Kid-Wrangling: Marketing for Whippersnappers

Because I have a rich and fulfilling social life, I was waiting in line to see Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (Oh, Justin Long, the things I do for you), and I couldn’t help but notice all of the little tiny creatures running around. They seemed like humans, but they were yelling a lot and kicking and leaking from every orifice. Little Jimmy saw Little Susie with Sour Patch Kids, thought they looked delicious, and one temper tantrum later, had them – remarkable! If I weren’t trying to stay out of flailing-arm-and-leg range, I would be studying these fascinating little con artists much more closely.

Say whatever you want about lack of discipline or coddling parents, but those tactics worked (and sometimes last long into adulthood – see also: Keeping Up With the Kardashians). I realized then, standing in line and anticipating the digitally altered voice of my future husband, that children were powerful little machines. Get a desire in their head and forget about derailing the tantrum train until that desire is fulfilled.

Your job as savvy marketing types? Exploit the hell out of it.

Giving promotional products to little kids produces one of three results:

1)  They eat it. Can’t really help your company with that one, but they’re kids, so what did you expect?

2)  They love it and actually shut up for five minutes in the backseat. Their parents instantly fall in love with you and sign up for your services, buy your products, and acquire stock in your company.

3)  They love it and annoy their parents to get more.

Other than number one, you’re in pretty good shape if you get to the parents via their tots.

Here’s a list of affordable (most expensive one is under $5 even when it’s not on sale) promo products for those miniature marketing geniuses.

Nutty Putty

We called it Silly Putty when we were kids, but it’s basically the same stuff. Available for about a dollar and with 7 cool colors to pick from, the personalized Nutty Putty is a good, relatively nondestructive item to give to kids who are past the sticking-everything-in-their-mouth phase (see also: Keeping Up With the Kardashians). The putty – in my vast experience sticking it all over my office – does not leave a residue when kept clean and not left smashed into a surface for an extended period of time.

Light Up Yo Yo

Every year, my grandma still puts together stockings for all of the grandchildren, packed with candy and little toys. The prize item every year? Yo-yos. Nothing gets my 20-year-old brother and twin cousins into the Christmas spirit like jacking each other with yo-yos (in between bouts of using it properly, of course). Although we have hundreds of different yo-yos to choose from, my personal favorite is the custom Light-Up Yo Yo.

Notebook Mate School Kit

Someday, those little snotrags will have real jobs and stick us in a retirement home. We should do our best to make sure they’re educated before we get senile, so my next pick – the personalized Notebook Mate School Kit – is the educational portion of this list. Academic organizations and parent-teacher groups love using these for fundraising; a local business donating a whole set of these custom desk sets for students could go a long way to getting your name in the right hands.

Youth T-shirt

It’s Quality Logo Products, so of COURSE we’re going to mention personalized t-shirts. We carry tons of infant, toddler, and youth apparel, so you can get the little ones started early (without worry about child labor laws). Occasionally, kids can have moments of calm in which they pass for adorable, and suckers like my grandma will end up cooing at them in a supermarket line in front of the totally hot cashier that was – until a moment ago – checking me out. Not that I’m bitter. Anyway, my grandma (and others) will get great brand exposure with the generous imprint area that custom t-shirts afford. These Fruit of the Loom 50/50 blends come in at least 18 bold colors and plenty of sizes at an awesome price.

Ninja Stress Ball

I saved my personal favorite for last: the custom Ninja Stress Ball. Again, you know QLP is the leader when it comes to stress balls. Being able to bring the best prices and service to our customers is not enough; we wanted to provide promotional products that you won’t find anywhere else. QLP exclusives do not get more awesome than the custom Ninja Stress Ball. Available in black and blue, you can stealthily sneak your way into homes all over the world via tykes that want to learn the ancient ways of beaning younger siblings with something relatively soft that won’t get them into trouble. You want ammunition? Personalized stress balls like this one are the way to go when you’re catering to kids.

So what do you say, kiddos? Are you horribly offended that I seem to be less than patient with tiny humans? Do you have any good stories about harnessing their powers to suit your own needs? Can you believe I got away with that second Kardashians joke? Sound off in the comments below!

Until next time, keep expanding your brand!


Jana Quinn

An old ‘G’ that’s been working for QLP since it was in Bret’s basement – Jana has been writing since she made up a story about a Jana-Tiger that liked rocky road ice cream and got straight A’s. She enjoys writing about marketing and pop culture, posting a ‘Die Hard’ article as often as she’s allowed. She is inspired by the articles at Cracked and frequently wears a Snuggie in the office. You can also connect with Jana on Google+.

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