Targeting Adults & Kids in Ads

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Case Studies - Ad Campaigns targeted to Adults and Children

Three case studies of ad campaigns that target both adults and children include How Brands Can Capitalize on Kid Influencers, Fast Food Advertising with Top Instagrammers, and Nike's Marketing Strategy: How the Global Giant Reaches Millions with YouTube Influencers.


Our first step was to look for pre-compiled case studies that explore ad campaigns targeting both adults and children, but we did not find any such pre-compiled case studies. We had defined children as under the age of 12 years. We looked at sources including Time, Mediakix, NPR, and Axios but the sources did not provide relevant information. Instead, we found cases relating to children only, teens only, adults only or children and their parents (not adults in general).

We then decided to search for research/academic papers with case studies about ad campaigns targeting both adults and children. We found sources such as Journal of Mass Communication and Journalism, The Food Foundation, International Journal of Advertising, Revista Latina de Comunicación Social (RLCS), Media Studies among others. However, these sources provided information about restrictions on ads for children, online advertising for children, advertising at POS for children and targeting children of color, none of which fits directly with the research criteria.

Our third step was to expand the scope to include parents as adults and children to include teenagers since we were unable to find research with adults in general and children specifically under 12 as the target for ad campaigns. We were able to find case studies, but some include videos rather than pictures. We decided to add them as well.


This case study highlights the use of kid influencers to grab the attention of both children and adults in ads. Social media also plays a role in making this a success since it has and is becoming more and more acceptable to be used by children/adolescents. Some companies that have been benefiting from the use of kid influencers are Target, Band-Aid, and CoverGirl with YouTube and Instagram being the most popular means of advertising with kid influencers. Target, in particular, has used kid influencers like Loren Gray, Nia Sioux, and Jacob Martin.

In this case study by Mediakix Team, several photos are used that depict youth, cuteness, spunk, entertainment, and enjoyment. The first two pictures have kids dressed casually, smiling and having fun. In one picture it's an individual (a young child—possibly age 6), while the other is a group of kids sitting around. The third picture depicts a teenage girl dressed casually with a design of lips on her shirt, with her lips pursed similarly and has a caption of her making the shirt in class. The fourth picture (from YouTube) shows a little boy surrounded by many toys of which he is giving reviews. The fifth picture has twin girls playing with a globe, smiling while looking at and pointing at the globe in an educational setting—probably doing their homework. The sixth picture depicts a little boy having mutant powers and entitled "The Gifted," while the seventh picture has two little girls (maybe sisters) standing together (sharing the same space) and drinking milk in their kitchen while laughing.

The reason for the emotional appeal is that kid influencers are likable and relatable for both kids and their parents. The aim is to ensure that whoever is being used for advertising will be liked, and this ensures that the product being advertised gets the same benefit; something traditional advertisers are yet to pull-off. These ads are suitable because they aren't childish even though the models are, in fact, kids. They exude confidence, fun, happiness, entertainment, and even education, all of which parents would be interested in having for their kids as well.


This case study focuses on how Instagram-influencers, micro-influencers, Instagram trick shot artists all contribute to ad campaigns directed at both adults and children. The leading fast-food chains of focus in this case study are McDonald's, and Burger King. The picture displayed is that of a sumptuous looking burger, perfectly plated with golden buns, and juicy burger patty decorated with red onions and green vegetables which could be lettuce; not to mention the background lighting which is welcoming.

The case speaks of McDonald's utilizing the service of celebrities as well as micro-influencers to gain traction. It has had singer Cierra Ramirez advertise for it in a television show as well, which would expand the reach and recognition of the brand.
There is a video done for Burger King which depicts a woman catching cheesy tater tots in her mouth which would grab the attention of kids, possibly more than adults. However, the idea of meeting up with friends to eat after playing would also capture adults' notice. In the video, it is clear that the women are having fun and that they enjoy eating cheesy tater tots at Burger King. It's almost like a secret between them of how good it is, which is relatable to how adults and children may feel about having/enjoying food with friends, which strikes an emotional appeal.

An ad of a succulent burger and a playful manner of eating cheesy tater tots would seize the attention of both children and adults because it speaks to taste, quality and enjoyment; especially when shared with a friend.


This case is about Nike's use of YouTube influencers to gain traction for its products. They tend to use professional sports players and YouTubers like Dan and Lincoln Markham. The company focuses on timing as part of its strategy, especially as it relates to launching a new product, to gain new customer engagement. To advertise Nike's CR7 Mercurial soccer cleats, Harry Shaw who has 11.8 million YouTube followers made a video of him, his brother and Cristiano Ronaldo playing soccer, with the content being similar to his usual soccer trick shot. Nike used both its brand ambassador and an influencer in its marketing strategy to gain the attention of both adults and children who may even see Ronaldo or Shaw as role models (all in Nike gears). They are both very well liked as is known by Shaw's subscribers and Ronaldo being the world's most famous athlete.

Nike also used Megan Batoon to advertise its product although she is not an athlete but rather, a dancer, YouTuber, and actress. In the video, she went to train for a marathon wearing Nike gears. She encouraged viewers who are both adults and children that they can do things even if they doubt themselves, like running. In this case, this may prompt them to purchase Nike products and attempt similar events as well.

The strategies used here are likely to draw the attention of all adults and children who are fans of Ronaldo especially, Shaw and Batoon. These videos display fun in achieving a goal, entertainment, comfort, confidence and good self-esteem which are important to adults and children. The videos are likable and relatable and empower both males and females. It appears as if Nike specifically targeted male children and adults with the football video and female children and adults with the running footage of an actress who is not an athlete.