from Dave Lawrence, planning director, Logistix

Sir; Gary Leih’s article on selling to kids (The Saturday Essay, The Grocer, November 12, p28) had many salient and interesting points about engaging children via ‘cool’ communications. But it’s dangerous to generalise ‘kids’ as a homogenous consumer group when their behaviour is so dependent on age.
As children grow up, it’s true that influences on their purchasing behaviour change and friends become more influential.
But it’s critical that family brands remain sensitive to the varying nature of that influence and the ever-changing dynamic between child and parental gatekeeper.
I question the assertion that “peer-to-peer communication is the key” to success, since this applies mainly to older children and teenagers.
In this era of responsible family marketing, the role of parents needs to be amplified to ensure that any brand dialogue with families is constructive and positive. Communication does not merely need to avoid alienating parents; it should actively embrace them, while still engaging and empowering the children.
As family brands fall increasingly under the spotlight of the media, lobby groups and politicians, it’s vital that brand owners fully understand the true family dynamics of purchase in order to develop sensitive yet commercially successful forms of brand dialogue.