Australian real estate franchising giant LJ Hooker has launched a website and app targeted at children as young as 4, saying it’s out to build “a positive relationship with the next generation of … real estate buyers and sellers.”

The children’s website features “Mr. Hooker Bear,” who has been the franchisor’s mascot since 1988.

“Children immediately [recognize] and flock to him, eager for a furry greeting,” the company said in a note to parents. “Mr. Hooker Bear can be found at various community events, ranging from school fetes to golf days, and now he has his very own website!”

The company says its mobile app, “Mr. Hooker Bear’s Letter Pop,” is intended “to entertain kids while LJ Hooker real estate professionals engage with parents to discuss their real estate needs.”

LJ Hooker CEO Georg Chmiel told the Herald Sun that the campaign is targeted at children ages 4 to 9.

“It’s almost like catching two fish with one rod: The app and site address the distraction element with modern technology to keep kids engaged while at the same time building brand awareness in a nice way,” Chmiel told the newspaper.

What’s your take? Do real estate firms that market to children have a better chance of serving them as adults? Or do they risk alienating current clients? Leave your comments below.

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