Posted: October 17th, 2013
Advertising on Children Should Be Prohibited
Advertising is among the most widely utilized marketing techniques within the business industry. Most organizations utilize advertising as a marketing tool in order to facilitate the sale of their products and services among different age demographics. Advertising augments consumerism as it encourages persons to purchase commodities and services in order to realize satisfaction based on their diverse needs. Nevertheless, the effect of advertising has influenced various age groups that range from adults and children. Thus, it is important to illustrate the effect of advertising on children and the reasons that lead to the conclusion that advertising on children exploits them and affects them negatively in the modern society.
Advertising possesses various positive effects on children. Foremost, advertising enables children to be responsive and aware of the novel products that are accessible within the respective market. As such, advertising enables children to enhance their general knowledge based on the newest technological innovations. Consequently, advertising empowers children by allowing them to engage in healthy lifestyles. This is possible with persuasive advertisements that advise children on the importance of healthy diets and lifestyle. Additionally, specific advertisements, with powerful messages, provide children with the incentive to focus on achieving their own future prospects on various careers such as medicine, piloting and engineering. Such advertisements cultivate the fervor in children concerning their future and enable them to realize the significance of education. Lastly, particular advertisements inculcate good and important routine habits within children. For instance, toothpaste-based advertisements raise firm awareness on the significance of dental hygiene among children.
Regardless, the negative impact of advertising on children cannot be avoided. The extent of the conveyance of children advertisements is depicted through the strategy that advertisers use to gain the young population. Pardun (26) alleges that advertisers choose children as their target since “they are easy to lure”. In 1980, advertisers utilized over US$ 100 billion dollars and that figure has since increased by double in 2001 where advertsiers spent US$ 230 billion on advertising solely. In addition, the average child views 20000 advertisements per year, which collectively adds up to 55 advertisements within a day (Pardun, 49). Such advertisements persuade children into coercing their parents or immediate custodians to buy commodities or even go as far as purchasing the products themselves. Thus, the pervasiveness of advertising in the contemporary era has drastically increased with respect to the mentioned figures. As such, this has added to the unconstructive impacts within the young mentalities of children.
Among the unconstructive impacts witnessed among children, misinterpretation is one of the most considerable influences. Childhood is one of the psychological and physical processes that human beings go through in order to achieve maturity. Through this, it is evident that children are in the process of development. Therefore, using advertisements centered on children increases the tendency to convey wrong subliminal messages based on several issues. Most of the misinterpretations conceived from advertising are often accredited to the tools utilized in advertising to popularize goods and services among children. One of the tools widely used is celebrity endorsements. For a long time, celebrities such as actors, musicians and cartoon characters have been utilized by firms in order to vouch for the commodities they plan to market. Such personalities have been utilized by companies as brand identity for the respective products in order to persuade children to purchase the products based on the products’ brand identity, which is associated with their favorite celebrities (Klein, 56).
In addition, the celebrities that are revered as popular and significantly favored by children persuade the young ones to engage in insignificant buying of the endorsed products, which are often unsuitable for their ages. For example, if an advertisement based on an alcohol drink were to be endorsed by a child celebrity such as Miranda Cosgrove, children would misconstrue the advertisement, which advertises the beverage for a dissimilar target market, by craving to use the product with respect to its use by one of their favorite personalities. Furthermore, the advertisement, which has been designed specifically to appeal to an older age demographic, can easily persuade a younger age demographic based on the celebrity’s personality among the diverse age groups within the population (CAMY, 108). As such, the advertisement meant for an older age group can affect a younger age group negatively due to the use of celebrity endorsing.
Lifestyle change is also another negative attribute that is related to the negativity of children advertisements. Advertising has been connected to the increasing rates of obesity among children. According to Musemeche (2012), nations such as Canada have prohibited the incorporation of fast-food advertisements among children. The ban has led to a decrease in the degree of obesity among children in the country, especially Quebec. The use of children advertisements interferes with their lifestyles. This is because the commercials focus on promoting diets that are unhealthy and dangerous for the children. Most of the states in America are affected by advertisements that focus on promoting sugary and fast foods thus encouraging mass consumption of such foods. In addition, most advertisers have incorporated personalities in their advertising strategy in order to encourage the consumption of such foods.
For instance, most advertisers have used the cartoon protagonist, Shrek, in order to promote candy, junk food and sugary cereals. This is because Shrek is a popular character and is usually depicted as caring and affectionate by children. Other cartoon characters such as Superman and Captain America have been altered into action figures by companies that manufacture cereals to coax children into consumption of unhealthy products and junk foods. In addition, children have been persuaded to engage in the consumption of such unhealthy foods by incorporating related advertisements within schools. Smith (2012) implies that Texas schools encourage advertisements through facilities such as buses in order to promote fund raising. Smith adds that incorporating advertisements within schools affects decisive thinking negatively among children. For example, advertisements promoting fast foods in educational institutions challenge nutrition lectures by instructors.
In conclusion, advertisements are innately based on targeting. This implies that advertisements are constructed in a manner that will allow them to attract the current and potential target market that the respective corporations seek to possess as regular customers. The advertising sector has become capable of affecting children’s healthy lives by persuading them to engage in the consumption of fast foods and inedible materials. As such, the rate of lifestyle diseases such as obesity and diabetes has increased exponentially among children. Regardless of such effects, governments possess the legal authority to regulate the hazardous influences of advertisements on children. Therefore, such authority can be carried out by formulating and implementing policies that advocate for regulation of the advertised content and in extreme cases, censorship based on advertisement. By implementing such policies, the negative effect of advertisements and exploitation of children is bound to reduce in grandeur.
Klein, Naomi. No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies. New York: Picador, 2000. Print.
Musemeche, Catherine. “Ban on Advertising on Children Linked to lower Obesity Rates”. The New York Times. 13 Jul. 2012. Web. 7 Mar. 2013. <http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/13/ban-on-advertising-to-children-linked-to-lower-obesity-rates/>
Pardun, Carol J. Advertising and Society: Controversies and Consequences. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. Print.
Smith, Morgan. “Seeking Money, Texas Schools Turn to Advertisements”. The New York Times. 16 Feb. 2012. Web. 7 Mar. 2013. <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/17/education/texas-schools-turn-to-ads-in-search-of-needed-money.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0/>
Sullum, Jacob. “Alcohol Advertising Does Not Target Children”. Advertising: Opposing Viewpoints. Ed. Laura Egendorf. Farmington Hills: Greenhaven Press, 2006. 107-110. Print.
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