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Children and Advertising. Do Children Understand the Purpose of Advertising?. Background. Advertisements that target children are on the rise Children are a highly influential market Children as young as 8 make their own purchases. Previous Studies. Ads provide information.

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children and advertising

Children and Advertising

Do Children Understand the Purpose of Advertising?



Advertisements that target children are on the rise

Children are a highly influential market

Children as young as 8 make their own purchases

previous studies


Ads provide information

Children over 11 are susceptible to advertisement

Children are superficial until age 8

Recognize ad after a short exposure at ages 6-10

the study
The Study
  • Use both verbal and pictorial techniques to get a better understanding of children’s knowledge about advertisements
  • Mixed Design
  • Participants
  • Materials
  • Procedure

Ads are a break from the program

Ads are just to enjoy

Ads tell us about new products

Ads are to try and sell us something

  • Unprompted responses showed that 2/3 of 10-year-olds were able to understand the persuasive purpose of advertising.
  • In contrast, nearly 50% of 7-year-olds did not reach this level of understanding. One-quarter simply answered, “I don’t know”
  • When prompted with the pictures the younger children where twice as likely to identify the informational importance of advertising.
  • 1/5 of 7-year-olds and 2/3 of 10-year-olds were able to demonstrate an unprompted understanding of the selling intent of advertisements
  • Therefore the study supports previous findings that by the age of 8 years children show an awareness of the selling intent.
  • a greater understanding of the persuasive intent of advertising than in previous studies
  • Pictures made a great impact because children were unable to articulate their thoughts
  • Children may have answered what they think the researcher wanted to hear rather than what they think
  • The way the questions were worded may have influenced the child’s results
  • Young children can be greatly influenced by persuasive advertisements
  • The use of pictures allowed children to demonstrate their knowledge of what advertisements were for when they lacked the development ability to articulate it

Children's understanding of advertising: an investigation using verbal and pictorially cued methods (p 617-628)
Laura Owen, Susan Auty, Charlie Lewis, Damon Berridge
Published Online: Oct 16 2007