The Effects Of Advertising On Children

2540 words - 10 pages

The documentary Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood by Adriana Barbaro and Jeremy Earp clearly shows how the ever-evolving industry of advertising has targeted children, and the detrimental effects advertising can have on them. As mentioned by Barbaro and Earp (2008) throughout the documentary, once the “floodgates opened”, multiple advertising companies began to do their best to bombard children with as many advertisements as possible, insinuating as many brands as possible into their lives, and eventually attempting to make them “brand-loyal.” (Barbaro & Earp, 2008; Eagle, Bulmer, Bruin, & Kitchen, 2005). It is then imperative to understand and analyze why such companies do so, and the universal consequences of such tactics. Through analysis of the advertising activities of these companies, this paper will demonstrate how damaging the advertising industry is towards children, the universal consequences of such tactics, and what needs to be done in regards to such advertising companies to prevent even further damaging consequences for children in the future. While the first half of this paper will deal with how the advertising market has evolved over time, the second half will examine the effects and significant ramifications of advertising, and potential solutions for bettering advertising will be proposed. Thus, an analysis of the evolving advertising market, including discussion on the effects and consequences of advertising to children today will not only prove how children’s marketing is a social problem, but also propose how children’s lives can be improved through advertising regulation.
Advertising is the paid service of promoting a product and influencing consumers’ attitudes through various forms of media (Eze & Lee, 2012). Today, the goal of the advertiser is to have a brand consistently in the faces of young, vulnerable, children (Barbaro & Earp, 2008). One of the main reasons that targeting and marketing to children is a social problem relates to the overall evolution of the advertising industry itself. Firstly, the new age of advertising, which has children being exposed to over 3,000 commercial advertisements today, started around the 1970s, when advertising truly became its own industry (Barbaro & Earp, 2008). In the 1970s, the Federal Trade Commission felt it was necessary to ban advertisements aimed at children 8 and under due to the belief that children were being deceived by television advertising (Barbaro & Earp, 2008; Strasburger, et al., 2006). However in 1980, the US Congress ultimately took away the FTC’s authority in making rules surrounding children’s advertisements (Barbaro & Earp, 2008). Furthermore, Ronald Reagan deregulated children’s advertising in 1984, and through the 1980s until the 90s, kid spending rose to 35% annually as opposed to the previous amount of kid spending growing 4% annually from 1950 to 1980 – an 852% increase (Barbaro & Earp, 2008). Companies go out of their way to promote...

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