SYDNEY: Too many advertisers in the Asia Pacific region are underestimating the influence that children can exert on the purchasing decisions of their parents, a leading strategic planner has argued.

David Webb, director of research and planning for Asia Pacific at Turner Media, told AdNews that the full spending power of children is not being appreciated.

This is partly because of the sums they accumulate each year through pocket money, but mostly because there has been a steady increase in the amount of TV programming that they watch with their parents.

This "TV co-viewing" offers opportunities for advertisers, he said, because it enables them to reach "adult eyeballs in a non-traditional place", and movies and cartoons are the genres driving this trend.

He pointed to a recent study conducted for Cartoon Network, a Turner Media brand, which found a full 90% of children influence family decisions about weekend activities.

Another 91% influence purchase decisions for books and clothes, while 86% influence what is bought for Father's Day, and Australian children have a potential A$1.8bn a year at their disposal from their pocket money.

"They [children] have a huge influence over what's bought for their mothers and fathers and some advertisers don't necessarily think that kids have that level of influence," he said.

"When we've done research previously to clients, you can do lots of stats and give them a lot of charts, but when you have a genuine family sitting around talking about it, it really brings it home to them," he added, in reference to a series of vox pop videos Cartoon Network has created to promote its case.

Webb said banks in the region have been quick to recognise the influence children can bring to bear, but suggested the idea has not become mainstream because many media planners don't have a family themselves.

“A lot of media planners are younger and don't necessarily have a family. It's difficult for them to connect with that, and they're looking purely at the numbers rather than the dynamic," he said.

Data sourced from AdNews; additional content by Warc staff