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Three Of Five Parents Involve Kids In Car-Buying Decisions, Study Page 2

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

3)    Style - Parents, who are as conscious of style as anyone else, are increasingly turning to their kids as arbiters of what constitutes great style. “For example, we’re seeing dramatic increases in the frequency with which a mother will take her 12-year-old daughter with her clothes shopping, not for her daughter’s clothes, but for her clothes, with the intent of getting the daughter’s opinion of what’s cool and what she’ll look good in. And that’s applying to other categories as well.”

4)    Guilt – Parents are increasingly not as present in their kids’ lives because they have to work two jobs, quite often. “The parents can’t be present the way they were 20 and 30 years ago. As our economic pressures increase, our time with our children decreases.  We feel a sense of guilt that comes from that and tend to give our children more power in the decision-making.”

Automakers can do a better job

There’s no doubt that automakers can sharpen up their marketing to families since, in conversations with The Family Room, automakers pretty much said that while they’re interested in families, their management hasn’t gotten their arms around this area yet.

“To a lot of people, the families are kind of viewed as stodgy, the backwater of marketing, nothing very exciting happens in families,” said Carey. “Where all the action is today is with the adults and boomers and [especially] teens. That’s where the trends emerge and the things that are driving cultural change come from.”

As a consequence, there’s very little “unabashed family marketing” development in automotive. When you see a print ad or TV commercial or a billboard, it does not look it was written with a family in mind.

Think about the potential market. There are 130 million Americans who are part of a family living in a household with a child under the age of 15.

Carey mentioned one automaker, Toyota, which had “a really nice effort”, in their “Swagger Wagon” commercial, touting the Sierra minivan. Other than that example, Carey sees very little evidence of the automotive industry getting inside the needs of families and creating solutions that work for the entire family.

Who knows? Maybe we’ll soon see car commercials more geared toward this all-important demographic. In the meantime, check out the official Toyota “Swagger Wagon” music video of the 2011 Sienna SE in the YouTube clip below.

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