A good friend of mine asked my opinion on an app that he and his wife are developing. They are creative designers and academics. Therefore it came as no surprise that the app was aesthetically pleasing and educationally focused...but there was no addictive quality to it. There was nothing cute or fun or silly about it. After learning that his target market was 2-5yr olds (and their parents), I remembered something my 3yr old daughter taught me:
It's much more fun to make and take pretend phone calls from a fresh banana than it is from an old cell phone.
When marketing to children, it's imperative to remember two things:
First - Children want to have fun.
Second- They want to do things All-By-Them-Selves.
If you wrap up something good, healthy or educational in that...it's as good as sold.
When things are too "high-brow" or only "mentally healthy", it's on a shelf that is within a parent's sight-line but too high for a child to see. When it's all "silliness and cartoons" it's on the bottom shelf and only within easy reach of a toddler. The trick is to get the product or service placed right in the middle so that both audiences can see the value.
At the end of the day we, as parents, are often willing to indulge the desires of our children...so long as they aren't unhealthy or dangerous, we'll allow it.
I think a distinct "fun factor" woven into their brand equity...and thus all of their apps wouldn't mean they would be abandoning their reputation for serious childhood development...It would result, more, in a brand that holds a certain..."creative monotony" like the "TOCA" apps. Each one predictable but fun and unique. Beyond enticing to today's demanding children... and if masking some formative developmental process or educational exercise, likely to serve parents in a similar fashion as melted cheese on broccoli.