Class, welcome to Toddler Marketing 101. I’m so glad you’ve elected to take this course, and I can say with some confidence that you will find the information we will cover this semester invaluable within the next 10 to 15 years. In fact, I would go so far as to recommend you hold onto your notes. While other marketing positions require someone to actually hire you, Toddler Marketing only requires one night of unfettered passion to become a survival skill more valuable than making fire.
As I’m sure most of you learned in fifth-grade science, the name of the Tyrannosaurus Rex is derived from the Greek words meaning “tyrant” and “lizard” and the Latin word for “king.” While that was probably the same year you learned that Pluto was a planet, this information is actually still correct. Now, a lesser known piece of trivia is the origin of the word toddler. The name is from the Greek word meaning “tiny” and the Latin word meaning “tyrant,” and there has rarely been a more accurate name for anything that roams the earth. Personally, I’d rather meet a hungry T-Rex than a toddler on the warpath.
Today, I’d like to start with one of the most basic things you will need to know to survive the toddler years: getting a two-year-old to eat something other than string cheese and chicken nuggets with ketchup.
To reach the two-year-old demographic, it all comes back to marketing, and I want to cover four different types today.
- Scarcity Marketing: The premise of scarcity marketing is that the availability of a product is limited, therefore, in demand; the diamond industry has relied on this type of marketing for years. If you can convince the toddler that there is only “a little bit left” or “this is special and I wouldn’t just give it to anybody,” the likelihood of food consumption increases considerably.
- Celebrity endorsement: When applied skillfully, celebrity endorsements can be a very effective tool. For example, your child does not like green beans, but he does love Peter Rabbit. “Peter Rabbit likes green beans,” can be just the ticket you need to get the green beans into the toddler’s mouth. Or, a personal favorite, “Did you know there’s honey in this? Winnie the Pooh likes honey. Do you want to try some?”
- Bribery: Bribery is a fairly simple concept, an exchange of x number of bites for one episode of the inane cartoon you have already watched 18 times that day. Much like car shopping, it is imperative you NOT show an overwhelming interest in whether or not the child actually consumes the food. This can sabotage your chances of getting the preferred outcome, and at the very least will raise the price by at least one Paw Patrol episode. A caution, recent studies have shown that an overapplication of bribery can lead to “tiny little hellions who want what they want because they want it.” Use this method with discretion.
- Outright Lies: Studies have shown that if a child is young enough (or particularly gullible), this is one of the most effective types of marketing. For example, the bite of leftover mystery casserole sitting on your child’s fork is no longer a questionable meal when you rename it “a cookie!” The spinach quiche you are trying to force him to eat is instantly more appealing when referred to as “egg pie.”
These are just a few of the marketing strategies used to convince cantankerous toddlers to eat. Next class, we’ll be covering “best comebacks to being called a poopy-head,” so make sure to complete the assigned reading!