A lot of business owners ask me if they can hire and pay their kids for modeling or acting in the business marketing campaigns.
A good example is one of our past clients who developed a line of hair care products called Kinky Curly that are sold in Target and Whole Foods. When she came to us her 4 year old daughter was already the face of the child product line and was pictured on all of the labels.
If she would have used another child besides her own, for the face of the products, she would have had to pay them for their modeling services (unless she had had a friend who would have been kind enough to give their child up for free). She was not paying her daughter because she did not know she could pay family just like other employees.
After our guidance and a bit of research on other companies in her field actually paying their models (children and adults) she officially added her daughter to the payroll in her company. Her daughter started earning money for the future as well as learning the responsibility of money which is what we all wish for our children, right? I say the younger they start, the more successful they will be.
Now if you are still wondering if children can be paid for modeling or even acting in marketing and advertisements, take a moment and reflect back to almost every cereal commercial you have seen on television…Now let’s go to candy commercials and ads…toys store commercials an ads… remember all of the kids on those ads? Remember Mikey for Life cereal? Another famous child mascot/marketing tool was Melinda Lou “Wendy” Thomas whose father, founder of fast food brand Wendy’s, utilized her in his marketing.
These kids and their parents aren’t allowing companies to stick them up on their billboards, websites and TV commercials just for attention. No way! The kids who you see who are acting and modeling are getting paid to do it!
Another fact that we all tend to forget is that in show business it is who you know, right? That means that a lot of kids that you see in advertising were chosen because they may have been the child of the owner or someone else involved in the company. It really is simple as “We need a kid for the ad? Hey, I have the most adorable child in the world, let’s just use her!”
The same can apply to your child. If you have a marketing campaign that includes the need for children and would reach out to the public to entice them to use your services then why not hire your own children? They are, after all, the most adorable children in the world right?
company’s new ad campaign feature Cathy Bissell and 2 of their family dogs. The post further goes into studies that show that consumers see companies that are family owned in a more positive light and are more apt to purchase family owned products and services. So with that said, you may want to think about a campaign that pulls in the whole family.
ADWEEK’s article brings me back to a longtime friend of mine who is a veterinarian, and she has used her daughter Darby from about the age of 6, along with their golden retriever, in the clinics yellow page ads, and in radio ads as a voice in the clinics pet stories. She had shared her marketing strategies with me over 10 years ago and according to her at that time, she claimed that the ads had pulled in clients because they show people that she is a family friendly hometown vet and she has beat out other vets who simply throw up a picture of a Veterinarian in a white jacket. “People love their pets and they don’t want to drop them off at some strangers place, I let them into my family and we are no longer strangers.” Darby purchased her first car (Brand spanking new!) at the age of 16 using her own money that she saved up over the years. Isn’t that liberating?
So after people do realize that hiring family for marketing is not a new concept there are sometimes still a few questions remaining:
How old do my kids have to be for me to use them in marketing campaigns and if I hire them doesn’t the product have to be for young kids?
The product does not have to be for young kids and you can hire them at any age, think about the popular E Trade commercial running right now. It features talking babies and E Trade uses the babies because they are adorable. It catches people’s attention plain and simple. You can also use your teenagers as well. What teen would not jump at the opportunity to tell their friends they are an actor or a model?
We don’t really want our kids’ faces splashed for the public to see because we want to keep them safe from predators. Is there a way to use them without complete display?
You can definitely do marketing material in a discrete way. People tend to think that using their child as a model always uses their face. Get imaginative with your images, most company ads do.
When my company hires family for marketing do they have to pay taxes on the income?
It really depends on the persons age and which company you hire them from. Parent owned LLC,s have the benefit of hiring their kids under 18 and income paid to the child is exempt from FUTA and FICA taxes up to $6,100 in 2013(subject to change in the future years). Non Parent Partnerships and Corporations have will have the FICA added in and amounts over the $6,100 will be subject to FUTA taxes starting as low as 10%. It is best to get with a tax planning company to help you look at the rules of your company and state.