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Children Targeted Advertising Marketing Strategies Essay

Children Targeted Advertising Marketing Strategies Essay

Question Description

1. Fix this.

2. Write a really good thesis for the essay

3. write a minimum of two page, single space, outline perfectly.

4. Add words, straighten out sentences, etc. but DO NOT change or add resources

Here is the essay so far:

Marketing Ethics: Why Children Advertising is Unethical

Advertisements that target children have continued to be an issue of concern in the advertisement industry, considering that children have exposure to TV and digital media advertisements from their earliest years. The issue of children advertisement has been a source of controversy for long, with every party having different positions. For instance, supporters of children advertisements argue that these advertisements give children the power to develop some form of independence. They also get knowledge and information about various products. However, critics argue that children advertisements are extremely harmful to children considering that parents cannot control them, especially those from the internet. Also, critics argue that children advertisements result in the development of harmful behaviors among children, the development of gender-based stereotypes, and materialism opinions. Children are considered to be among the vulnerable consumer category, and claims of the negative outcomes and harm caused by children advertisements have resulted in moves by some governments to ban them or implement strict regulations to protect children. This paper will discuss from an ethical perspective, the harms caused by children targeted advertisements with an account of the social spheres where these advertisements take place.

Children advertising is an abusive form of advertisement since it takes advantage of children’s vulnerability and naivety to sell products and services, which is an unfair practice. According to Calvert (2008), children advertising is abusive and unfair due to the fact that most of the children believe in what they see, as well as get the perception that they will benefit or get the pleasure the advert promise. Unlike adults, children will believe in unreal and impossible things such as being famous or immediate strength from drinking an energy drink or eating chocolate. The reason why such advertisement is unfair is that children lacksufficient knowledge of what they are buying, while advertisers know what they are doing since the aim is to ensure children pressure parents to buy for them. However, supporters of children advertisements argue that the negative outcomes that come with children advertising should not deem it unfair (Rowthorn). Also, they argue that children targeted marketing is precluded without condemnation of the persuasiveness that improves children’s welfare or that which results in positive behaviors. In this case, controversies should not be the basis for banning advertisements or deeming them unfair since there lacks evidence to support the claims.

The other claim is that abusive messages used by advertisers ruin childhood fantasies. Children targeted by the advertisers are in the developmental stage and lack knowledge about the persuasiveness of the characters used to pass the messages. In most cases, children at this below eight years do not differentiate media content from advertisements, and this means they mix reality and fantasies (Lapierre et al.). Despite this argument, Grad (2015) provides that children in modern society have become knowledgeable and are able to detect the intentions and persuasiveness of advertising messages. In this case, most of them are not manipulated. However, studies about the issue have had contradicting conclusions. Also, the law provides that children cannot make life decisions, and thus, advertising messages approach them as fully developed consumers before by become mature.

Children targeted advertisements promote unhealthy behaviors. This is because they are considered to promote obesity (Calvert 206). Advertisements on TV feature foods and beverages that are of low nutritional value with high levels of saturated fats and sugars. These foods result in poor eating habits among children, which could contribute to the development of chronic diseases later in life. Calvert (2008 p. 206) argues that most of the food products that are advertised online and traditional media are not healthy and result in increased obesity cases among younger children, as well as adolescents. Also, there lacks effective government regulation to protect children from such adverts. On the other hand, Watne (2007) provides that harsh criticism regarding the contribution of children advertisements towards the rise in obesity cases is not based on facts.

Although critics call for the imposition of regulations, there is a need to assess the effectiveness of such regulations. For instance, available literature has failed to show that restrictive regulations generate the desired outcomes, as well as how advertisements result in increased obesity (Watne). In Sweden, advertisers claim that restricting or banning adverts targeted to children do not discourage children from engaging in unhealthy eating behavior. Research evidence shows that obesity cases have increased despite the bans contributing to the increasing obesity epidemic in Europe (Watne 2398). Other research shows that despite the claim that child-targeted food advertising promotes the intake of unhealthy foods, the character of children can result in the consumption of healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables as well (Lapierre et al.). There is a possibility that critics and skeptics will continue arguing that childhood obesity is associated with the advertisement of unhealthy foods. However, it is only anecdotal evidence that supports these claims. In this respect, the industry should respond to such claims and act responsibly rather than call for a ban on children targeted advertising.

Another argument is that children advertising contributes to gender-based stereotypes and materialistic view of life. According to a meta-analysis study, advertising characters and messages depict slim or thin girls/women as ideal and portray this as the acceptable standards. This is associated with negative body image among girls, which could affect children view of themselves as they develop (Lapierre et al.). Also, such advertisements result in a materialistic view of life, and continued bombardment of children with this message result in a situation where children define themselves by what they have, rather than what they are. According to Lapierre et al. (2017), such view of life creates a void that children attempt to fill by demanding for products, as a way of dealing with internal conflicts.

On the other hand, supporters of children’s advertisements argue that children advertising plays an informative role and results in freedom of expression, which is crucial in the development of a consumer economy. Also, advertisements equip children with skills and abilities that promote independence. Having adequate information and knowledge about products is critical for children since other than the negative outcomes, advertisements can help sell and develop positive attitudes that promote healthy living.

The other claim is that children targeted advertising has harmful effects on children since it results in the development of harmful habits and behavior. This is due to the fact that most of the children who are targeted by these advertisements fall into the traps. For instance, early exposure to alcohol advertisements could deliver unhealthy behavior to children, resulting in increased consumption of alcohol among children as they develop towards adolescents (Grad 46). This is an issue of concern since it could result in alcohol dependence in the future. On the other hand, Rowthorn (2019) argues that child advertising should not be banned on such a basis since advertising content can always be filtered to ensure children are not exposed to harmful content. This requires the development of regulations to ensure children advertising takes place ethically. Also, educational interventions should be made to ensure that children are empowered to improve their knowledge regarding the persuasive nature of such adverts. However, this does not account for the fact that alcohol-related advertisements could contribute to alcohol use among young children, especially adolescent children.

Children targeted advertising is also associated with increased conflicts and disputes between children, parents, and peers, which alter development. Studies show that children and adolescents are usually in the stage where their identities develop, and this means acceptance by parents and peer groups is important to them (Grad 46). However, advertising instills the need to have or possess certain brands to ensure they feel included and confident. Advertising messages motivate a child’s desire to acquire the product, and most of them do not tolerate being denied the satisfaction or benefits that come with the product. This could result in parent-child conflict or delinquency. Also, the trend towards what is ‘cool’ is developed from what people see. Such trends could result in a violation of rules or taboo. Some of these messages could target young children with marketing messages meant for older kids. Such practices could result in the hypersexualization of children. Also, separation by age or gender could undermine interactions and relationships that are crucial in the development of the child. However, supporters of children advertisements argue that parents play a critical role in ensuring that they improve their children’s understanding of advertisement (Lapierre et al.). Parents should also counteract harmful or undesirable impacts of such advertisements by talking to children. This shows that this form of advertisement should be accepted as a social norm and ensure the development of children ability to evaluate adverts and make informed decisions.

In conclusion, children targeted advertisements is a critical issue due to the harm associated with this form of advertisement. Children advertisement is considered to result in the development of harmful behaviors among children, unhealthy eating, which is associated with increased obesity, and materialism among children. This is an issue that requires in-depth discussion to ensure evidence-based action is taken to protect children from the negative effects of children advertisements. Critics and skeptics of children advertisements will likely continue to deem this type of advertising unhealthy and harmful. However, actions cannot be taken based on anecdotal evidence. This calls for the need to engage in ethical debates to investigate the role and influence of children targeted advertising on children in modern society. There is no denying that young children are vulnerable to advertisements. However, there is a need to address and establish limits or conditions under which this practice takes place.

Works Cited

Calvert, Sandra L. “Children as Consumers: Advertising and Marketing.” The Future of children / Center for the Future of Children, the David, and Lucile Packard Foundation. Vol. 18, 2008, pp. 205-34. DOI: 10.1353/foc.0.0001.

Grad, Iulia. “Ethical Considerations on Advertising to Children.” Postmodern Openings, Vol. 6, no.2, 2015, Pp.43-57. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.18662/po/2015.0602.04

Lapierre, Matthew A., Fleming-Milici, Frances., Rozendaal, Esther., McAlister, Anna R., and Castonguay, Jessica.The Effect of Advertising on Children and Adolescents. Pediatrics, 2017, vol. 140 (Supplement 2) S152-S156; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2016-1758V

Rowthorn, David. “Is Child Advertising Inherently Unfair?” Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 158, 2019, Pp. 603–615. 10.1007/s10551-017-3742-9.

Watne, Torgeir. (2007). Should TV Ads Aimed at Children Be Banned in Australia? ANZMAC, 2007, 2397-2405.

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