Much academic research on children and advertising has been informed by a strong sense that children should not like advertisements and has tried to elicit from children critical statements about them (Brand, Greenberg 18). Thus the aesthetic judgment held by one segment of the population influences the more "scientific" evaluation of children's developmental abilities.
Many children are aware at a fairly early age that adults often disapprove of commercials and of the products they advertise. Still, parents cannot control the impact advertisers impose on their children and its consequences for a child. Thesis Advertising directed at children should be regulated by government in order to protect small consumers from exploitation and negative impact of false social images popularized by advertisers.
Within the television and advertising industries, children are characterized as a market not very different from others: as potentially lucrative, as prone to fads and to disasters, but also as particularly volatile and difficult to predict (Burrows 22).
Like women, they are exceptionally attractive to marketers because they spend so much time shopping. Advertising directed at children should be regulated because it has a great impact on their life perception and interpretation of the world. There is some research outside the advertising industry that suggests that children like advertisements a great deal (Derbaix, Pecheux 19).
Advertisements are many toddlers' favorite kind of television. They are in many ways ideally suited to young children's abilities: they are short, lively, and frequently repeated.
“The result is that children seem to emphasize brand names among products that parents often see very similar and substitutable" (Derbaix, Pecheux 19). In many cases, advertising directed at children creates wrong social images of food and toys, adult way of life and preferences.
Government regulations are crucial because the producers of advertisements for children employ qualitative interviews and focus groups to test many detailed aspects of their campaigns, such as casting, costume, palette, and storyboards.
In their attention to image and sound and children's perceptions of them, advertising researchers have come to understand children's experience of television better than the well-intentioned effects researchers. Fox (2001) admits that children know that somebody is putting together the ad with the intent of getting them to try to buy the product by using their language (62).
The main problem is that some of the companies offer cheap, shoddy productions. In their relentless cultivation of "brand awareness," advertisers rely on repetition to keep the names of soft drinks, snack foods, and toys on children's minds. One reason for this is that market researchers characterize the children's audience as fickle, lacking in product loyalty and ready to switch brands or television channels at whim (Lavers 28).
Advertisers of children's products have a special need for television commercials because young children cannot read and are relatively isolated in the domestic sphere. In many cases, advertisers exploit children appealing to their mind and feelings through wrong and false social images. “A growing amount of evidence indicates that advertising directed at children is a direct cause of obesity and health problems in children, making the issue of advertising directed at children a problem that the government should address with regulation” (Ramsey 361).
In many cases, children are an especially appealing market. While the young children's market is somewhat difficult to measure, and often gets lumped together in a package of children from age two to eleven, the keen interest in early impressions and the lure of brand loyalty make young children appealing. Critics admit that requirement that manufacturers disclose particular information about their products can also be justified only in carefully defined circumstances.
Where the information is such that some manufacturers of the product would have an incentive to disclose if consumers were sufficiently interested, the cost-benefit judgment should be left to those manufacturers. Critics (Ramsey 2006) admit that “children generally become angry or upset with their parents when parents deny a request for a product that the child saw advertised on television” (361).
Where, however, the information is such that none of the competitors has an interest in disclosure required disclosure makes more sense provided the information is of importance.
Viewed in light of these principles, specifically the principle that government intrusion should be viewed as a supplement to the general incentives of the market system, designed to help the system work more effectively, advertising regulation should attempt to police every inaccuracy in the marketplace and to require disclosure of all information that some class of consumers might regard as relevant or interesting (Fizzy Drink and Crisp 10).
Another problem is many rules and regulations accepted by the government are violated. For instance, “only the electronic game industry has adopted a rule prohibiting its marketers from targeting advertising for games to children below the age designations indicated by their ratings, and his prohibition is often violated in practice” (Surette 267).
Rather, ad regulation should be a highly practical enterprise designed to insure the availability and accuracy of key product information essential to the functioning of an effective competitive system.
Its moral agenda goes only so far as a concern to protect children from being openly cheated, to foster normative agendas of child development, and to inculcate a taste for middle-class culture (Archbishop Calls for Children's Advert Ban 2).
In sum, advertising directed at children should be regulated more by the government because children do not understand the exact context of ads. The main limitations should include: the provision of expert advice and product ratings; the monitoring of unfair business and advertising practices insofar as they create consumer dissatisfaction; the facilitation of model consumer behavior and the cultivation of values in child-consumer behavior.
Archbishop Calls for Children's Advert Ban. The Evening Standard (London, England), September 18, 2006, p. 2. Brand, J.E., Greenberg, B.S. Commercials in the Classroom: The Impact of Channel One Advertising. Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 34, 1994, p. 18. Burrows, G. It Has Won Another Ban on Smacking, but It Wants More. in Its Campaigns for Children Does It See Abuse Where None Exists? New Statesman, Vol. 132, May 12, 2003, p. 22.