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Thursday, November 19, 1998 Published at 12:54 GMT


Pester power rules

Researchers test new toys in schools

As competition hots up in the Christmas toy market, some companies are going to increasing lengths to tap into children's ability to persuade their parents into buying them what they want.

The BBC's Denise Mahoney: Pester power is big business
Children are now so skilled at "pester power" that its use results in a purchase in two-thirds of cases, according to some market researchers.

[ image: Oh please Mum]
Oh please Mum
As one parent explains: "They ask for something. You say no.

"But you know all their friends have got it and everybody in the neighbourhood's playing with it.

"Your child's the only one without it. How can you resist that?"

A growing recognition of this force is leading more and more firms to conclude that a way to a parent's wallet is through their children's nagging.

Watch Denise Mahoney's report
In an effort to harness pester power to their advantage, some are now going into junior and primary schools to quiz youngsters about their likes and dislikes.

One market research agency has even resorted to reading children's diaries in the search for clues about what might be the next big thing and how it could best be advertised.

[ image: Toy shops see children as the way to parents' wallets]
Toy shops see children as the way to parents' wallets
Debbie Simmons of Marketing Store Worldwide, regularly visits schools to ask potential consumers for their views on what new products they would like to see on the shelves.

"Pester power is important," she says. "Children are pretty brand conscious these days so we must make sure we buy into that and give the children what they want."

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