Advertising occupies a firm position in the media as one of the most powerful means of influence on the consumer. Advertisements in their turn are trying to form “right” attitude towards a particular brand as early as possible. It is estimated that children before 14 years old watch approximately 25 hours of advertisements a week. However, it is almost impossible to affect a senior person’s opinion (Moore and Lutz 47). Therefore, when it comes to advertising, children are one of the target audiences as special peculiarities of young viewers make them so sensitive to what they see and hear.
An interesting fact is that in comparison with their parents children are not irritated by the appearance of another advertisement in the middle of a show. Whereas parents would undoubtedly switch to another program avoiding the annoying advertisement, children are not only ready to watch it with great interest but also can watch it with the same engagement dozens of times.
According to psychological peculiarities of child’s attention, movement on the screen and bright picture play a leading role in young viewers’ interest evoking. The content, on the contrary, does not evoke any emotion on the side of young viewers. In this case, the flow of semantic information is perceived unconsciously. It is based on the physiological characteristics of perception: the person’s attention is focused on the changes in the environment and not on something that is consistent. Moreover, even trying hard, a human cannot concentrate his/her attention on the stationary object. Such efforts would fatigue our mind and, consequently, our interest would shift spontaneously on its own. Also, vice versa — the greater the change, the more attention to it (Schultz and Schultz 112).
Dynamism characterizes modern advertising. The intensity of the successive images is very high. However, an adult, having a well-developed critical thinking, can turn the attention away from advertising images and easily switch to another program. In this case, the child appears to be a perfect subject to the power of publicity. The promotional clips change so quickly that the child’s attention simply do not have time to get tired and obediently follows them. Therefore, the videos addressed to children are fast and bright. A “fun” never gives information about the product itself (Lutz 52).
Physiological characteristics of the child’s perception also play a significant role in advertisement’s influence. Infant’s socialization begins with the start of school, where the opinion of the adults, especially parents and teachers, is the most credible one. Therefore, properly organized information makes the child believe in its credibility. Some results of the research show that even the most compelling new data related to a particular object cannot significantly influence the impressions formed in the childhood. It is no wonder they say that child impressions are the most powerful (Brucks et al. 476).
Fast food giants involve children in many different ways. They place their logos on toy boxes, book covers, video games, and amusement parks. The companies enter into multimillion-dollar contracts to present their logos on famous children’s characters advertising. For example, in 2001, Coca-Cola has signed a major contract with the publishers of books about Harry Potter. Supported by the producers of fast food, various charity events are organized from which World Children’s Day on McDonald’s seems to be known in the whole world. Fast food lunches are actively sold in school cafeterias that bring significant revenue to school budgets. Modern technology is also very helpful in product presentation. In particular, at the Internet site of McDonald’s you can play the game and see the colorful advertising books. As a result, fast food advertising also appears on children television channels like Walt Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network.
Companies demonstrate a variety of strategies oriented towards children considering the listed above peculiarities of child’s perception (Lutz 51). One of the examples of a successful strategy is conducted by different companies that produce toys accounted for the Christmas holidays. Companies face the problem of a prominent drop in the sales in the next two months after the Christmas. Since people have spent a fortune to purchase gifts, they firmly resist the entreaties of their children on the acquisition of new toys. The difficulty, of course, is not how to make kids demand toys after Christmas. A series of bright spots, which are placed during the broadcast of cartoons, generates a stream of requests from children whining and cajoling parents to buy a dream toy. The problem is to persuade the parents to buy a few gifts. Despite a massive advertising and low prices, the parents do not buy toys after Christmas. Some toy manufacturers, however, have invented an original solution to this problem.
Accordingly, the companies begin to advertise certain toys before Christmas. Children naturally want to get what they see. Therefore, they make their parents promise to give them toys for Christmas. At this moment, the number of toys they deliver to stores is not sufficient, and some of them are absent. In this case, most parents are forced to replace them with other gifts. Of course, toy manufacturers should supply toys in the stores. Then, after Christmas, the companies start the next wave of promotion of those “special” toys.
Marketing oriented on children gets its success by considering various factors in relation to kids. Together with psychological peculiarities, experts carefully look at physiological factors in advertising tricks. One of the examples is placing of attractive products on the lower shelves of supermarkets where children can easily notice what they like, take it, and then force their parents to pay for it (Moore and Lutz 47).
Advertisements are waiting for children “at the every corner”. As it was already mentioned, children see most of the promotion on television. Nevertheless, another successful strategy takes all possible environments into consideration. Thus, despite being present in the school, books, etc., advertisements also accompany kids on their way to school being broadcast on the radio. Thus, children are unconsciously attacked by another portion of adverts.