الاعلان و تاثيره على الاطفال و المراهقين

اتجهت صناعة الاعلان في السنوات القليلة السابقة الي التركيز على الاطفال و المراهقين كقوة شرائية كبرى, ذلك عن طريق توجيه السياسات التسويقية و الاعلانية بشكل اساسي و مركز الي الاطفال عن طريق وسائل تسويقية و اعلانية متنوعة . يري المعلن ان الاطفال و المراهقين هم قوه سوق هائلة  لما لهم من تاثير انى و تاثير مستقبلى تراكمي ايضا. يقدم البحث طرحا لتاثير الاعلان على الاطفال و المراهقين من الناحية السلوكية و الجسمانية  و لماذا يستهدف المعلن الاطفال بشكل اساسي. كما يناقش اخلاقيات استهداف المعلن للاطفال و المراهقين كمستهلكين  . و يتناول البحث التاثيرات الايجابية و السلبية للاعلان على الطفل . و يسرد البحث السياسات و التنظيمات المعتمدة فى مصر و العالم للاعلان الموجه للاطفال و المراهقين .

مقدم من : م.د. دينا جمال الدين عبود      المدرس بقسم الاعلان    كلية الفنون التطبيقية   جامعة حلوان

dina_aboud@hotmail.com    0124689190

Advertising and its Influence on Children Teenagers

Abstract:

Children are our future. They are ones that must carry on traditions, continue to build and develop new public projects, and continue to learn and expand the knowledge of the human race. With that said it is important to understand that children are also future consumers. They are the engines that will drive the economy for the next generation, for advertisers the future is now. Advertising to children and teenagers has long been a very successful way to build a solid consumer base that will win the minds of children and teenagers in order to secure a lifetime of consumer purchasing. It may sound heartless but the fact is, it works, and advertising to children is big business. The correlation between children and teenagers and advertising has two aspects. The first is how advertising affects, received and perceived by children and teenagers. The second is how children and teenagers are portrayed in advertisements. The research will approach the subject from its first aspect.

 

Advertising and its Influence on Children and Teenagers

Preface :

Today, everywhere we go we see some type of advertising. A sale at the supermarket or a billboard for a radio station, are two of the many forms of advertisement. Marketers choose children because they can easily lure them in. Children and teenagers represent a great target for advertisers and marketers across the world. Not only are they easily swayed by advertising, they are great at encouraging parents to buy these products. Increasingly, in Egypt, advertisers are seeking to find new and creative ways of targeting young consumers via the Internet, in schools, and even in bathroom stalls.(Strasburger VC. 2001;22:185–187).

Fig 1: over loaded childhood ( O’Barr (2011)

Advertising has a pervasive influence on children. For that reason, several European countries forbid or severely restrict advertising to children; Australia forbids advertising during pre-school shows. Austria and Belgium also have banned advertising during kids shows. Sweden and Norway ban all advertising to children under 12 and during children’s while the United States on the other hand is the only developed country not to restrict advertising to children. In Egypt, advertising to children is simply the usual and there are no limits or restrictions to advertising to children.   (Strasburger VC. 2001;22:185–187). In Egypt advertising to children and teenagers has not been studied thoroughly, published research in this topic is scarce, it is an under researched area, see (Abd El-Aziz Ali, H. , 2007; Ali, 1988; Ateya; 1990; Abd El-Wahab, 1992; Zaki, 1992; Abu-Shady, 1993; Shafeek, 1994)

Young people view more than 40,000 ads per year on television alone. The average young person views more than 3,000 ads per day on television (TV), on the Internet, on billboards, and in magazines.( Goodman E., 1999:C3). Research in Egypt has shown that the average child in Cairo watches TV 28 hours a week. And children under 3 years old spend 1/6 their day watching TV (Altahera , 2011).  Increasingly, advertisers are targeting younger and younger children in an effort to establish “brand-name preference” at as early an age as possible ( McNeal J. ,1992) .This targeting occurs because advertising is a billions/year industry with  at least 900,000 brands to sell in the United States alone .( Goodman E., 1999:C3).

Table 1: childhood classification for advertisers

Market Segment

60s

70s

80s

90s

Now

Toddlers

0–3

Preschoolers

2–5

2–5

2–5

2–5

Kids

2–11

6–11

6–8

6–8

6–8

[Pre-teens] Tweens

9–12

9–12

9–12

Teens

13–15

13–15

O’Barr (2011)

 

Global business:

Advertising to children and teenagers is a global business strategy, the European Union estimates to generate between $620 to $930 million a year in revenue from marketing products to children. The total ad spending in Egypt in 2010 reached at US $ 1.49 billion.  (PARC report).  Research asserted that children in the USA are attractive consumers:  teenagers spend $155 billion/year, children younger than 12 years spend another $25 billion, and both groups influence perhaps another $200 billion of their parents’ spending per year. (Quart A. 2003).

Research has shown that young children, younger than 8 years, are cognitively and psychologically defenseless against advertising. See (Kunkel D.: Singer DG, Singer JL, eds. 2001:375–393), (Strasburger VC, Wilson BJ.; 2002) , (Unnikrishnan N, Bajpai S.; 1996).  Children do not understand the notion of intent to sell and frequently accept advertising claims at face value (Macklin MC, Carlson L, eds. 1999).The way that advertisers target children is simple. Big, bright lights, happy people and animated characters are all that is needed to encourage children into thinking a certain product is something they want. Not only on the psychological and the cognitive sides, but also, according to the American Psychological Association, Television advertising leads to unhealthy habits in children. Exposure to advertising may contribute significantly to childhood obesity, poor nutrition, violence and cigarette use (American Psychological Association).

Debate has been present about advertising to children and whether to ban it or to restrict it or not, since the 1960s. Research has taken different approaches, from children’s consuming behaviour, to consumer socialization in the 1970’s, and other approaches. The majority of the theoretical work and research is done in the USA and other European countries; very little research investigates the influence of advertising on children from developing and Middle Eastern countries especially Egypt. Some came to the conclusion that it was unfair and deceptive to advertise to children younger than 6 years (Federal Trade Commission, 1981).  Researching age as an influencing agent that practically influenced some Western countries, as Sweden and Norway forbid all advertising directed at children younger than 12 years, Greece bans toy advertising until after 10 PM, and Denmark and Belgium severely restrict advertising aimed at children.( Valkenburg PM.,2000).

In today’s globalised world, children are exposed more to all kinds of advertising. Satellites and children’s TV channels are affecting children more and more. Advertisements from all over the globe are shown on different TV channels to children from different backgrounds. Children are no longer restrained to their local cultures and identities or their class. Global cultural values, with different economic, social and political approaches are shown in a persisting manner through advertisements running all day from all over the globe. It is even getting harder to limit the influence of advertising on children to ads specially targeting children, today children are exposed to ads  targeting  both children and  adults.

Effects and techniques of advertising:

Advertisements like other genres of media and communication has two effects on children. The first is an immediate effect, where they individually receive the ads’ messages and interpret, perceive and act immediately according to it. The ad here should be fresh, attractive and new. The second is an accumulative effect, where the child receives several messages, all linked in space and time. This kind of effect is collectively perceived in the children’s society.

According to Hal Becker, advertising is one of the “soft powers” that affect the children’s minds, cultures, approaches, values and directions. Ads as references are providing children with behaviors, attitudes, life styles, preferences, experiences…. and even dreams and ambitions. As a multimedia, audio, visual media, ads have a great influence on children and teenagers. Research asserts that a great percentage of the human knowledge is transferred through audio/ visual medium, while perception increases by 35% if multimedia is used. O’Barr (2011)

Advertisers have traditionally used techniques to which children are more susceptible, such as product placements in movies and TV shows (Sargent JD, et al, 2001), tie-ins between movies and fast food restaurants, tie-ins between TV shows and toy action figures or other products,  kids’ clubs that are linked to popular shows, and celebrity endorsements. Coca-Cola reportedly paid Warner Bros. Studios $150 million for the global marketing rights to the movie “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,”( AAP News. 2002;20:36), and fast food restaurant ads now mention a toy premium in their ads.

Advertisers spent $105.97 billion in 1980. This number more than doubled in 2001 when it reached $230 billion (Laws, 2003). In the year 2000, the Census reported 105 million households in America, meaning advertisers spend an average of $2,190 on one household per year. Advertisers spend this much money because of television. The average child sees an estimate of more than 20,000 commercials every year – that works out to at least 55 commercials per day (Laws, 2003). Children will insist their parents purchase what they see or hear on television. In the 1960’s, children had an influence on about $5 billion of their parent’s purchases. That figure increased to $50 billion in 1984 and tripled to $188 billion in 1997. James McNeal, a kids marketing expert, estimates children twelve and under will influence $500 billion of family purchases by the year 2000 (Laws, 2003).

 

Ongoing debate: good or bad

Currently, advertisements that target children and teenagers are very controversial. Some see advertising to children as a great economic engine, while others put it as a devastating force. On one hand, positive views say that advertising to children and teenagers has long been a part of the free market form of society and must be embraced as another part of a complex economic engine that runs day and night to provide a better life style for all. Advertising to children generates jobs, injects money into the economy, and instills in children at a young age the importance of the freedom of choice. It also develops a child’s ability to understand the value of money and teaches them that individuals can achieve anything if they are willing to pay the price. According to Karen J. Pine and Avril Nash,  people must “understand that the advertiser’s motive is to sell a product.” It is easy to see how directly advertising to children can generate huge profits for companies, there by helping our economy.

On the other hand, research shows, it is not ethical to target children with advertisements, as they are not yet able to distinguish advertising from actual programming in the way adults can. Tawfik, L. Asserts that media education should be introduced to children from early age, that is to acquire the essential skills of receiving advertising. She argues that before learning about media, children would not have any skills to deal with all media forms including advertising.  This means that advertising aimed at children is misleading and unfair. It is also clearly effective, as otherwise advertisers would not spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year targeting children who are not yet able to resist their sales pitch.

children prior to 11 years of age lack adult-like reasoning that allows them to understand the role of commercial messages as not simply informative but also persuasive and to distinguish clearly commercials from programming materials. Information-processing theory, another area of psychological investigations, provides findings that children under age 11 or so have not fully developed their abilities to acquire, encode, organize, and retrieve information. This means in practice that they do not have adult-like abilities to use the information in commercial messages (O’Barr, William M.  (2011).

Many researchers criticize advertising methods, claiming they border on mind control. Advertising to children is a way to ensure a life long, loyal consumer, it forms a child into a trained purchasing machine. Exploitative advertising brainwashes children into becoming eager consumers and capitalists. Multinational companies deliberately encourage them to be materialistic so that they associate happiness with purchasing power and the possession of particular goods. A study recently found that children in Sweden, where marketing campaigns to the under 12s are banned, wanted significantly fewer toys than children in Britain, where there are no restrictions. See (committee on communication, the American academy of pediatrics, and 2006). Psychologists and sociologists claim that advertisers use their theories to further manipulate the children rather that benefit them.

Food, clothing and toys are just a few of the many types of advertisements being influenced upon children daily. Many advertisements being directed towards children are that of food. Many of these food advertisements that children are being exposed to are products that are of low nutritional value. McDonalds spends roughly $570 million a year on advertising (McNeal 2001).  In Egypt, a research done in 1991 in both Cairo and Zagazeeg  shows that children between 10 and 12 years old,  have general consuming tendency according to and after  watching advertisements. 44.7% are more interested in sweets while 35.3% are more interested in movies (Altahera , 2011)

Negative aspects:

Literature viewed suggests that advertising to children and teenagers has negative aspects that are over throwing the benefits. Advertising aimed at children brings negative social consequences, as much of it is for food and drinks that are very unhealthy. Encouraging gullible children and teenagers to consume so much fatty, sugary and salty food is unethical because it creates obese, unhealthy youngsters, with bad eating habits that will be with them for life. Society also has to pay a high price in terms of the extra medical care such children will eventually require, so  governments should have a direct interest in preventing advertisements which contribute to this problem.

Advertisements encourage the children to persuade their parents to purchase the products shown in the commercials, whether useful or not. Children often tend to misinterpret the messages conveyed in commercials. They overlook the positive side and concentrate more on the negatives. Many advertisements in the present times include dangerous stunts, which can be performed only by experts. Even though the commercials broadcast the statutory warnings with the ad, the kids often try to imitate the stunts at home, with fatal results. Some ads contain inappropriate, socially offensive words or deeds that affect the children behavior.

The advertisements broadcast in television generate impulsive shopping in children. Children, after watching commercials, often lose the ability to live a life without materialistic joy. The kids usually get more attracted towards the costly branded products. They disregard the inexpensive, but useful, ones that are not shown in the commercials. Advertisements have an indirect effect on the behavior of children. They might develop temper tantrums, when deprived of the latest toys and clothes that are shown in the commercials. The personal preferences in clothing, toys, food and luxurious of children are altered by the advertisements, to a great extent. Junk foods, such as pizzas, burgers and soft drinks, are heavily promoted to children. This develops a craving for fatty, sugary and fast foods in kids, thereby affecting their health adversely.

According to (Alsayed, 2011), children and teenagers in the Arab world are affected negatively by advertising. He summarized his view saying that advertising to children provide an unreal image of families, their members and daily life. Moreover it suggests unfamiliar behavior patterns and socially estranged manners. The language, natural language, used in advertising to children mostly is not socially appropriate in its content and style. He added that advertising to children affects their materialistic approach, and tendencies, turning them into a hungry buying machine that takes on consumerism in its very irrational direction.

Literature on this subject added to all the negative aspects that are drawn to advertising. Violence has been the icing on the cake. To top it all research suggested that advertising to children and teenagers increases their violent behavior. Over the years there has been an increasing amount of violence in media directed towards children. There have also been an increasing number of violent acts directed toward children and the high degree of these acts that children see on television, in movies, computer games, videotapes, and the large number of violent toys.  Not very far from these is advertising, some ads convey a violent message, manner or/ and deed. A great part of researchers and associations concerned with children’s well being, feel that the increasing number of violence endangers children from growing up in a mentally stable way.

There are three consistent problems when children watch television violence (NAEYC, 2003): children will notice others pain less, they may become scared of things in the world they live in, and they are more likely to show aggressive behavior towards other people. When children see violence all around them in media, they will feel that violence is the answer when they are angry or disturbed. NAEYC would like to start putting limits on the amount of violence put on television during the time when children will most likely be watching. They also would like to limit the amount of advertising on television during these times, so that kids can tell the advertisements and the television show apart.

In a try to limit the damaging effect of violence watched on TV and specially advertising, children have to be thought that television is not real and that violence should not be the answer to solve problems. Shows and times watched by children should be regulated.  Global concern has been paid into how to rational the effect of advertising on children. Protecting children has been the priority of researchers, governments, advertising associations and other non governmental organizations.  In the EU, the ASA (advertising standards authority) in the UK is working on a code of conduct that govern advertising to children and even any exposure to ads by children. Some restrictions are proposed; advertising in pre-school television programming times to be banned, limited advertising in school-age children’s television programming times – a maximum of 10 minutes per hour, plus 2 minutes of appropriately classified station promotions. Advertising must be clearly recognizable as such and not part of the editorial content of children’s programmes. There are also suggested rules around spin-off products, repetition, competition and sponsorship. Ads for food or drinks in school-age children’s programming have to be approved by a classification system before screening

A leap ahead other European countries like Sweden has put a ban on advertising to children under 12, other countries show ads concerning children’s toys after 10 pm. Although researchers in the arab world and specially in Egypt have demanded any kind of action to protect children’s future, let alone any law, laws regulating advertising has not by any mean touched upon regulating the advertising industry dealing with the children.

The only regulating body that was concerned with the well fare of children in Egypt was the Radio and Television Union and the following are their regulations concerning advertising to children:

ARTICLE NO. 8:  “There shall exist a distinctive caution regarding the advertisements directed to the children or that the children participate in presenting it, as the persuasion power  represented in the mass  media  especially the TV doesn’t suit & the faintness of these children , so the advertisement should  respect  the character of  the child , that the children  whom participated in introducing  one of the advertisements should act in correct healthy way indicating to their well brought up & educating , the advertisement should not cause  any moral or  mental  or psychological or physical harm for children or to exploit their emotions   in anyway” .

It must be regarded in the advertisements for the children the following:

  • The advertisement should not leave any  effect on the  children  that if they don’t  buy this good  or demand for the advertised service that will affect their  health & future  or  enface them  to  the disrespect feeling  or sarcasm from their fellows  .
  •  The advertisement should not   urge the children to annoy their parents or insisting on buying the good or demanding the service.
  •  Should not use  the advertising tones  that  includes  explicitly that if the  child got  the good  he will become  better than  all the other children
  • The advertisement should contribute in developing the abilities of the child perceptions, his conceptions for general ethics.
  •  The documents and the evidences  should  be identical accurately  and truthful with  all the advertising claims  which are  mentioned  in the advertisement message  and don’t leave any  scope  for obscurity or misunderstanding  by the child .
  • It is not allowed to use any  information  that may lead  to arousing the fear and the worry of the children  or to affect on their  vitality and activity  or any information  includes the  appeal for violence or rebellion  against the  social system or  the law esteem , the system or  the authority of the responsible .

Although these regulations are there, research found that they are not of great effect. With all satellite channels, and high competition, these regulations are not anymore valid for the present time. And further more, they can not be implemented. Egypt lacks the presence of any kind of regulating body that governs advertising practice and specially the social aspects of advertising. This absence of governing bodies results in a turbulence relation between vulnerable social segments like children and advertising practices.

Research asserts that children are more sensitive to receiving and perceiving moving scenes accompanied by sounds and colours even more than adults. They respond differently and their attention, sensual perception and memory work in a more receptive way. They react to advertising and perceive it as a major source of knowledge and experience. Media aspects, advertising come in the second place  as a social reference after the parents to children. That is why advertising practitioners and theorists need to have a governing protocol, regulating body and social awareness to protect the future generations that are prone to major wrong practices from some advertisers.

Spreading socially wronged doings, bad consumption, disrespect, greed, violence and other unpleasant manners are growing more and more in contemporary advertising in Egypt. This research found that some advertising practices in Egypt lack social awareness. The disregard of moral and cultural aspects of the Egyptian children shows in alarming number of Egyptian advertising. Al Safty in Tawfik (2004) said that her main concern about advertisements was that they teach increased consumption, particularly among the poorer segments of society who cannot afford to buy what they see on television. A good age to start teaching children about advertising is from the first primary (six years of age).

Conclusion:

The research concludes that  better advertising practices means less exploitation of children and teenagers, and a much more sensitive approach to children and consumption than has occurred in the past. Egyptian advertising industry needs to have either a regulating body or a governing code of conduct. Future advertising practice should take on board research results and regard highly the social awareness and responsibility.

Responsibility and media education:

Advertisers have special responsibilities when advertising to children and teenagers. They should take into account the limited knowledge, experience, sophistication, and maturity of the audience to which the message is directed. They should recognize that younger children have a limited capacity to evaluate the credibility of information, may not understand the persuasive intent of advertising, and may not even understand that they are being subject to advertising. That is why media education should be introduced early on to the children at home and schools. Advertising should be neither deceptive nor unfair, to the children to whom it is directed. It should not stimulate children’s unreasonable expectations about product quality or performance.

Stereotyping and role models:

Advertisers should have adequate substantiation for objective advertising claims, as those claims are reasonably interpreted by the children to whom they are directed. Advertisers should avoid social stereotyping and appeals to prejudice, and are encouraged to incorporate minority and other groups in advertisements and to present positive role models whenever possible.

Violence limitation:

Advertisers are expected not to show or encourage or even suggest any kind of violence. Aggressive behavior is reflected on the children as they copy it or fear for themselves.

Health and welfare:

Advertisements should not show any unhealthy products or practices. Food and beverages that cause health problems including obesity should be regulated.

Positive qualities:

Advertisers are encouraged to capitalize on the potential of advertising to serve an educational role and influence positive personal qualities and behaviors in children, like being honest, and respectful of others, taking safety precautions, engaging in physical activity.

Social responsibility:

Products and content inappropriate for children should not be advertised directly to them. Advertisers should contribute to the parent-child relationship in a constructive manner.

Fig (2), Signal ad, (targeting children), showing a healthy relation between a father and his child.

Fig (3) ads showing children in different social positions. (not targeting children)

Bibliography:

-AmericanAcademy of Pediatrics, Committee on Nutrition. (2002) Soft drinks replacing healthier alternatives in American diet. AAP News.; 20:36.

-American Psychological Association; February 23, 2004. Available at: www.apa.org/releases/ childrenads.html. Accessed October 31, 2005).

-Becker, Hal; Jon Lief, Florence Mustric (December 15, 2004). Get What You Want!! A Fun, Upbeat and Fresh Approach to Negotiating. Oak Hill Press.

-Committee on communication, the American academy of pediatrics, children, adolescents and advertising, (2006), http://www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/full/118/6/2563, obtained in 2011.

-Federal Trade Commission. ( 1981) In the Matter of Children’s Advertising: FTC Final Staff  Report and Recommendation. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office.

-Federal Trade Commission. (September 2000)Marketing Violent Entertainment to Children: Report of the FTC. Washington, DC: Federal Trade Commission .

-Goodman E. (1999) Ads pollute most everything in sight. Albuquerque Journal. June 27,:C3.

-Hassan, Abd El-Aziz Ali (2007):The influence of Socialisation agents upon the purchase behaviour of Egyptian children : Journal of International Business and Economics: accessed in http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-178945899.html (2011).

-Kunkel D. (2001) Children and television advertising. In: Singer DG, Singer JL, eds. Handbook of Children and the Media. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage;:375–393.

-Macklin MC, Carlson L, eds. (1999) Advertising to Children: Concepts and Controversies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

-McNeal J. (1992) Kids as Customers: A Handbook of Marketing to Children. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.

-McNeal, J. (2001). Quoted in McDonald M, Lavelle M.

-National Association for the Education of Young Children. (2003), Available online: http://www.naeyc.org.

-O’Barr, William M.  (2011) : Children and Advertising: The JohnsHopkinsUniversity Press

-Pine, Karen J and Nash, Avril. (2002)  “Dear Santa: The Effects of Television Advertising on Young Children.” International Journal of Behavioral Development 26. 6: 529.

-Quart A. (2003) Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers. Cambridge, MA: Perseus.

-Sargent JD, Tickle JJ, Beach ML, DaltonMA, AhrensMB, Heatherton TF. (2001) Brand appearances in contemporary cinema films and contribution to global marketing of cigarettes. Lancet. ;357:29–32.

-Strasburger VC. (2001) Children and TV advertising: nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. J Dev Behav Pediatr.;22:185–187.

-Strasburger VC, Wilson BJ. (2002)Children, Adolescents, and the Media. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

-Tammo H.A. Bijmolt’, Wilma Claassen, Britta Brus, Children’s Understanding of TV Advertising: Effects of Age, Gender and Parental Influence.

-Tawfik, Lamya  (  2004 )Media Literacy among Egyptian Children: An Exploratory Study : Global Media Journal accessed in

http://lass.calumet.purdue.edu/cca/gmj/fa04/graduatefa04/gmj-fa04grad-tawfik.htm on (2011)

-Unnikrishnan N, Bajpai S.( 1996) The Impact of Television Advertising on Children. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

-Valkenburg PM. (2000) Media and youth consumerism. J Adolesc Health.;27(2 supply):52–56.

-Washington Post (October 29, 2003) Under-6 set tunes in tv’s not books Toledo Blade, 153(302), PA 1/5.

- www.altahera.net  accessed in (2011)

المراجع العربية:

- محمد بن علي السويد، دراسة حول المؤثرات التي تسهم في تربية الطفل.الإعلان التلفزيوني يحمل دلالات عميقة تشوش تصورات الأطفال ومفاهيمهم، دراسة تحليلية تقويمية، قسم الإعلام كلية الدعوة والإعلام جامعة الإمام محمد بن سعود الإسلامية .

-عبد العزيز السيد (د) (2011):http://www.antya7la.com/vb/t14849.html 15-4-2011

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