Parental awareness of new online advertising techniques targeting children: an exploratory study of American parents

Matthew A. Lapierre, Eunjoo Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study aims to examine what parents from across the USA know about online advertising/marketing tactics directed at children, their familiarity with these tactics and what they believe about the appropriateness of using these promotional methods to target children. Design/methodology/approach: The online survey company Qualtrics was used to collect data from 500 parents in the USA. Parents had to have at least one child between the ages of 5 and 14 to participate. To ensure socio-economic diversity, half of the participants had an associate degree or more of schooling while the other half of participants had some college or less. Participants were given vignettes describing 11 different online advertising/marketing tactics and were asked how familiar they were with each tactic, whether they could identify the tactic by name, at what age they believed their child could understand the promotional intent of the tactic and the age that they thought it was ethical to use this tactic with children. Findings: The results revealed that parents were only moderately familiar with many of these advertising/marketing tactics and had difficulty identifying most of them by name. In addition, parents reported that, on average, most 11-year-old children would understand the purpose of these marketing approaches and that it was ethical to target children with them. Originality/value: The results of this exploratory study offer researchers some key insights into how American parents perceive online advertising that targets children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)290-305
Number of pages16
JournalYoung Consumers
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021


  • Exploratory study
  • New media advertising
  • Online advertising
  • Parental attitudes
  • Parental knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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