Master of Communication Management

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Marketing to Children: Campaign Techniques and Their Effects

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27 October 2011

Students who are enrolled in master’s of communication degree programs may choose to follow the health and social change track when it comes time to select a concentration in the field. Although this graduate degree can provide a well-rounded communication education, it may be especially helpful for individuals who plan to work in the public policy or nonprofit sector in particular. Students in the process of earning a communications degree on this track who wish to learn about marketing in the media and how it affects children will find resources on these topics in this section.

Campaigns that target children

Many different organizations, ranging from governmental health agencies to cigarette companies, develop specific campaigns that are designed to appeal to children. These advertisements may target youths’ interests and attention in many ways, such as through the use of cartoon figures or the promise of maturity. For individuals who are pursuing communication degrees, learning how different marketing campaigns have designed initiatives to appeal to children may help them understand the different theories and approaches behind advertising and further prepare them for a future career.

Social marketing campaigns and children’s media use: This article from the Future of Children discusses the success that health officials have had promoting positive messages about food via social media. In addition, it argues that this is the best medium possible to run this type of marketing campaign.

Children and Internet marketing campaigns: The Bureau of Consumer Protection outlines the specific regulations that advertisers must follow when using the Internet as a marketing platform. It also lists guidelines for marketing to children, as laid out by the Federal Trade Commission.

The promotion and marketing of toys: The Future of Play Theory studies advertising campaigns marketed to children by toy companies, analyzing their techniques and the effect they have had on socialization.

An analysis of supermarket messages: A professor from an Ottawa-based university studies how advertising campaigns in the supermarket may have a larger impact on children’s consumer behavior than those seen on television. It also discusses how advertisements take advantage of the store setting to market their products.

Food and beverage marketing in school: This article traces how advertising campaigns first came to be accepted in schools and how the effect of marketing in this sphere has changed the way children eat and behave.

A social marketing campaign to promote low-fat milk: The Department of Health Education at a New York-based college studies the effect that the Washington Heights-Inwood Health Heart Program’s low-fat milk marketing campaign had on inner-city Latinos.

The effect of marketing campaigns on children

As some marketing campaigns have been specifically designed to target and appeal to children, these advertisements may affect the way that young individuals think or alter their perception of what they want. While some marketing strategies, such as the ones an individual may learn about in a health and social change communication program, push positive agendas, others encourage detrimental behavior in children. In this section, interested parties should find information on the different ways kids have been affected by marketing in the media.

Media and childhood obesity: The Federal Communications Commission has put out a report on childhood exposure to television and its relationship to obesity. While a direct link has not yet been established, the agency reports that children are highly receptive to messages in advertising, both good and bad.

Marketing and advertising is harmful to children’s health: The Lancet discusses how children have been exploited by the marketing industry and the negative repercussions that have come as a result. In addition, it examines the connection between the increased incidents of children developing type 2 diabetes and the food advertising industry.

Tobacco marketing and adolescent smoking: This study from the American Journal of Public Health examines the effect that marketing campaigns launched by tobacco companies have had on the propensity of young people to smoke.

Tobacco marketing through film: The Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine conducted a study on how exposure to tobacco marketing on television and in movies affects how adolescents perceive smoking.

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