Parenting Tips from Coca-Cola: A Marketing Strategy to Help You Raise Your Child.

The figures are mind-boggling:

  • Coca-Cola sells 1.9 billion bottles per day.

  • On average, over 10,000 soft drinks from Coca-Cola are consumed globally every second of every day.

  • After “OK,” “Coca-Cola” is the second most-known phrase in the world.

And yet,

In a blind taste test, Pepsi significantly outperformed Coke.

Why? Coke spends an average of $4 billion a year on advertising. They use every opportunity, from billboards to TV ads, to remind us why we love Coke (even if our taste buds prefer the competition).

While children generally learn best by example, there are many tools that parents can utilize to teach their children. One, which I have coined M4P, stands for Marketing for Parents and also reminds parents to convey values, skills, or directives to their children in at least four different ways. The beauty is that, while the examples may change, the premise remains the same from toddler to teenager and beyond.

Let me explain by way of an example.

Encouraging brushing of teeth:

1.       BILLBOARDS AND PROMOTION CAMPAIGNS: Place a fun sticker chart in the bathroom – that includes interesting facts about teeth and the importance of brushing teeth. Every time your child brushes their teeth, they get a sticker – and a reward at the end of a significant milestone.

2.       PRODUCT PLACEMENT: If your child spends time with grandparents, cousins, or the like, ask them to keep handy mini pre-pasted toothbrushes and use them after meals. Let them also offer them to your child so they can join them when they brush their teeth.   

3.       CONSUMER GENERATED: Next time your child is at the dentist, ask your dentist questions about the importance of toothbrushing without giving your child any knowing glances.  

4.       WORD OF MOUTH: If your child is nearby after you brush your teeth, you can say, “My mouth feels so fresh and clean (or as Coke’s 2016 slogan ran: taste the feeling!).”

Those are just four examples, but there are many others. You can read books to your child (print advertising) or share an online video with them (TV advertising). The point, however, is not to get fixated on using specific advertising or marketing tools but rather to use as many opportunities and techniques as necessary to encourage toothbrushing. For example: teach through play with toys; set a timer; educate with fun books; show and tell with a toothbrush; let children pick their own toothbrush (turn it into a fun outing!); make a game out of brushing teeth; and above all, remember to give constant praise and reinforcement.

Like any marketing campaign that takes time to penetrate the target markets, this one requires time and commitment. However, promoting values and skills rather than relying only on instructions is an effective strategy for teaching them to your child without getting into a power struggle. Next time you feel you are at a loss, take a leaf out of Coke’s marketing strategy; after all, it’s Real Magic.

At The Thrive Group, located in Lakewood, Passaic, and Brooklyn, we work with you to develop a personalized therapeutic plan for your child and teen based on their unique challenges, personalities, and needs. To schedule an initial free call with Miriam (Manela) Frankel, OTR/L CTC, the director of The Thrive Group, visit or call/ text 973-602-7744. 

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