Introduction: Today's society rarely seems to question the issue of advertising and selling to minors and is seen as a normal business practice
Introduction: Today's society rarely seems to question the issue of advertising and selling to minors and is seen as a normal business practice. In the past this practice was frowned upon but in today's society marketers are no longer considered unethical for their actions. Children today are surrounded by various types of advertising which encourages them to consume the products they see on television, in magazines, at the movies, on the Internet and on billboards. And consume they do. Marketing which is geared for children has great influence on their habits and attitudes and there are great consequences that come with this amount power over them. This paper will look at the ethical issues involved with this issue.
The federal government, the federal courts, and some individual citizens have taken a growing interest in the ethics of marketing to minors in recent years due to the growing influence of these products on the development of our children. Marketers have become very aware of powerful under eighteen market. Advertising directed at children is estimated at over $15 billion annually - about 2.5 times more than what it was in 1992. (citation 1) Over the past two decades, the degree to which marketers have scaled up efforts to reach children is staggering. In 1983, they spent $100 million on television advertising to kids. Today, they pour roughly 150 times that amount into a variety of mediums that seek to infiltrate every corner of children's worlds. (citation 2) With this scale of growth in the spending habits and influence they have on their parents children have become a leading consumer group. This has made them one of the world's most targeted consumer groups for marketing purposes.
Marketing to minors raises significant ethical issues, since many researchers (and marketers) believe that minors are more impressionable than adults. Many marketers view children as an important consumer group to be used to fuel sales growth. Marketers are progressively increasing the money they spend on advertising to children because of the amount of money they spend themselves, the influence they have on their parents spending and because of the money they will spend as they enter the adulthood. Increasingly, the public sees this persuasive advertising to children as a form of exploitation.
One of the significant ethical issues of this debate is the ages of the targeted consumer group. The marketers target all age groups under 18 with little or no concern of their stage of development. I find this to be of great concern, a child under 8 or 9 years old have very little comprehension of the value of the products they are buying or requesting, if the product is appropriate for them and the concept of whether something is affordable or not. Due to the complexities of the...