Advertising and Children

. Kids represent an important demographic to marketers because they have their own purchasing power, they influence their parents’ buying decisions and they’re the adult consumers of the future. Television still the focus of attention: most exposed! 2) HOW ADVERTISERS ARE TARGETTING KIDS ( techniques) -psychology and kidsmarketing To effectively market to children, advertisers need to know what makes kids tick.With the help of well-paid researchers and psychologists, advertisers now have access to in-depth knowledge about children’s developmental, emotional and social needs at different ages. Using research that analyzes children’s behaviour, fantasy lives, art work, even their dreams, companies are able to craft sophisticated marketing strategies to reach young people. The issue of using child psychologists to help marketers target kids gained widespread public attention in 1999, when a group of U. S. ental health professionals issued a public letter to the American Psychological Association (APA) urging them to declare the practice unethical. The APA is currently studying the issue. -In Practice Pester power: Today’s kids have more autonomy and decision-making power within the family than in previous generations, so it follows that kids are vocal about what they want their parents to buy. “Pester power” refers to children’s ability to nag their parents into purchasing items they may not otherwise buy. Marketing to children is all about creating pester power, because advertisers know what a powerful force it can be.According to the 2001 marketing industry book Kidfluence, pestering or nagging can be divided into two categories—”persistence” and “importance. ” Persistence nagging (a plea, that is repeated over and over again) is not as effective as the more sophisticated “importance nagging. ” This latter method appeals to parents’ desire to provide the best for their children, and plays on any guilt they may have about not having enough time for their kids. Impact on family Children are effective influencers of family purchasers, pestering their parents to buy products that they neither need nor really understand.A British study reported that 85% of a sample of 4-13 year olds acknowledged that they had asked their parents to buy advertised products and 66% claimed that their parents had met their request. Advertising pressures can produce significant conflict between parents and children. Many vulnerable families succumb, spending dollars they can least afford. Pester power often works. Mirror effect: Imitating the grown up’s has always been a tween occupation. Almost every aspect of parental life has been mirrored in various tween toys and entertainment concepts.They acquire an understanding of what it would be like to be a real parent through observation and play that involves imitation. Imitation is the bedrock of the fisger-price range, which offers a total kitchen selection, plastic food, small appliances, such as hair-dryers, living-room furniture and more. This mirror effect works in 2 ways: It places tweens firmly in the centre of the world they admire and to which they aspire. Tween is placed in the middle of a dream=;gt; popstar, movie celebrity… Peer pressure (school;internet) tend to follow the herd rather than their own instincts.Kids are fare more affected by there peers than by their parents. (p138 brandchild). -Community exploration -peer-to-peer marketing -Viral marketing 3) 4 Groups of tweens : edges : the rebels, testing things before others Persuaders: Influencers=popular -;gt; decisions are adopted by the group so marketers wants to harness this groups. more mainstream than the Edges. Followers: the balk (the most of) of today’s tweens. Listen to persuaders but ear open to the edges. Self- esteem not terribly high -;gt; don’t consider themselves as cool.Reflexives: an out-group that tries to increase acceptance among their peers . Categorization to understand differences between the tweens + internal hierarchy -;gt; determines to a large extent their relationship to brands and their adoption rate. = valuable when you need to identify the best possible tween group for a specific brand . Buzz or street marketing The challenge for marketers is to cut through the intense advertising clutter in young people’s lives. Many companies are using “buzz marketing”—a new twist on the tried-and-true “word of mouth” method.The idea is to find the coolest kids in a community and have them use or wear your product in order to create a buzz around it. Buzz, or “street marketing,” as it’s also called, can help a company to successfully connect with the savvy and elusive teen market by using trendsetters to give their products “cool” status. Buzz marketing is particularly well-suited to the Internet, where young “Net promoters” use newsgroups, chat rooms and blogs to spread the word about music, clothes and other products among unsuspecting users. -Effects: does it work, who are the most vulnerable? examples to compare and make a tendency) Commercialization in education School used to be a place where children were protected from the advertising and consumer messages that permeated their world—but not any more. Budget shortfalls are forcing school boards to allow corporations access to students in exchange for badly needed cash, computers and educational materials. Corporations realize the power of the school environment for promoting their name and products. A school setting delivers a captive youth audience and implies the endorsement of teachers and the educational system.Marketers are eagerly exploiting this medium in a number of ways, including: . Sponsored educational materials: for example, a Kraft “healthy eating” kit to teach about Canada’s Food Guide (using Kraft products); or forestry company Canfor’s primary lesson plans that make its business focus seem like environmental management rather than logging.? . Supplying schools with technology in exchange for high company visibility.? . Exclusive deals with fast food or soft drink companies to offer their products in a school or district.? Advertising posted in classrooms, school buses, on computers, etc. in exchange for funds.? . Contests and incentive programs: for example, the Pizza Hut reading incentives program in which children receive certificates for free pizza if they achieve a monthly reading goal; or Campbell’s Labels for Education project, in which Campbell provides educational resources for schools in exchange for soup labels collected by students.? . Sponsoring school events: The Canadian company ShowBiz brings moveable video dance parties into schools to showcase various sponsors’ products. IS IT AN UNFAIR PRACTICE? -FACTS | |Age 2-7 |Age 8-12 |Age 13-17 | |Food ads seen per day |12 |21 |17 | |Food ads seen per year |4,400 |6,000 |7,600 | |Percentage of ads seen where food was the main product advertised |32% |25% |22% |Of all genres on TV, shows specifically designed for children under 12 have the highest proportion of food advertising (50% of all ad time). Of all food ads that target children or teens: • 34% are for candy and snacks. • 28% are for cereal • 10% are for fast foods. • 4% dairy products • 1% fruit juices. Out of all 8,854 ads reviewed – there were none for fruits or vegetables 3) Why advertising to children is a problem What is advertised Many of the products advertised are fatty, salty, sugary and fast foods.Nutritionists and other health professionals see these as promoting poor eating practices in children (see related topic: Food Advertising). =;gt; What is food advertising Advertisements for food on television occur principally as 30 second commercials within programs directed to children, or within other programs directed at a more general audience. They can also occur by way of “product placement” within programs. Food or drink products are used by the characters in the film, video or TV program, or placed somewhere conspicuous on the set.Advertisements for foods directed to children are most frequently for breakfast cereals, snacks, soft drinks, and fast foods. They can be described as fatty, salty, sugary and fast. (Young Media Australia, 1997) Other ads are for toys, many of which: . limit creative play . encourage violent play . are linked to violent movies which are unsuitable for children, but nonetheless marketed to them . encourage girls to focus on their appearance, including a range of highly sexualised dolls with skimpy clothing, unrealistic body proportions and provocative expressions ? (see related topic Toy Advertising). =;gt; What is toy advertising Toys are promoted very heavily to children through a wide range of media. They are presented in such a way as to make them look very attractive and great fun to play with. The children shown playing with them are cute, pretty or “cool”. . Many such toys are very expensive. Toys advertised on TV or otherwise linked to movies tend to dominate children’s “wish lists” for presents. Early childhood educators have expressed concern that many of the media-promoted toys do not extend children’s play, but limit it. Children can get much enjoyment from other simpler and cheaper toys.These days, many mass produced toys are not designed to meet the needs of children, but more to meet the objectives of a range of industries who are jointly marketing to children. (Varney, W, 1995) . Ability to distinguish advertising from programs Young children are particularly vulnerable to advertising as they are often unable to distinguish advertising from programs. US researchers such as Dale Kunkel (University of California at Santa Barbara) and Don Roberts (Stanford University) say that children under age of 5 or 6 do not distinguish effectively between advertisements and the programs they are watching.Ability to understand ‘selling’ intent of advertising Children under the age of seven are unlikely to understand selling intent. As Roberts says, to understand selling intent, the child has to be able to take the perspective of another, and to understand that the seller will engage in puffery, trickery, exaggeration in order to sell. Children are not developmentally capable of this until the age of seven or eight. Many of the advertisements use techniques that mislead children as to the worth or performance of the product, both food and toys. Who are the most vulnerable? Children under the age of 7 or 8.Advertising directed at this age group is inherently unfair. But even older children do not always know when advertisements are telling the truth, and are vulnerable (as are adults) to the appeals to their self esteem, anxieties, and need to be seen as “cool”. Steve Biddulph, noted Australian author of books on child raising, says that advertising to children is an unfair practice. He says that advertising works by making them unhappy with their lives, anxious and unsatisfied. It sells to them by damaging their mental health.

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