Magazine article Marketing

Ads Miss Point on Family Focus

Magazine article Marketing

Ads Miss Point on Family Focus

Article excerpt

Pester power is a catchy little phrase, which neatly sums up the debate about the morality of advertising to children.

But if a new piece of research into family life in the 90s is to be believed, when it comes to describing the realities of modern-day family consumption, the phrase is positively misleading. And it can result in advertising which completely fails to meet its targets.

The report, "The Family Bites Back", by Publicis, sets out to analyse the shape and structure of modern families and sheds new light on how best to address this increasingly beleaguered group.

"The trouble is," says Publicis planning director Michael Ellyatt. "Pester power implies the authoritarian structure of the nuclear family which no longer really exists."

His report shows that although the nuclear family has been under attack recently, with increasing divorce rates, violent children, and increasing numbers of single parent families, the family is far from dead.

He suggests that a better description of the modern family unit would be "the nebular family".

"They are much more independent of each other, and they relate in a much more democratic way," he says.

"In society as a whole, authority has been debunked and respect must be earned. The family is no exception to that trend," he explains.

As a result, all family members are now much more involved in the choice of products -- especially foods and snacks, but also holidays and consumer durables such as cars. "Polling power is a more accurate description than 'Pester power'," comments Ellyatt.

This has important implications for marketing and advertising. …

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