Marketing and advertising in the United States is creating needs rather than meeting the needs of our children. Advertising influence on children and teenagers is increasing beyond just television today. Children cannot escape the 40,000 ads that are on t.v. alone, keep in mind that is television alone, not including the pervasive influence of other media such as ad placement in programs and video games, toys, the internet, billboards, radio, mobile phones, and so much more. Obesity, cigarette and alcohol use, and the poor nutrition of our children and teenagers are contributed to exposure to this never ending barrage of ads. The facts are staggering.
I’m going to give you some numbers, quite a few numbers, but these are some statistics we all should be aware of and should startle parents. Did you know the average US child watches an estimated 25,000 to 40,000 television commercials per year, however, in the UK, it is considerably less, with 10,000? Also, $15-17 billion is spent in advertising to children in the US, with an unbelievable amount of over $4 billion spent by the fast food industry alone in 2009?(9,10) No wonder we have a nation of overweight and obese youth. With a “tween strategy”, major brands are receiving $30 billion from parents spending for their children. How do we fight an industry when 80% of all global brands deploy this strategy? (11)
Our children are viewing more than 3000 advertisements per day through the various medias such as t.v., internet, and magazines, and now even bathroom stalls. (1, 2) Look around you and your children, and take notice of all the places an ad is positioned. Really look. It’s astonishing. Everything from apparel with Marvel Comic characters on them to the latest unhealthy Happy Meal and the prize promoting a movie or cartoon. Children (under 12) and tweens and teens majorly influence parental purchases totaling over a bewildering $130-670 billion a year!(11) The ads are meant to create a “brand-name preference” in our children as young as possible.(3) With over 900,000 brands(2) in an industry worth over $250 billion, yes billion with a B, teenagers spending $155 billion per year, and children under 12 years old spending $25 billion, and we parents and grandparents spending another $200 billion per year(4,5), why wouldn’t they target younger and younger viewers? It’s a market rich with fresh new consumers being born every day. Children influence adults buying habits, and when they are able to be consumers themselves, the advertisers have already planted their seed early and that young consumer has the desire and preference for their products.
Did you look around as I asked you to earlier? Notice your sons Spiderman underwear or his Toy Story sheets, how about the Dora the Explorer backpack your daughter carries, or the Nike golf shirts your husband wears, or your Extend Lash mascara you were promised would make your lashes look like a movie stars. Food influence is the most incredible to me....