Babies are a gold mine.

I’m sure that’s not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the many descriptive words for babies, but it couldn’t be truer. There are a few people in our office who are expecting in the coming months, which has spurred some discussion on the costs associated with having one of these cute little…things.

We work hard to budget and make sacrifices in our lives to get ahead…but put a baby in front of us, and we seem to forget what saving is.

The baby market. It’s not something you even think about until you have a child of your own. It has been discovered that parents spend on average 60 billion dollars in spite of a global shrinking birthrate, so it’s a topic to take interest in, especially for marketers.

So when did all of this happen? It’s become a commodity market. Companies research preferences that future parents are willing to pay more for. The first franchise to take advantage of this market was Star Wars, back in the 80s. Sesame Street and Nickelodeon soon followed suit, realizing there is an abundance of money to be made by marketing to children.

Why is this market so profitable? Dan Cook, a sociologist and author of The Commodification of childhood claims that the rise in child marketing came to fruition when mothers began returning to the workforce instead of staying at home, and the guilt associated with doing so.

Parenthood has changed substantially over the past decade. Dads are becoming more involved than ever, and the needs of parents evolve – as should the products marketed to them…however, at the end of the day, a lot of the stuff on the market is overpriced junk.

The Otter Tube – for when you want to leave your child unattended in the bath…?

baby-market

The Poop alarm:

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…Really?

And the Ipad potty trainer – incase your toddler needs to use the ipad while doing their business.

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Onto the marketing and film industry, one of the largest baby films to date is Look Who’s talking. The budget to produce the movie was a mere 7.5 million, filmed in just under 2 months…and brought in a gross of 297 million at the box office. The movie also made 90 million in rentals alone. (Times truly have changed)

Another notable brand is Gerber – They were one of the original brands to really build their brand and marketing around babies. In their ads from the past and a more recent one, you can tell how Gerber understands the importance of connecting emotionally with parents.

But it’s not just baby brands that are getting in on the action – Evian and BETC Paris launched a Baby and Me campaign in 2011 that includes a surfing themed commercial that went global, and North American ads starring Gigi Hadid. The campaign uses the traditional Evian tag line “Live young”, as babies are a strong symbol of youth, and that’s a huge part of Evian’s brand.

Check out the creative below:

evian_live_young_5 evian_lisette_ambre evian-manbaby-600-40511

Babies definitely make for an interesting market. But are large baby brands serving parents or using the predisposition to provide the best care to your child as a tool? I suppose it depends how you look at it. At the end of the day, parents are going to want what’s best for their child, whether that means saving money and going with a no name brand, or splurging on the higher-end products.

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