About Us


The YMS Mission



Our mission is to be the most up to date and insightful  “Hub”

of Information, Expertise and Advice for all those who seek to

responsibly market to today’s youth and their families. Simply

put, our goal is our client’s success—especially when it results

in the enrichment of the lives of the young people and their

families who become the consumers of our clients’ products

and programs.


In this section you will find:


  A list of Youth Market Systems' Clients

  A listing of a variety of sample projects

  Brief bios of YMS Directors







YMS personnel have consulted in almost every arena of product and program development and marketing to youth: Food & Beverage, Packaged Goods, Toys, Games, Apparel, Sports Equipment, Computer Software, Advertising, TV and Feature Films. Here is a partial client list:




Toys & Games in ORANGE




Entertainment in RED


Food, Beverages &

Snacks in BLUE  



Miscellaneous in YELLOW




Johnson & Johnson         Johnson & Johnson


Van de Kamps                        


Hallmark Cards                    

Kraft USA        Kraft

Western Publishing


United Media                       United Media Licensing


Lucasfilm                       [ Lucasfilm.com ]


Warner Brothers             Click to enlarge




MCA Universal                       Universal Studios Home


 Quaker Oats     




General Mills           General Mills Corporate


Kenner/Parker Hershey        


ABC Entertainment              abc




CBS Television           CBS.com


Microsoft          Microsoft Home






Mattel Toys                             






Pizza Hut             www.pizzahut.com


Frito Lay                                Frito Lay - food for the fun of it!


Dannon                 Dannon - Better Every Day


Kraft-Post Canada     Sargento            






Ralston                      Del Monte              




Hunt Weston   






Hi-C                                       Hi-C


Kimberly-Clark Kimberly-Clark


Sony                                      Sony






Leo Burnett       
Discovery Channel        


United Biscuit (England)
Langnese-Iglo (Germany)     Televisa (Mexico)  


Hit Entertainment - UK        



International Quality & Productivity Center Seminars:  (Canada, France, Holland, Spain, India, Australia, Latin America)






1. WARNER BROS.: Completed a major analysis of their entire cast of characters for their Licensing and Merchandising division. Based on our feedback and recommendations, WB revised the entire approach to their character style guides.


2. NICKELODEON: Assisted with Tween marketing of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius. Assisted with evaluation and launch of Rocket Power, Sponge Bob Square Pants, CatDog, The Wild Thornberries. Studied Rugrats as a landmark evaluation of its power.


3. DISNEY: Conducted a workshop on competitive character concepts to Mickey Mouse and friends with the goal of how to make Mickey & Friends more attractive to kids older than 6.


4. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE: Werecontracted to improve and maximize their Food and Nutrition Services' Power Panther character to help kids "Eat Smart" and "Play Hard"


5. BAYLOR UNIVERSITY: DEPT. OF CHILD NUTRITION: Were contracted to create from scratch characters to help pre-schoolers eat more fruits and vegetables. The result: "Judy Fruity" and "Reggie Veggie". To see Judy and Reggie, click here.


6. DANNON: Maximized Sprinklin's and D'Animals packaging. Major study for Danone Europe.


7. KRAFT: Evaluated and provided feedback for maximization of more than 23 different kids snack ideas. Age Segmentation Training


8. NESTLE CHOCOLATE: Key contributors to development and maximization of the Nestle Magic project – currently Wonderball. Worked on Crunch Guy character. Age Segmentation Training. 


9. NESTLE BEVERAGE: Maximized Nestle Quik Bunny and Nestle Quik packaging.


10. HUNT WESSON: Evaluated opportunities for Orville popcorn and Gel products for kids.


9. CONAGRA: Redeveloped and maximized KID CUISINE character, packaging and product line. Result: 200+ % increase in sales.


10. QUAKER OATS: Variety of projects including evaluation of new product introductions in snacks, instant hot cereals, and cold cereals.  Evaluated character changes and made recommendations for Cap'n Crunch character.  Training


11. HI-C / MINUTE MAID: Provided input on current kid-targeted packaging.  Training


12. KELLOGG'S: Evaluation of new product ideas.  Conducted Ideation Session that produced nearly 100 new and line extension kids cereal and snack ideas. Training


13. FRITO-LAY: Provided Age Segmentation Training


14. SARGENTO CHEESE: Assisted them in the redevelopment of their cow character and their packaging for cheese snack re‑launch. Focus Groups.


15. DOMINOS: Participated in a series of focus groups to determine "hot buttons" for kids and pizza. Created report with marketing recommendations.


16. SHOWBIZ (CHUCKIE CHEESE): Evaluated new character show directions, made recommendations for revision.


17. GENERAL MILLS: Evaluated a series of fruit snack ideas, Squeezit beverage. Training


18. COCA COLA: Provided Age Segmentation Training, strategic planning, trends research.


19. M&M MARS: Evaluated a series of kids chocolate possibilities. Assisted in the successful development and launch of their M&M Minis candies. Also provided first sketches and fundamental input for the development of the M&M characters currently seen in TV ads. Training


20. HERSHEY’S: Evaluated a variety of kid-targeted projects.


21. JOHNSON & JOHNSON: Evaluation of a variety of kids' personal hygiene products.  Assisted directly in the development and launch of Endangered Species Kids' shampoo line.


22. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY: Evaluated kids marketing directions.


23. HIT ENTERTAINMENT of the UK: Led focus groups with Kids and Moms for their Thomas the Tank Engine and Bob the Builder product lines. Trained their moderators for other city research in

the U.S. and the U.K.





Daniel S. Acuff, Ph.D.


Founder and President of Youth Market Systems and the Character Lab, and Co-author of the landmark book, What Kids Buy and Why-The Psychology of Marketing to Kids, and of KIDNAPPED - How Irresponsible Marketers are Stealing the Minds of Your Children. (Of major concern in Kidnapped  are issues with violence in videogames and the media, childhood obesity, and the proliferation of excessive technology.) To order, click on the book images.

                                                         Kidnapped : How Irresponsible Marketers Are Stealing the Minds of Your Children           

Dr. Acuff has served as a development, research, and marketing consultant to more than 50 major corporations in the arenas of product and program viability assessment, development, marketing and advertising. Of particular specialization has been age segmentation analysis and character creation and development. For example, Dr. Acuff and associates created the original M&M characters that have become extremely popular and carried M&M Mars over the billion dollar mark for the M&M division.

Along with his partner, Dr. Robert Reiher, Dr. Acuff created the proprietary and revolutionary YMS system for determining the viability of products and programs with an 80% plus accuracy rate. Recent clients include: Disney, Warner Brothers, Lucas-Spielberg, Microsoft, paws/Jim Davis, ABC TV, Nestle, M&M Mars, Hershey, Pepsi-Co, Frito-Lay, Quaker Oats, Kellogg’s, General Mills, Kraft, Johnson & Johnson, Hallmark Cards, Nickelodeon, Sega, Mattel, Hasbro, Discovery Kids and the United States department of Agriculture.

Robert H. Reiher, Ph.D.

Dr. Reiher is a media psychologist and Founder and President of E Smart ChoiceRobert combines a broad range of experience and training from a variety of fields, including the areas of media, experimental, educational and clinical psychology, business, education, entertainment, and personal development.  He has been actively involved as a teacher, professional musician, researcher, counselor, and media consultant for the past 25 years. 

Dr. Reiher is currently completing the first two books written on the topic of entertainment psychology. Innertainment - The Psychology of Entertainment and its Impact on the Human Spirit is a research and brain based study of entertainment’s influence on human development. The E-Smart Alternative, How Parents Can Enrich Their Children through Entertainment is a practical hands-on book to assist parents in making enriching entertainment choices for their children.


Robert received his Master’s degree in Experimental Psychology and combined this background with a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology at the University of Southern California, specializing in human development and social psychology. Dr. Reiher has conducted research in Attribution Theory and cognitive psychology and is published in several journals including the Journal of Psychology.