September 18th, 2012
Child's Play: Food Makers Hook Kids on Mobile Games
By ANTON TROIANOVSKI
Wall Street Journal
Like many children, 4-year-old Anna Woltjen pesters her mother during shopping trips for sweets and snacks. She has a fondness for all kinds of goodies but saves the hard sell for her favorite brands: Cookie Dough Bites, SuperPretzel and Icee frozen treats.
The New Jersey preschooler also asks for her mother’s iPhone to play some of her favorite games, including “Cookie Dough Bites Factory,” “SuperPretzel Factory” and “Icee Maker.”
U.S. food companies are reaching children by embedding their products in simple and enticing games for touch-screen phones and tablets. The new medium is far cheaper than Saturday morning TV commercials and could prove as effective.
The mobile games demonstrate how new technology is changing U.S. commerce, drawing tighter bonds between marketers and young consumers.
“The apps are certainly targeted at kids,” said Melinda Champion, vice president of marketing at J&J Snack Foods Corp. JJSF +0.09% in New Jersey, which makes SuperPretzel and Icee drinks. “If you get the kids saying, ‘Mom, I would love a SuperPretzel,’ mom will often buy it for them.”