[author: Catlan McCurdy]
Everyone who has children, or has been around them knows that even at a very young age, kids develop favorites. Usually it’s a favorite stuffed animal, a favorite outfit, or a favorite food. In my case, it was a favorite superstition, where I believed that by wearing black and white striped knee socks and tennis shoes to bed, I could avoid being bitten by snakes. Go ahead and laugh, but I was never bitten by a snake in bed, so I’ll leave it up to you to question the effectiveness of my methods.
As for brand favorites, or even brand identification, I assumed that children didn’t know much beyond McDonalds. Of course, this generalization excludes the wunderkind Suri Cruise, who at six months could distinguish between Manolo Blahnik and Louboutin.
If you, like me, made the same assumption about children and trademarks, prepare to have your mind blown by a five year old:
Click here for video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=N4t3-__3MA0
Some of the marks, the little girl recognizes right away either by the name of the company or by the goods/services associated with the mark. Disney is Disney and McDonalds is McDonalds, but Starbucks means coffee and BP means gas.
Identifying one company logo with an entire industry could mean a variety of things for her. She could live in an area that has a heavy concentration of Starbucks and BP. Or her family always chooses Starbucks for coffee and BP for gas. This could also mean that when in Starbucks, family members only purchase coffee, and when they are at BP, they only buy gas. In contrast, Apple is the Apple store logo. The mark does not signify one specific good to her as it does with Starbucks and BP.
My favorites were the brand identifications intermixed with personal experiences. GE is GE, but also the place where her grandpa works and Pepsi is “the pop from the pizza place.” Even at five, this kid has figured out that restaurants serve Pepsi or Coke, and the “pizza place” definitely is a Pepsi establishment.
Of course, I could be completely over analyzing and extrapolating the meaning of the video far beyond the father’s intention, but five year olds are still consumers with ideas as to what logos mean and brand favorites. Does Google Chrome care that its logo looks like a beach ball? Who knows. Do panda bears actually live in the woods? I guess that depends on how you define a bamboo forest. But now I’m starting to think that the Olympic rings really do look like baby toys...