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The impact of modern advertising on childrens personal identity

Concerns Advertisers spend 100s of billions of dollars a year worldwide [1] encouraging, persuading and manipulating people into a consumer lifestyle that has devastating consequences for the environment through its extravagance and wastefulness. Advertising exploits individual insecurities, creates false needs and offers counterfeit solutions. It fosters dissatisfaction that leads to consumption.

History of advertising

Children are particularly vulnerable to this sort of manipulation. Young children are increasingly the target of advertising and marketing because of the amount of money they spend themselves, the influence they have on their parents spending the nag factor and because of the money they will spend when they grow up.

One car dealer explains: I have watched the child pick out the car. Companies such as Nissan sponsor the American Youth Soccer Organisation and a travelling geography exhibit in order to get exposure for their brand name and logo in child-friendly settings.

Yale's Premier Global Health Magazine

Chrysler distributes 100s of thousands of glossy cardboard pop-up promotional books by direct mail that will appeal to children who love pop-up books. And Chevrolet has used advertisements featuring children.

Some car dealers have added children's play areas and arcade games to their facilities. James McNeal in his book Kids as Customers estimates that there are about three quarters of a billion children in other industrialised countries: And they are advisable for those American marketers who are wanting to avoid some of the intense competition domestically and are thinking of seeking market and profit growth across the seas.

In addition to the direct money that children spend and the money they influence, children also represent a third major market and perhaps the most significant and that is the future market.

  • Scott said, "Man has been called the reasoning animal but he could with greater truthfulness be called the creature of suggestion;
  • The Corporate Assault on Environmentalism Melbourne;
  • Asia and Africa[ edit ] Japan[ edit ] Dentsu is the dominant firm in Japan thanks to its origins as a media representative;
  • A similar Pledge programme was launched by leading food companied in Thailand in May 2008 and in Australia in mid-2009;
  • Italian graphic designers, most prominently Armando Testa , were inspired by modernist aesthetics and thinking brought in by the American advertising agencies and techniques in Italy;
  • If we don't pay attention to the ads, then they won't have that much of an affect on our behavior.

Those who switch are less likely to be loyal than those who are nurtured from childhood. Accompanying Parents and Observing. Children are taken with their parents to supermarkets and other stores where all sorts of goodies are displayed. By the time a child can sit erect, he or she is placed in his or her culturally defined observation post high atop a shopping cart.

From this vantage point the child stays safety in proximity to parents but can see for the first time the wonderland of marketing. Accompanying Parents and Requesting.

Children begin to ask for things that they see and make connections between television advertising and store contents. They pay more attention to those ads and the list of things they want increases.

At the same time, the youngster is learning how to get parents to respond to his or her wishes and wants. This may take the form of a grunt, whine, scream, or gesture--indeed some tears may be necessary--but eventually almost all children are able on a regular basis to persuade Mom or Dad to buy something for them.

Accompanying Parents and Selecting with Permission. Children are able to come down from the shopping trolley and make their own choices. They are able to recognise brands and locate goods in the store. For many parents this is a pleasing experience. Ditto for the marketers, for it signals the beginning of the child's understanding of the want-satisfaction process in a market-driven society.

  1. The new emergence of a middle class was the target audience. According to Direct Marketing magazine, by the age of eight children make most of their own buying decisions.
  2. Although this encyclopedia was edited and printed in the United States, it featured the British name and spelling to gain prestige Advertising increased dramatically in the United States after 1870 as industrialization expanded the supply of manufactured products to a very large market. MediaSmart develops and provides, free of charge and on request, educational materials to primary schools that teach children to think critically about advertising in the context of their daily lives.
  3. Some of these TV-reduction trials have been implemented into schools. When first opening the article, the reader is alerted with a message that says the article itself needs help "cleaning up.
  4. Simultaneously, the rapid growth of industry in Ontario and Quebec, coupled with the rapid settlement of the prairies, produced a large more affluent newspaper-reading population.
  5. Earthscan, 1992 , p.

Accompanying Parents and Making Independent Purchases. The final step in their development as a consumer is learning to pay for their purchases at the check-out counter. According to Direct Marketing magazine, by the age of eight children make most of their own buying decisions. By the time most US children start school they will have spent 5000 hours watching television.

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They will spend more time watching television than they spend in class for their entire schooling. Often cartoon characters would be launched as movies, be followed up by television series and then be merchandised on hundreds of products from t-shirts to toys. The television shows promote the company. In fact much marketing to children now consists of sales promotions such as direct coupons, free gifts and samples, contests and sweepstakes, and public relations such as using celebrities and licensed characters which visit shopping centres and schools.

New technologies have also provided new opportunities such as the Internet and telephone services that enable "new, personalized promotions" aimed at children.

They offer an opportunity to develop a more personal relationship with each child, get information about the children for marketing purposes that can be used for mailing lists and data bases, and to promote products to children of particular age groups and geographical locations.

Advertising to children

Their aim however is the same as advertising, to create brand loyalties and customers amongst children. Also, those wanting to sell goods recognise that some older children become somewhat cynical of advertisements and therefore publicity in children's newspapers and magazines as well as other marketing strategies are alternative ways of reaching these children.

It is estimated that about four million children are using the internet world-wide and this figure is bound to increase dramatically over the next few years. In keeping with our mission to connect our clients to the kid market with programs that match our clients' business objectives with the needs, drives and desires of kids. The ads are integrated with the other content of the internet site which is designed to keep the children engrossed in play for hours at a time.

There are even product "spokescharacters" to interact with the children and develop relationships with them so that long lasting brand loyalties can be developed. What is more, he pointed out, they look up to fictional characters and tend to do what they ask of them. Experts say that children don't understand persuasive intent until they are eight or nine years old and that it is unethical to advertise to them before then.

At the same time, Richard Mizerski, an Australian professor of marketing, observes; "their cognitive structures are beginning to form and they are most sensitive to external influences.

They believed children in advertisements were real rather than paid actors and they often confused advertisements with news items.

  • By 1914, two thirds of the top advertisers came from just five industries;
  • Television influences children depending on how long they watch television for and depending on which country to study;
  • The working class and peasant populations, with very low disposable incomes, are seldom targeted by the advertising agencies;
  • Canada is an example of a country where the majority of advertising is controlled by companies themselves.

Generally they did not understand the commercial intent and manipulation behind advertisements. Around puberty, in their early teens, children are forming their own identities and they are "highly vulnerable to pressure to conform to group standards and mores.

Advertising manipulates them through their insecurities, seeking to define normality for them; influencing the way they "view and obtain appropriate models for the adult world;" and undermining "fundamental human values in the development of the identity of children. It is for these reasons that marketing to children should be carefully restricted.

In particular advertisements aimed at children under the age of 9 years old, including on the internet and during children's television programmes, should be banned. Such advertising subsidises the cost of these services at the cost of our children's values, sense of well-being, health and integrity. Moreover the future of the planet is at stake if we allow advertisers and marketers to turn children into hyper consumers of the future.

The Consumer Society and the Future of the Earth, ed. Earthscan, 1992p. McNeal, Kids as Customers: Lexington Books, 1992p. Ontario Secondary School Teacher's Federation, 1995p. Jr Richards and Adam O. Westview Press, 1995p. The Corporate Assault on Environmentalism Melbourne: Scribe Publications, 1997chapter 10. Corporate Sponsorship in Australian Schools Sydney: Professor Sharon Beder is an honorary professorial fellow at the University of Wollongong.