Advertising and children

  • Do children understand the difference between programmes and adverts?
  • Pester power and the effectiveness of children's advertising
  • Evaluation of advertising to children
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Pester power

Pine and Nash (2001) found that:

  • There was a direct positive correlation between exposure to television and amount of gifts on children's Christmas lists to Father Christmas.
  • The correlation was particularly strong for those who watched TV alone, suggesting parents have a mediating influence on the connection between exposure and request.
  • Did not find a relationship between specfic products and subsequent gift requests.
  • Compared data with children from Sweden (where advertising is banned for children under 12) and found that there were significantly lower gift requests.
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Do children understand the difference between prog

Young (1990) coined the term 'advertising literacy' which refers to an individuals understanding that advertising is very different to regular TV programming and it also has a persuasive intent.

Robertson and Rossiter (1974) found that 73.5% of 5 year olds could discriminate between the two and found that 100% of 9 year olds could do this. This suggests advertising literacy improves with age.

  • Also measured how children attributed persuasive intent, if they trusted adverts, liked adverts and wanted the products advertised.
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Evaluation of advertising in children

Difficulties in establishing the role of television in behaviour

  • Pine and Nash's (2001) study found that parental mediation during television watching plays an important role in behaviour.
  • However, it is just as possible that the coversations with peers can influence subsequent behaviours.

Implications for legislation on advertising to children

  • A ban on advertising wouldn't rule out children's influence over parental purchases of family goods, such as holiday destinations.
  • Modern day children occupy a different position in the family regarding decision making, having considerable power over parental choice.
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