The Negative Impact Of Targeted Advertising On Adolescents And Children

2932 words - 12 pages

At the current time advertising can be represented in many ways - as a business, a fundamental ingredient of entrepreneurship or as an alternative way of communicating (William F. 2004). Originating from ancient times, its main purpose is to sell a product. William F. (2004, 6) claims that “every consumer is exposed to hundreds or even thousands of advertisements every day”. We view advertisements everywhere: on TV, banners, Web-sites, in magazines, newspapers, on sport events or even printed on tea cups, and all this is done with an aim to attract our attention. However, there are some advertisements which are targeted on a particular group of people, depending on age, sex, interests or even religion. These advertisements are defined as targeted. Companies like McDonald`s, Calvin Klein, Victoria`s Secret and Coca-Cola successfully practice targeted commercials, selling apparel, fast-food, perfume, intimates and other products.
For decades, targeted advertisement directed to children and teenagers was a somewhat controversial issue. Every year young people are exposed to 40,000 advertisements on television only, not counting number of advertisements on the Internet or on billboards. This exposure could be responsible for excess weight in children and consumption of alcohol and tobacco by teenagers (Strasburger 2001). Despite existent positive effects of targeted advertisements, negative impacts significantly outweigh them, and it is clear that targeted advertising carries noticeable harm for children`s education, health, psychology and social life. This essay will evaluate impact of targeted advertising on children and adolescents considering its possible positive and negative effects. Which include obesity and ‘sexualization’ of children, rise of harmful addictions as negative effects, whereas positive effects are economic benefits, increase in employment level and in change of ethical attitudes.
Children represent a large consumer power to marketers and advertisers. Firstly, because of the amount of money children spend themselves. Secondly, because of the influence they have on parents spending. Thirdly, because of their buying potential, so when they grow up they will become permanent consumers. The last reason is that they can easily be lured by advertisements. Buying and spending parents` money on sweets, food, drinks, video and electronic products, toys, games, movies, sports, clothes and shoes children bring big profits to companies. The reason for targeting advertising is huge income, brought to companies. According to Goodman (1999) children advertisement industry represents in more than $250 billion/year profits to marketers, and has approximately 900 000 brands to sell.
Attracting children whilst they are young is a successful strategy for advertisers. The reason is the growing consuming potential of the children. As the youth gets older their needs become bigger. Furthermore, they become more dependent on money, so they spend...

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