a PG –rated film). The site lets you vote for your favorite Minion model, which includes a Minion wearing a hula skirt. These Hawaiian themes Minions win among voters in almost every case, yet the “Minion Maker” doesn’t give you options to create a luau-looking Minion. And finally, the kid recipes don’t connect to the Minions theme – a missed opportunity for both kids and tweens, as well as for moms. To take advantage of a strong strategy, make sure your execution matches developmental level with look and feel and game play with age group.

Have you seen a smart strategic partnership in the past year? Tell us about it!

Tags: advertisment, food, movie, youth media

Kids, Tweens, Teens On-the-Field Talking-Trash

Posted by Amy Henry on Wed, Jul 03, 2013 @ 09:23 AM

200225711 001Sports might be one of our favorite topics at YouthBeat – we’ve written about the Olympics and sportsmanship, soccer and head-related injuries, LeBron James and loyalty (from kids’ perspective) and more. We’ve also written about the state of sportsmanship in a blog on winning and on discussions of Silent Saturdays (a designated day in which soccer parents and coaches are asked to keep quiet on the sidelines) , the shifting role of the sports dad in conference presentations and in our YearBook. So, naturally, we felt compelled to weigh in on New Jersey’s recent decision to treat teens’ on-the-field trash-talking as a Civil Rights violation.

The new rules enforced by the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association and the State’s Attorney General require that “obscene gestures, profanity or unduly provocative language or action toward officials, opponents, or spectators” be reported to the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights. The rules fall under New Jersey’s Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act and make it clear that the Act extends not only to locations outside of school (as originally stipulated) but specifically to the fields and courts where high school athletes play.

While educators and coaches will likely debate about how to enforce this Act, it’s likely that another debate will soon surface: whether a ban on trash-talking shows consistency and sensitivity or an over-regulating of children’s lives. Put another way, is “handling” trash-talking something that marks a mature athlete (i.e., one who can block out distracting fans or competitors’ chatter) or is on-field harassment as dangerous and damaging as a vicious Facebook campaign or a taunt in the school hallways?

In full disclosure, I should reveal having partaken in some trash-talking in my day. Some of my most bitter rivals from my soccer playing days were both the subjects of my in-game goads, and, years later, bridesmaids in my wedding! A few are neighbors whose kids play with my kids on the playground. For all of us, trash-talking was part of the game and it was easily forgiven after the fact.

But for today’s youth, bullying isn’t something that they’re permitted to accept as being part of childhood. Today’s youth know that words can be weapons, and weapons whose cuts can last. So it seems increasingly difficult to identify places where verbal punches should be seen as permissible. And while adult athlete might temporarily cringe at the sanitizing of sports in this way, it’s hard to argue that respecting others should stop once you walk on to the place where, for those same athletes, the goal is to be one’s best self.

Tags: Education, bullying, Sports, free time, school