In 100 years, marketing to children went from a severely frowned upon practice to an integral part of growing up as companies came to realize that investing in marketing to children and adolescents provides excellent immediate and future dividends. Each year, enormous sums of money are spent to reach this valuable audience because children and adolescents spend billions on their own purchases, influence family decisions about what to buy, and promise a potential lifetime of brand loyalty. The channels to reach youth have grown, and marketers are increasingly using them, often blurring the distinction between entertainment and advertising. Because advertising to children and adolescents has become ubiquitous, researchers who study its influence raise significant concerns about the practice, especially as it relates to dietary behavior, family conflict, marketer tactics, and children's potential vulnerability as an audience. In this review by the Workgroup on Marketing and Advertising, we highlight the state of the research in this area and suggest that more research needs to be conducted on understanding the following: the effects of advertising exposure, how psychological development affects children's responses to marketing, the problems associated with advertising in newer media, and how researchers, parents, and practitioners might be able to mitigate the most deleterious advertising effects. We then present avenues of future research along with recommendations for key stakeholders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health