Pester Purchase – Is it ethical?


A couple of days ago I came across an ad in about a mobile hardware provider featuring an upcoming tablet. Now it is safe to assume that gadgets of such sort appeal more to the adults but then what do I see in the ad – a child meddling with an education app and a gaming app ! I wonder now how many kids would’ve seen this and stubbornly wanted their parents to get one tabs?!

Now the question arises about who is the decision maker in today’s world – Children ? Parents ? – I feel children; and marketers are fully aware of this. In fact, a lot of campaigns target children more than the parents! They also know that kids pay attention to ads while watching TV. An advertising firm found that between 20 and 40 per cent of purchases of food, movies and games wouldn’t have occurred unless a child pestered an adult.

History has witnessed numerous occasions of repositioning, launching of sub-brands and so on just to get in the eye of the child. Kellogg’s, after its initial failure came up with distributing free samples in schools and launched chocos in India to get notices by children and that contributed to the comeback of the cereal breakfast giant in a big way. Similarly the increasing interest among kids towards toiletries and cosmetics has led to a new product segment that is targeted at children like L’Oréal Kids. Raymond had a keen interest in kids wear market worth around Rs 27, 000 crore and launched a completely new set of retail stores under the branding of Zapp! Remember Calcium Sandoz and its cute puppy figured bottle? Well even they communicated through various means to have the tablets daily and targeted children. There are again hundreds of instances where marketers leveraged and continue to do so on pester power to get their way.

But is all this pester purchase ethical? Well it’s a question of survival and marketers are leaving no stone unturned in penetrating the markets. On one hand it’s a question of survival and on the other hand you have the concerns of lakhs of parents and the pressure on the income earners wallet!

To put it in simple words, if i see though a marketers eyes , he would tell you – “ well I like your child more than you do since he makes you buy my products!’ – and that my friend is far from being ethical!- Your thoughts…


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