How the world looks from the advertisers point of view

AdWeek has a special issue this week on marketing to kids. It’s pretty funny in an ironic weird way that the banner actually looks like it is intended to appeal to kids and it’s called the Kids Special Issue, as if it were for kids.

Want an eye opener on how marketers look at the world? Read the issue.

One tidbit I enjoyed: Hasbro came up with a “Family Game Night” promotion to take advantage of the interest in staying home and saving money during the recession. Didn’t you know marketers can invent what you thought was an old family tradition? The promotion tied in junk-food brands such as Pepsi, Domino’s and Kraft, because you can’t stay home and play board games to save money without buying lots of stuff.

I liked the column by the ad critic: Do trailers for children’s movies have to be so scary? Good question, and I wish she had been more forceful in her answer. Here’s a telling paragraph in several ways:

“I remember getting nightmares from the Exorcist trailer (which did include the spinning head, as I recall). But today’s visuals are far more assaulting and seem more real. And kids younger than 8 or so can’t really distinguish between what’s real and what’s not.”

1. Images stick with children. Maybe for their whole lives. I still remember the scary wolf wearing Little Red Riding Hood’s cloak on the back cover of a fairy tale book. So maybe hitting kids with such a huge number of frightening and shocking images, especially now that they are “more assaulting and seem more real,” could actually be harmful.

2. Research has shown conclusively that children under the age of eight have a hard time distinguishing between fantasy and reality, and so tend to accept advertiser messages as truthful, accurate and unbiased. Clearly, from this piece written for advertisers, they know. And use that information to their advantage.
A task force of the American Psychological Association has recommended restrictions on advertising to young children. Read more about that here.

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