From Lego Nexo Knight to My Little Pony: Compiling Birthday Wish Lists in Order to Explore Five- to Seven-Year-Old Children’s Brand Knowledge and Relationships with Brands

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The present study investigates children’s brand knowledge and their relationships with brands. As previous research has focused mainly on children who are eight years old and older, the present study focuses on children in the preoperational stage between five and seven years old. Extending a frequently used method to investigate a child’s brand awareness, I compiled wish lists with the participants for their birthday while conducting in-depth interviews. This method provided an indication of the children’s brand awareness and ability to recall brands, while at the same forming the basis for the exploration of children’s brand knowledge, their relationships with brands and other brand-related issues. Findings suggest that children between five and seven years old have a decent level of brand awareness and are able to recall brands that they have been confronted with in the past. Associations they have with the requested brands are varied, with non-product related attributes being mentioned by several of the participating children. Children in the preoperational stage do not yet appear to understand brand symbolism and do not yet appear to form self-brand connections with brands in order to express their self-identity. Children nowadays appear to be confronted with brands and advertising messages on multiple brand platforms, including brand-based movies on Netflix and brand-based games and videos on electronic devices such as iPads. Based on these findings I have developed propositions as well as suggestions for future research. Implications of these findings for managers, practice and society as well as limitations of the present study will be discussed.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen