Children and Host-Selling Television Commercials

Dale Kunkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


This study explores children's understanding of television commercials that feature the same primary characters as those in the adjacent program content, a technique referred to as host selling. Responses of younger (4-5 years) and older (7-8 years) children to the same commercials presented in both a host-selling and normal viewing (non-host-selling) context are examined. Three dimensions of the processing of television advertising that could be affected by the practice of host selling are assessed: ability to discriminate commercial from program content; ability to attribute persuasive intent to a commercial; and attitudinal responses to commercial appeals. The results indicated that (a) both age groups were significantly less likely to discriminate commercial from program content when the host-selling format was viewed, and (b) the older children are more favorably influenced by the same commercial content when it is seen in a host-selling presentation than in a normal viewing situation. The relevance of this research to existing federal regulatory policy regarding children's television advertising is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-92
Number of pages22
JournalCommunication Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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