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Child-size coffee and couple shirts get kids started on old habits early

The Babyccino, hot chocolate with frothed milk and a marshmallow, is a kid-friendly version of the very adult cappuccino.

Parenting is all about role modeling good habits for the young ones to emulate. But what about those less desirable traits like that pesky coffee addiction or shopaholic streak? Let them be, say retailers ready to profit from that special parent-child connection.

The Babyccino is just what it sounds like, a kid-friendly version of the very adult cappuccino. Offered at A Twosome Place, it is hot chocolate served with frothed milk and a marshmallow. Also on offer is the Baby Latte, a steamed milk drink with vanilla syrup and a marshmallow.

These special drinks were introduced, the coffee shop says, to meet the demands of their very youngest customers.

“Many mothers often say their kids love frothed milk on cappuccinos but that they can’t let their children drink the drink because it contains caffeine,” said Shin Hyo-jeong, a public relations official at CJ Foodville, which runs A Twosome Place. “So we launched two beverages for kids, and we’re getting rave reviews.”

Both kids’ beverages cost 2,500 won, about 30 percent less than their adult counterparts. They are currently available in CGV Cheongdam Cine City, southern Seoul, and at the headquarters of CheilJedang in Ssangnim-dong, central Seoul, but they will soon be available nationwide. Earlier this month, Caffe Bene also launched drinks for child customers at the request of parents. They are more expensive but also more varied than A Twosome Place’s offerings.

The new Chocolate Banana Cappuccino is a kid’s cappuccino, which is a mix of chocolate and banana powders that is topped with a thick layer of frothed milk. The Coco Funny uses fruit a mixture and is served with sliced coconut and fruit-flavored cereal. Both are 5,800 won and adult sized.

“We have a section on our Web site where customers can make suggestions on anything from our customer service to our menu selection, and many mothers actually wanted us to provide something for their children,” said Hong Ju-hye, an official from Caffe Bene.

Self-admitted coffee maniac Kim Yun-jeong, a 32-year-old mom with a 4-year-old son, will likely be delighted by these new products. She said that she visits coffee shops at least once a day with her husband, another coffee lover, and their toddler. But she never knows what to get her son.

“Most drinks are espresso-based, and I also don’t want him to drink an icy-cold Frappuccino loaded with sugar,” Kim said. “But he always wants something very similar to what my husband and I drink. So sometimes, I order a cup of steamed milk which is not on the menu, and they charge 4,000 won, the same price as a cappuccino. What a rip off!”

In order to capitalize on the growing parent-child market, many Korean companies are now offering products for customers of all ages. Basic House produces matching styles of clothing, left, and Caffe Bene, center, recently launched two drinks for children. Shoemaker Babara also offers similar styles of adult and child flats. Provided by each company

Once the new kid-friendly beverages are available, however, Kim’s toddler can kiss the boring milk goodbye. Marketing to children and their parents is nothing new, of course, and researchers say that, when combined, the two create an enormous market that is hard for any retailer to ignore.

Marketing experts, Dave Siegel, Tim Coffey and Greg Livingson co-wrote “Marketing to the New Super Consumer: Mom & Kid” about modern moms who are willing to spend on themselves and their kids. The book discusses how modern moms spend money and how marketers target parent and child who, when paired together, make a kind of super consumer.

In Korea, coffee franchises are actually quite late in the game of parent-child marketing. Local clothing and shoe manufacturers have targeted the demographic for years, producing products that they hope will cross the age barrier.

In couple-shirt style, Basic House now sells children’s clothing in styles that correspond with its adult apparel. A variety of clothes from polo shirts to pullovers are produced every year so that families can go out wearing similar looks.

“The brand has offered clothes for children and adults from the beginning when it launched in 2000, but we began marketing a family look last year,” said Kim Bu-seon, a public relations representative for the company.

And about 30 different styles of flats are available for mom and daughter at local shoe-maker Babara.

“Many pregnant women wear flats from our company, and they realize that they’re comfortable and stylish. So, they decide to purchase another set of shoes for their girls,” said Byeon Ga-young from the shoe maker.

Other brands plan to follow suit soon by launching special products for children at their stores in Korea. They’re sure to appeal to kids and parents, who are more accustomed to shopping together than ever before – not to mention retailers, too.
By Sung So-young [so@joongang.co.kr]

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