Advertising to Children Notes Essay Example
Advertising to Children Notes Essay Example

Advertising to Children Notes Essay Example

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  • Pages: 7 (1922 words)
  • Published: September 28, 2017
  • Type: Research Paper
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Children, due to their immaturity, lack the ability to comprehend that advertisements have the aim of persuading them (Karpatkin and Holmes, Consumers Union). As a result, they may develop an altered perception of reality and struggle to differentiate between ads and the real world. As children grow older, they become more adept at distinguishing between advertisements and TV programs. However, during their early teenage years when they are trying to establish their identities, advertisers manipulate their insecurities in an effort to define what is considered normal for them and shape their beliefs and values (Beder, 1998). Even older children may find it challenging to grasp the persuasive intentions behind newer advertising techniques that blur the distinction between promotional and informational content (Calvert, 2008).

Research focused on examining changes in comprehension of commercial messages based on age reveals that children under eigh


t believe commercials are intended to aid them in making purchasing decisions without realizing that these ads are specifically designed to persuade them into buying certain products. The theories of cognitive development put forth by Calvert (2008) offer a better understanding of how children's perception of commercial purpose evolves over time. During the preoperational thinking stage (typically occurring between ages 2-7), young children primarily concentrate on the visual aspects of products and possess limited understanding.They also participate in animistic thinking, believing that imaginary events and characters can be real. An example of this is the holiday season commercials that inundate young viewers with fantasies about Santa delivering toys on his sleigh pulled by flying reindeer. These fantasies contribute to a consumer culture that captivates young children.
As children enter the concrete operational thought stage (typically between age

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7-11), they begin to understand their world more realistically. They recognize that perceptual features do not change an object's underlying properties and realize that advertisers aim to sell products. Moving into formal operational thought (usually at age 12 or older), teenagers develop abstract reasoning skills and become more skeptical about advertising.
With the increasing use of the Internet as a medium for targeting children, advertisers now have additional opportunities to convey their messages. Currently, approximately four million children worldwide use the Internet, and this number is expected to significantly rise in the future. Additionally, due to the proliferation of television channels, each channel has smaller audiences than before.
The utilization of digital interactive technologies has opened up new avenues for advertisers to target children, resulting in a growing media space specifically designed for kids and children's products. Online advertising and alleged stealth marketing techniques are recent strategies being employed.Television continues to be the primary medium for advertising to children, with about 40,000 advertisements reaching them each year. However, advertisers are now also directly targeting children online due to the availability of a greater number of television channels and online platforms. Children and young people are heavy users of media and quickly adopt new technologies, making both traditional television and newer media effective ways to reach them through marketing campaigns. In addition to television, advertisers are exploring other avenues such as cell phones, iPods, game platforms, and other digital devices. Most web pages display banner ads that resemble traditional billboard ads. Online video games known as "Advergames" integrate products like cereal and candy in order to promote youth products. Advertisers are increasingly focusing on children and teenagers through

various digital devices and innovative marketing techniques. They use covert methods to create branded environments without the consumer's knowledge while analyzing preferences and behaviors of kids and adolescents. This analysis provides valuable insights for future personalized marketing strategies. Hidden advertising through online interactive agents like bots is proving effective in fostering brand loyalty by responding in a personalized manner. Alcohol-related websites engage with visitors using humor, games, trendy language, appealing even to minors.
Many companies have recognized that children enjoy using technology for educational purposes, communication, and entertainment activities. The internet provides a convenient platform for individuals to engage with and explore products. Some sellers believe that the most effective way to target children on the Internet is through "viral" or buzz marketing strategies, which encourage kids to share their favorite commercials and product information with each other (Schumann & Thorson, 2007). As the popularity and commercial influence of the Internet have grown, concerns surrounding its impact on children and teens have also increased. These concerns include the amount of time spent online, its effects on intellectual and social development, exposure to advertisers' tactics, and potentially inappropriate content (Schumann and Thorson, 2007). A specific concern is how much advertisement message exposure online children experience and how much attention they pay to these messages (Schumann and Thorson, 2007). Unlike regulated advertising on television, internet advertising has no limitations in terms of exposure. This raises concerns about children being excessively exposed to advertisement messages. On television, a brand's advertisement typically lasts for 30-60 seconds before switching to another ad. According to Schumann and Thorson (2007), children can spend a significant amount of time engaging in various activities such

as gaming, chatting with friends or staying updated on product news while on the Internet.Advertising to children through the Internet is different from traditional media like TV in a few ways. Unlike TV advertisers, internet advertisers don't have to clearly distinguish between content and advertising. They can also use their corporate mascots as both content creators and salespeople at the same time. On Kellogg's website, for example, characters like Tony the Tiger can appear in games, quizzes, and activities, whereas on TV they're usually limited to commercial breaks.

Kids today not only spend about $130 million each year but also influence an additional $500 million in household purchases. The internet is a great platform for reaching these young consumers because it gives them private access to different content without their parents knowing. This sets it apart from other forms of media.

Media plays a central role in shaping children's decisions and maintaining peer connections - sometimes even more than parents or schools do. This phenomenon is known as 'the parallel school of media,' which emphasizes how kids get more information from media sources (Schumann & Thorson, 2007). Marshall (2010) and Beder (1998) state that children and teenagers spend a significant amount of time using various media platforms each day.They have a quick ability to adapt to new technologies, which makes them attractive targets for innovative commercial messages from companies and advertising agencies. Marshall (2010) also acknowledges that advertisers specifically target children due to their spending power. The text explores the impact that children have on their parents' spending habits and their potential for future spending as they grow up. According to Beder (1998), advertisers understand that children

represent three distinct markets: their direct spending, the money they influence through their parents' purchases (known as the "scold factor"), and the future market. Advertisers comprehend that brand loyalty and consumer habits formed during childhood are likely to persist into adulthood. In Australia, Beder (1998) reports that children under 18 possess an average of $31.60 per week for spending purposes and exert influence over 70% of their parents' clothing and fast food purchases. Furthermore, Calvert notes how both children's discretionary income and their power to influence parental purchases have grown over time.Calvert discusses in 2008 how today's children and teenagers have become a profitable market for businesses.Additionally, Beder points out in 1998 that even at a young age, starting from one year old, children accompany their parents to supermarkets where they observe various treats being displayed.
In this passage, the text examines the development of children as consumers and explores the enjoyable aspects for both parents and sellers in a market-oriented society. It discusses how children's understanding and interaction with advertisements evolve over time, starting from as early as age 2 when they observe ads while shopping with their parents. By age 3, they learn persuasive tactics to convince their parents to buy certain products. At this stage, they can accompany their parents to stores, become familiar with brands, and make choices with permission. As children reach ages 4 to 5, they become more independent in their purchasing abilities when accompanying their parents. By age eight, they are capable of making purchasing decisions on their own.

Patti Valkenburg and Joanne Cantor proposed a developmental model that integrates different theoretical perspectives to explain how children become consumers. According

to this model, there are three distinct phases in the process:
1) From birth to two years old - infants have desires and preferences but do not actively make purposeful choices regarding products.
2) Between the ages of two and five years old - children develop further in understanding advertisements.
3) The final phase is not mentioned in this passage.During the stage of kindergarten, children employ nagging and negotiating strategies to acquire specific products without fully comprehending the persuasive intent behind commercials. During this period, their main focus is on the attractive qualities of advertised products, making them vulnerable to marketing influences. As they reach ages five to eight years old, children enter a new phase characterized by adventure and initial purchases as they gain more autonomy in decision-making regarding consumer choices. In this stage, children become better at distinguishing between reality and imagination and develop longer attention spans that enable independent purchasing. Their interests also shift from toys to more mature items like music and sports equipment. This early period establishes the foundation for independent decision-making and product evaluation, despite limited recognition of different advertising formats such as traditional online ads or embedded advertisements in advergames. Approximately one-third of children struggle with identifying advertising content, leading to a significant portion unable to differentiate between advertisement materials.Commercial influences, including advertisers, children's industries, and consumer goods manufacturers, significantly shape children's culture by seeking to capture their attention and spending power. This influence has given rise to profitable online communities and platforms for young people like NeoPets. NeoPets offers users the chance to create or adopt virtual pets and earn "NeoPoints" through activities such as playing games and taking

surveys. These points can then be used to buy virtual pet food and other products. As a rapidly growing online youth community, NeoPets has attracted 16 million users in a short period of time. It generates revenue through "immersive marketing," which is similar to product placement in movies, making it attractive to food makers and entertainment giants. Market research and consumer studies also contribute significantly to NeoPets' revenue generation. This demonstrates the emergence of a new digital media culture for children that blurs the line between content and commerce.

One example of this blending of content and commerce is Neopia, an online platform that incorporates popular products and brand names into its games and features with the aim of attracting advertisers like Walt Disney, McDonalds, and Mattel who target tweens (children aged between 8-12)and adolescents. The majority of Neopets users are under 18 years old, with many falling within the age range of 13-17 years old. Following current trends in children's media, Neopets uses vibrant colors and cheerful artwork as part of its appeal strategy.

(Note: In thisversion, I have kept the but added clarifications within brackets for better understanding.)Sponsors effectively incorporate their products or services into the website's activities using immersive advertising to attract children and promote brand awareness. As kids become more engaged in online spaces such as games and communities, they actively participate in content creation but also face marketing competition. Therefore, Neopets exemplifies how consumerism dominates childhood experiences within a playful community focused on acquiring and being entrepreneurial. This imposition of consumer culture on children's surroundings restricts their autonomy and capacity to generate their own environments.

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