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children to run focus groups, stage slumber parties and then question children into the night. They send cultural anthropologists into homes,
stores, fast food restaurants, and other places where kids like to gather, quietly and surreptitiously observing the behavior of prospective
customers. They study the academic literature on child development, seeking insights from the work of theorists such as Erik Erikson and
Jean Piaget. They study the fantasy lives of young children, then apply the findings in advertisements and product designs.
Dan S. Acuff — the president of Youth Market System Consulting and the author of What Kids Buy and Why (1997) — stresses the
importance of dream research. Studies suggest that until the age of six, roughly 80 percent of children’s dreams are about animals. Rounded,
soft creatures like Barney, Disney’s animated characters, and the Teletubbies therefore have an obvious appeal to young children. The
Character Lab, a division of Youth Market System Consulting, uses a proprietary technique called Character...
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- Spring '08