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Marketing to Children. Children’s exposure to commercials. watch an average of 3 to 4 hours of TV per day #1 after-school activity for 6 to 17 year olds spend 1500 hours in front of the TV annually 900 hours in the classroom average child sees > 20,000 commercials each year

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children s exposure to commercials
Children’s exposure to commercials
  • watch an average of 3 to 4 hours of TV per day
  • #1 after-school activity for 6 to 17 year olds
  • spend 1500 hours in front of the TV annually
    • 900 hours in the classroom
  • average child sees > 20,000 commercials each year
  • American children will have viewed ~360,000 commercials on television before graduating high school
  • Food and toys are the two most commonly advertised products.
concerns related to children watching commercials
Concerns related to children watching commercials
  • Most children younger than 6 do not understand that the purpose of advertising is to sell a product
  • Children up to age 8 cannot distinguish advertising from regular television programming
  • Children who watch 4 or more hours of TV a day are more likely to believe advertising claims than children who watch TV less often
  • 9 out of 10 food ads on Saturday morning TV are for sugary cereals, candy, salty snacks, fatty fast foods and other junk food.
regulation of commercials aimed at children ftc regulation
Regulation of commercials aimed at children: FTC regulation
  • 1970's, FTC proposed a regulation banning advertising of candy and sugared cereals on shows targeted to children under 13
  • Calling FTC a "national nanny," Congress in 1980 prohibited the FTC from issuing rule
FTC has brought individual actions based on one of two theories:
  • Ads might deceive children, even though they would not have the same effect on adults
    • toy ballerina standing alone and twirling
    • toy vehicle appearing in the ad to operate under its own power
  • Ads showing children engaged in activities that are potentially hazardous, even though adults might reasonably avoid injury
    • cooking hot foods
    • using a blow dryer next to a sink filled with water
industry self regulation
Industry self-regulation
  • CARU Guidelines
  • NAD dispute resolution process
1990 children s television act cta
1990 Children's Television Act (CTA)
  • Enforced by the FCC
  • Requires broadcast stations to serve the educational and informational needs of children 16 and under
  • Requires stations to carry at least three hours a week of such programming
  • FCC Rules adopted under CTA limit commercial time during children's programming to
    • 10.5 minutes per hour on weekends
    • 12 minutes per hour on weekdays
program length commercials
"Program Length Commercials"
  • FCC Rule
  • Entire program is counted as commercial if
    • program associated with a product; and
    • commercials for product air during show
  • Compliance with FCC Rule considered in determining whether to renew license
Obesity the major health issue of the day
    • “tobacco of the 21st century”
  • 2000--diet and physical inactivity accounted for 400,000 deaths
    • 16.6% of total
  • 200--tobacco caused 435,000 deaths
    • 18.1% of total
Smoking rates are dropping
  • Americans are increasingly overweight
  • Obesity likely to overtake tobacco as the leading cause of preventable deaths as early as 2005
  • March 10, 2004 House passed bill protecting food industry from lawsuits based on weight issues
  • Key sponsor of bill is from district home to Darden Restaurants
    • Owner of Olive Garden and Red Lobster
Food companies spent $15 billion on advertising to children in 2002
    • Up from $12.5 billion in 1998
  • Advertising used to be limited to Saturday mornings
  • Now it’s everywhere
    • television
    • movies
    • school
Promotional tie-ins and licensing have become significant marketing tools
    • Rugrats Fruit Snacks
    • Flintstones Jell-O
    • Scooby-Doo cheddar crackers/macaroni & cheese
  • 2003--45% of fruit snacks had licensing agreements
    • 1996--10%
Advertisers use characters from shows to market products on television
    • SpongeBob SquarePants used to sell Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Popsicles and fruit snacks
  • SpongeBob SquarePants show--more than half the commercials are about food
  • “The programs have become advertising for the food, and the food has become advertising for the programs”
Some companies deny marketing to children
    • Coke says it targets teens and adults
  • 2001--Coke signed tie-in with Harry Potter character
  • Increase in food marketing parallels increase in children’s weight
  • Since 1980, number of obese children doubled to 16%
Where does the responsibility lie?
  • Food companies?
  • Parents?