Why do Ads Target Children? Have you ever been in an isle of a store and heard, but mom I really want this I saw it on television? This is a product of advertising. Since the late 1980’s children have emerged as a key demographic to marketers. Advertisements selling everything from the latest video game to the newest automobile are now targeted to the youth of our world. Children have buying power that sways their parents’ purchases, and they are the future consumer. Marketing to children is creating the children’s ability to nag a parent into purchases.
Nagging or “Pester Power” is the most used strategy in the market today. The theory behind this is rather than going straight to the parent, give the child the buying power. Children are much more persuasive in the middle of a shopping trip than that commercial the parent heard two hours ago. Children often get their “wants” based on their persistence of needing a product. If someone asks you whether you want a Coke or Pepsi, you immediately know you’re being asked about a carbonated cola beverage — with distinct yet subtle differences between the two.
Which ever brand you choose, Coke or Pepsi shows that somewhere along the line you developed a preference for that product. In Advertising it is called product loyalty. Marketers use Repetition of products children have no current use for such as a Ford Truck to build brand recognition in hopes that as an adult they will buy that Ford verses the Chevrolet. It also works with things such as Cake mixes. A child watches the Betty Crocker cake mix ad, nags the parent into buying and using the product. Then in turn buys the product as an adult based on their experience as a child.
The Market has seen a new angle to encourage children to buy brand X over the competitor’s product. Many schools have lost funding due to our economic downfall. So advertisers such as Campbell’s soup have come up with campaigns such as “Labels for Education”. Basically you buy their product. Send in the label and earn stuff for your school. This gives both children and parents a creditable reason for buying the product. Corporations are also gaining access to advertise in public schools in exchange for materials. Frito Lay will sponsor events in schools in exchange for tagging their logo n flyers advertising the event. Children are easily influenced by things they see. Nine times out of ten a child will pick the cereal with Hannah Montana on the box over the box that she’s not on. Since the days of radio children have been introduced to the idea that if I want to be a star I should eat the same cereals that the stars’ eats. The use of role models and celebrities to influence children is used everywhere. If it is meant for the use or consumption of a child you will most likely find a celebrity attached to it. On average there are three televisions and one computer in every home.
So it is no wonder how advertising can reach so many children. Just a child sitting down to do some school researches can be inundated with hundreds of advertisements in an hour’s time. A half hour television special contains at the least 10 minutes of commercials. Just about everywhere you look someone is trying to sell something. Although, children have no direct income of their own we often overlook their buying power. In today’s busy world parents have tendency to buy more to satisfy their children. From candy bars to flat screens never underestimate the buying power of a whining child.
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