Who can forget Saturday mornings as a kid? Getting up early (sometimes before mom and dad), rushing into the kitchen, making a bowl of the most sugary cereal in the pantry, and heading to the living room to turn on the television. This was what most of us lived for as kids – Saturday morning cartoons like Dexter’s Laboratory, The Magic School Bus, Pokemon, Recess, Animaniacs, and many more. You could argue that the closest we came as children to having a “zen” moment was during this act of slowly waking up to animated explosions and antics.
And while you most likely didn’t realize it at the time, those mornings were also your first experience with advertisements targeted and tailored specifically for you.
That bowl of cereal. Those comfy pajamas. Even the cartoon you’re watching. You may not have had anything in your wallet, or even owned a wallet, but marketers and advertising agencies recognized the buying power that you represented.
Saturday morning cartoons were the crown jewel for advertising toys and other products made for children. Perhaps the last place where an entire audience could be near-universally reached through a single medium. But stop us if you’ve heard this one before: marketing has changed in and increasingly digital age. How are today’s advertisers replacing the Saturday morning cartoon commercial? In one recent Washington Post article, apparently through Snapchat, Youtube Kids, and other mobile apps.
According to the article, nearly half of 10-to 12-year-olds have their own mobile phone. But once they reach their teen years, that number jumps to 95%.
Because children now have their own personal screens – whether they be phones or tablets – they use them to seek out their specific wants and needs, making it easier for marketers to target them with their advertising. Some argue that collecting this data from children should be a cause of concern for parents. Advocacy groups say that children can’t comprehend why they’re seeing specific ads, and how.
But, with users’ ability to skip advertisements, it should be noted that there’s no guarantee that target audiences will see a commercial or advertisement – in fact, often times the only ads that users will actually see or engage with are those for brands/products they already have interest in or want more information on. So while marketers continue to explore new means of engaging their target market, apps like Snapchat continue to gain interest as a means for increasing overall brand recognition while engaging those who are genuinely interested in their products. In 2017 alone, usage increased by an extra 130 million hours spent on Snapchat during the back-to-school season, connecting with brands through new filters and sponsored snaps.
It might not seem to you that these mediums and medias are as “zen” as the Saturday morning cartoons, but the reality is that they mean just as much to today’s generation as Cocoa Puffs and Rugrats meant to us.