How is Advertising Affecting Our Children?

One of my main aims from this placement was to see how advertising affects us in our everyday lives and, more importantly, how this advertising affects school pupils. Since starting on the Pizza Hut team over a week ago I’ve been been shown a variety of ways many companies choose to advertise their goods and products and I can see very easily how the courage us to buy more than we planned.

There are small things such as being able to sing along to the jingle of an advert or  knowing the company’s tagline. But, advertising definitely leads to “Mum, can I get that?” to which my mum would normally reply “sure, if you have the money,” which I never normally did.

Advertising is not a new phenomenon. It is argued that advertising goes back as far as times in Ancient Rome to advertise things such as property to rent. This then moved forward to the medieval times where the way of something being advertised was done through a town crier shouting in city squares (American Psychological Society, 2017).

Kunkel (2001) argues that children under the age of eight are “cognitively and psychologically defenseless from advertising.” Research has found that the majority of US children have a television in their room. In addition to televisions, children have access to the internet when their parents are not supervising them. From this, there has been a huge increase in adverts directly aimed at children. It has been estimated that $12 billion is spent each year by companies to reach children (Wilcox, B et al, 2004) who are estimated to watch over 40,000 adverts each year (AAP News and Journals, 2007). This is a very important point to consider when looking at the effects of advertising as it really proves that adverts are surrounding children and it something that they cannot get away from. It proves that it will be subconsciously affecting their decisions and what they will ask (some might say nag..) their caregivers for. These statistics are from 2004 and we can only guess that this will have risen.

It has been argued that this kind of advertising often leads to child obesity (I find it ironic that I am writing about this aspect of advertising when the type of advertising I am working on is pizza based…). The food system in America is the second largest advertiser in the American economy who advertise through the use of television, radio, newspapers, magazines and billboards (Story and French, 2004). McNeal (1999) states that brands aim to have a preference with both children and their parents. So marketers are trying extremely hard to develop “brand relationships” with children when they are just toddlers (Zollo, 1999). Companies know that children of a young age have a large purchase influence and can successfully negotiate purchases through what advertisers call the “nag factor” or “pester power” (McNeal, 1999). From this, children will continue to ask, want and get foods that they see on television and around them in supermarkets and, therefore, this will contribute to childhood obesity if parents choose to “give in”.

Therefore, from doing some reading I have found that advertising really does influence and affect children today and has done in the past. I feel as though I have given quite a negative response to advertising in this sense. However, I do believe that advertising is needed and is something which allows companies to prosper and increase sales of their products which will positively impact peoples’ everyday lives.

 

References:

American Psychological Association (2017)  Report of the APA Task Force on Advertising and Children. Available at: http://www.apa.org/pubs/info/reports/advertising-children.aspx (Accessed: 21/3/17)

Kunkel D (2001) “Children and television advertising”  Singer DG, Singer JL, eds. Handbook of Children and the Media. 13(4) pp. 375–393

McNeal J (1999) The Kids Market: Myth and Realities. Ithaca: Paramount Market Publishing

Story and French (2004) Food Advertising and Marketing Directed at Children and Adolescents in the US. Available at: https://ijbnpa.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1479-5868-1-3 (Accessed: 21/3/17)

Wilcox, B et al (2004) Report of the APA Task Force on Advertising and Children. Washington DC: American Psychological Association

Zollo P (1999) Wise Up To Teens: Insight into Marketing and Advertising to Teenagers. 2nd edition. Ithaca: New Strategist Publications, Inc.

2 thoughts on “How is Advertising Affecting Our Children?

    1. Carys Boyle Post author

      I am looking forward to that, Susan. With the knowledge and experience I have gained from being here I feel that this section of the module will be something I will feel comfortable writing and learning about.

      Reply

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