Report – Competing for Time

Posted on: Thursday 05 July 2018 1:12am


  • The panel discussed challenges facing brands, emerging voice recognition technologies and the importance and influence of the younger generation and their characteristics.


Emma Worrollo, founder of The Pineapple Lounge, began the session highlighting that companies do not just compete with each other, but are now competing for the time and engagement of the new generation of children. Making up approximately a quarter of the population, this is an audience who have an unprecedented amount of access to commercial experiences.

Where the older generations tend to think in a more linear way, younger generations move with more fluidity between different technologies and brands. Emma briefly explained the different generational groups and how the generation hierarchy has shifted, helping to create new roles wherein the parent and child behaviours therefore also shift. The need to keep an eye on generation Alpha is evident, as is a first look at how are they being parented. The only constant is change and identifying the need for new strategies to adopt to these changes.

Emma talked about how The Pineapple Lounge has identified three developments:

  • Sensory memory making, where companies tap into sense. Creating screen and visual advertising/products stimulating other senses, through scent e.g. The Museum of Ice Cream.
  • Purposed product innovation e.g. Fenty (brand by Rihanna) creating colours of different skin tones to promote diversity.
  • Merging adult and child worlds, to see an increase in adult spaces being made more child-friendly as families want to do things together.

Ian Harkin, CEO and Co-Founder of Lottie Dolls discussed the importance of user empowerment when building a brand. In identifying how social media has been a big driver to get reach for the company, he also discussed how research has shown that ‘doll play’ has historically resulted in body issues for children as well as an aspirational tendencies in adulthood. Lottie Dolls therefore aim to focus on childhood and what children do in their lives. Creating a partnership with Toy Like Me, they created a very niche doll with a cochlea implant. By not highlighting this explicitly on their packaging but including information inside, the doll teaches children about people with different abilities, helping to normalise this.

Ian went on to talk about how the dolls empower kids to think about what they can achieve at their current age. Designing their dolls on the typical proportion of a 9-year-old child for both Lottie and Finn dolls is crucial. Additionally, through identifying the changes in toy aisles and the pink/blue divide, they highlight how the stereotypically male side of the aisles still involves aggression and play,  whereas the stereotypically female side of the aisle has princesses and fantasy.

James Poulter, Head of Emerging Platforms and Partnership at Lego Group, explained how he is constantly thinking about what is coming up in the future. It is important to place yourself in the mindset of a younger user, to know what their experience is, and of course, you need to know their expectations. He spoke about the emergence of the voice platform with smart speakers within homes in both the UK and US. Duplo on Amazon Alexa encourages children to listen and build at the same time. Voice recognition is the next major disruption as children learn to speak first before swiping etc. It is noted that a revolution of audio content is happening, particularly with podcasts becoming more mainstream. Sounds of a brand, jingles and character are all important, with algorithms of Amazon Alexa picking certain brands.


Written by Samantha Walker.

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