by Becky Sun
The preschool set in Brooklyn is foaming at the mouth, apparently, and so are some indignant adults. The hot story that was brewing in February started when the Brooklyn Paper published a story about how parents in fashionable neighborhoods are ordering babyccinos — small cups of decaf lattes or steamed milk — for their toddlers. Scores of writers were full of eye rolls and barely suppressed groans over this too-precious trend. One journalist found very few babyccinos in Brooklyn cafes and called it a nonstory.
Regardless of whether Park Slope parents with their designer strollers spend $2 to buy a kiddie drink, Iconoculture’s Cultural Fluent in Australia, Katharine Milner, was amused that this decade-old menu item is new to the US. “It’s cute and a little outrageous to charge money for a scoop of milk foam with chocolate powder on top. But that’s what all the littlies get at cafes here.” She adds that a few coffeehouses in Sydney and Brisbane even make doggycinos (with lactose-free milk and maybe a shot of liver).
At some Australian cafes, the babycino (Australians spell it with one “c”) is free with an adult beverage. They come plain or with a variety of additions: honey, rainbow sprinkles, syrup or marshmallows. Kids love their mini-me drinks, and parents appreciate the five minutes of peace and quiet that a cute bevvie can buy. These drinks are so popular that Aussie parents can even buy Bubucino — instant babycino from an aerosol can.
What does this mean for marketers?
Want my business? Love my kid, be it human or furry. Remember the days when children got lollipops and dogs got biscuits at the bank drive-through? Consumers eat up things like that. It’s usually the small touches that make an impact, like a filled water dish for Spot at an outdoor cafe, or a free baby frozen yogurt with an adult purchase. Such gestures, which cost businesses only a little more time and resources, go a long way in creating retail loyalty.