Advertising is inescapable. All hours of our days we are bombarded with a variety of forms of advertisement. From the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep, advertisement is present. Adults are not the only individuals that are exposed to advertising.
In today’s market, children are perceived as a viable market. Millions of dollars are being invested worldwide in targeting this growing segment. Years ago, children were not referred to as customers. They were merely children of consumers. Targeting the parents was the prevailing way to reach the children.
There has been a shift in the focus of advertising’s targeted audience. Currently, there is an abundance advertising on television aimed at children. These commercials include, but are not limited to food, drink, music, films, and clothing to young consumers from toddlers to teenagers. Not only are advertisers targeting children in commercials, but in product placement in television shows and movies.
There are arguments for and against targeted advertising for children. Some confidently explain that advertising and product placement helps integrate children into our society. Other also in support, say that banning is a restriction of free speech. Many also feel that banning such advertising or product placement would negatively effect the production of products and entertainment aimed at children.
On the flip-side, advertising targeted at young children can be exploitive and encourage the start of poor habits and decision making. It has also been stated that such targeted marketing is unethical in that children can not critically engage with higher forms of communication.
Children are targeted in commercials during morning cartoons and children’s programming. Product placement is in everywhere – in their Disney movies, in the television they catch adults watching, and movies that aren’t necessarily meant for children.
I have attached a mashup video that looks at product placement in various movies. While it is 6:30 long, it is an interesting historical look at at start of product placement. Although, some clips are strictly children’s movies, we know that children are also watching adult movies.
As adults we are “supposedly” immune to such integrations of products, but what about children? Can they process the information and acknowledge it as merely a placement? Or are their cognitive abilities not yet matured? In comparison to to adults, children have a limited cognitive functioning skills, making them vulnerable to commercial messages.
I’ll admit, when I see certain products in movies, especially food products, there are times I want to go out and purchase the food. And this is coming from an adult who knows and understands the purpose and reason behind such placements.
Do you think that product placement in children’s movies should be banned? Does it truly affect children in a way we should be concerned? Does it affect their ability to make good food choices, when fast food is consistently being shown in movies and programs?