Business advertising practices and effects on Kids
On average, your brain absorbs more than three thousand internet, television, radio, and street advertisements in one day(Adams par.1). Major corporations have developed strategies to manipulate your behavior without you realizing it. This comes from the advertisement industry. Companies pay psychologist big buck to develop these practices. Through years of intense research on consumers and their children, corporations have identified our decision making processes. In other words, they don’t know us, but they know what makes us tick. Business advertising practices that target young people should be banned because they have an adverse effect on today’s youth.
Companies target children in their advertisements because they carry their own consumer power. According to the Media Awareness Network “Parents today are willing to buy more for their kids because trends such as smaller family size, dual incomes and postponing children until later in life mean that families have more disposable income” (How par.3). That is the biggest reason why the advertisement industry has grown exponentially in the past decade, increasing spending from $100 million in 1990 to $2 billion in the year 2000. “Pester Power,” as industry executives call it, refers to the ability of children to nag their parents into buying items that they would not otherwise buy. Barbara Martino, an former advertising executive, recalls “We’re relying on the kid to ‘pester’ the mom to buy the product, rather than going straight to the mom” (How par.4-5). This genius tactic reinforces the product by the appealing to the child, who just might nag the parent enough to buy the product, and not the parent, who is less likely to buy the product. Marketers also try to build brand name loyalty at a very young age. The Media Awareness Network reports “Marketers plant the seeds of brand recognition in very young children, in the hopes that the seeds will grow into lifetime relationships” (How par.13). The Center of a New American Dream concludes that “babies as young as six months of age can form mental images of corporate logos and mascots” (How par.14). This means that by the time children head off to school, they have already incorporated thousands of logos. The Companies that make the most off this tactic are fast food, toys and clothing.
McDonalds is the world’s most recognizable fast food franchise. With over 31,000 restaurants, employing over 1.5 million people, serving more than 47 million costumers every day and operating in more than 119 countries; it is the worlds food chain (FAQs par.2-5). McDonalds restaurants have playgrounds, happy meals, kids clubs, and the charming clown, Ronald McDonald. All of these have attracted young children, who before they can speak recognize the golden arches. I can testify to that. I, at a very young age, recognized the golden arches. When I was about two years of age, I loved the McChicken nuggets. Every time, my mom tells me, when we would pass by a “McyDs,” I would squeal “chick, chick,” meaning I want my McChicken nuggets. Then soon it was the happy meals, which carried a delightful the toy. Children see on average 10,000 food advertisements per year. One may ask: why is this a bad thing? Well, McDonalds is very unhealthy nutrition. Morgan Spurlock demonstrates in the documentary “Super Size Me,” that eating McDonalds is very unhealthy. For 30 days he is under strict guidelines, which are that he must eat three meals a day all from McDonalds, and he cannot eat anything that McDonalds doesn’t offer including water. After 13 days, he is 17 pounds heavier, his cholesterol is soaring, and his liver is sick in a way that is comparable with alcohol abuse. At this point his dietitian and his three doctors advise him to stop, cold turkey. So he does. Morgan Spurlock was merely testing the adverse effects of the products that are sold to children every single day. How do they get there? Through the massive ad campaigns of McDonalds. In one of the funniest scenes of the documentary, Spurlock tests children’s ability to recognize pictures of characters and people. In was revealed that all the children that were studied can immediately recognize a picture of Ronald McDonald, but all were stumped when it came to the picture of Jesus Christ, one of them even said it was George Bush (Delany par. 1-12). As one can see, advertisement have a great deal of influence when it comes to children.
Children are so vulnerable that government legislation has been issued to a specific industry, which benefits from the youth of today. The Legislation was called the Master Tobacco Settlement agreement. In November 1998, the Attorney General and representatives from 46 states signed an agreement with the five largest tobacco manufacturers, which ended a 4 year legal battle between the states and the industry (Wilson par.5). The Master Tobacco Settlement prohibits youth targeting in advertising, marketing and promotions by: banning cartoon characters in advertising, restricting brand-name sponsorships of events with significant youth audiences, banning outdoor advertising, banning youth access to free samples; and Setting minimum cigarette package size at 20 (Wilson par. 9). All this is because cigarette companies used the endorsement method of advertisements. Their endorsements used imaginary characters such as Joe Camel, a slick adult camel with saxophone, very connected to “cool.” It is a well known fact that cigarettes are harmful because they are closely linked to lung cancer. In order for the tobacco companies to keep numbering their revenue, they must depend on new costumers. This is the reason they target children.
Michael Jordan is considered by many, the greatest athlete to ever play the game of basketball. Jordan is a 6 time NBA champion, 5 time league MVP, defensive play of the year, rookie of the year, 14 time all-star and a 3 time all-star MVP (Encyclopedia par.1). He is admired and adored by his many fan and followers. Jordan is the Chairman of his shoes, Air Jordan. Air Jordans are highly popular with the teen population. Most Air Jordan fans are collectors. But some are metrosexuals, who possess a desire to dress the best, and usually the best is the most expensive and rare. Jordans are certainly both. In order purchase a pair of authentic Air Jordans, one must first find them. There are many rip off to these shoes. For two reasons, one the real pairs are extremely expensive and two there is a high demand but limited supply. Supply and demand keeps the price of the real shoes high. I worked in a shoe store for three years. It sold all kinds of brands, but the brand that sold the most was Air Jordan. With prices well above $100, they sold like hot cakes and the age group that bought them were teenagers. Every month a new shoe comes out. And every time that happens, they sell out-fast, some times with in minutes. Michael Jordan through his God given talent has sold hundreds of thousands of pairs around the world to his loyal costumers, who continue to collect. This shows that today’s teens do not attain importance of wise decisions about spending money. The problem to Air Jordans is that they cost so much money. Michael Jordan has manipulated teens to buy his shoes that make a dent in their wallets or their parent’s wallets.
Advertisements are everywhere. Even outer space isn’t safe from ads: the Russian space program launched a rocket bearing a 30-foot Pizza Hut logo, and some companies have investigated placing ads in space that will be visible from earth. As you can see and probably have noticed that ads are every. They especially brutal when they target young kids and teenagers, using their innocence as their weakness.