Advertising to Children



ADVERTISING TO CHILDREN - I just returned from a shopping trip to my local food markets to check out advertising to kids. What I found was disheartening. Fresh donuts covered in sugary cereal in one store, sending the message that donuts, and cereal go together. Fresh donuts in a second store topped with gummy worms and M&M’s with the message that candy is good with donuts for breakfast.

Children and their parents are being played by savvy marketers who know that you pay attention to your kids’ requests, to avoid the whining wars and tantrum battles. They know when kids ask, you listen!

Kids are being targeted by the use of:

  • Cartoon characters on kid friendly food products, toys, and clothes.

  • Advertisements on television. The average American child sees more than 40,000 advertisements per year, according to Jennifer Young of Oregon Public Health Division’s Office of Family Health. Half of those ads are for food, and 97% of those are for sugared cereals, high calorie snacks and fast food.

  • Advertisements to their cell phones by text.

  • Advertisements placed in their school lunch rooms, banners at school sports games, school reader boards. These ads bring revenue to your schools.

  • Bus radio.

  • Advertisements at the movie theaters.

  • Advertisements on the internet including micro-targeting your kids near their birthday. 40 million kids are online.

  • Ad sponsored educational materials.





The video below is the Trailer for the Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood. This video was produced by the Media Education Foundation, and it is about the commercialization of Childhood, and how advertisers are using our kids.





Expert marketers are using creepy methods of advertising to children, to get to your kids and brand them early:

  • Cradle to Grave marketing which says if they brand your kids early, they will stay with the brand until they die.

  • The idea of marketing "Kids getting older younger". The idea is to sell products for older kids to younger kids.

  • Symbolic advertising where products are pushed for their social meaning as "cool"! What you buy, is who you are!

  • Values are being marketed to children. If you buy these things, you will be happy.

  • Scientific stalking where kids are filmed to see how they shop, all they do, and how they talk to their friends.

  • Kids are put into MRI machines to see what types of advertising light up their brains.

  • Blink tests are done on kids to see which advertisements will keep their attention.


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These are just a few of the ways that advertisers are learning about your kids. When asked if these methods of advertising to children are ethical, advertisers will say they do not know, but that it will move the product, and get the job done.

Your kids are being targeted by child experts, MBA advertising experts, and psychologists. Is there anything that you can do?





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