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Marketing to Children

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Marketing to Children The ancient Code of Hammurabi banned sales to or purchases from a minor without a contract and witnesses, making such an act punishable by death (Duhaime 2003). Today's society rarely questions the ethics of advertising and selling to minors, and marketers are no longer considered thieves for their actions. Advertising surrounds children and encourages them to consume today on television, in magazines, at the movies, on the Internet and on billboards. And consume they do. Marketing influences children's habits and attitudes and there are great consequences that come with this amount power over them. Specifically this paper will discuss how marketers influence children from a young age, the techniques that marketers use to do so, and the consequences. Through the use of statistics and thorough research it will be proven that children at a young age are without a doubt quickly turned into consumers. The federal government, the federal courts, and individual citizens have taken a growing interest in the ethics of marketing to minors in recent years. Marketers have become interested in the powerful under eighteen market. According to Teenage Research Unlimited, teenagers spent over one hundred and seventy two billion dollars in 2001, up from one hundred billion dollars in 1995 (Choi 2003). ...read more.


Stephen Kline points out in his article Limits to the Imagination: Marketing and Children's Culture; "Marketing people know and accommodate this [popularity of products through importance level] by designing within television campaigns a saturation factor. Because of limited memories, children must be repeatedly exposed to the toy or brand name. They must also see other children play with them (in ads and real life) and become aware of the popularity of the item through peer as well as television pressure. Reach figures from eighty to ninety percent of market and five repeated exposures are considered the minimum to get recognition in the children's market and establish effective peer pressure. The importance of the idea of saturation is that it provides the means of engaging children's social perceptions." Advertising can create a fantasy world for children where harmful substances such as cigarettes and alcohol are appealing. Budweiser beer ads in the late 1990s captivated children with cartoons of frogs, penguins and lizards, making them kids' favorite ads year after year (Kaplan, p.41). Advertisers reap the benefits of the insecurity of teens and pre-teens, where having the right name brand clothes or trendy car can play a significant part in becoming popular. Brands act as stamps of authenticity, genuineness or group membership. ...read more.


Parents must work to shape a new political and social environment to protect children from advertising and marketing. Implementing some of the suggestions above can help reverse the damage inflicted on children at an early age by marketing, and better prepare them for making sound decisions as adults. Conclusion This paper began with a description of how marketers have influence over young children and ended with suggestions on how to stop this control over young minds. Using the language of the child, sensationalizing products, and taking advantage of their vulnerable minds are all effective ways marketers' ambush children through advertisements. Nevertheless, to help diminish this problem parents ought to limit and monitor what their children are viewing or playing with, and encourage them to participate in physical activities, or any activities that are set away from the claws of marketers. However, this might help reduce the problem but new areas of the ethical debate will also continue to grow. Some of these new issues are the controversies that are arising from the growth of the Internet and of global marketing. Both the government and parents need to be aware of this continuing debate as these new issues arise. The boundaries in media and advertising are rapidly changing. Children and adults need to be able to recognize the intensity of advertisements over young intellects, therefore, they can prevent themselves and others from being sucked into the corporate community. ...read more.

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