Marketing to kids is part of life, at this point. Everywhere we look, our children are the targets of advertising. Some of it is good, like for eating healthy. Also, some of it is bad, creating bad body images. Then again, some of it is downright ugly. Here’s everything you need to know about marketing to our kids.
Billboards, commercials, magazine ads, bus wraps, and more are constantly reaching out to children and teens. More and more companies are shifting their focus on marketing to kids. They do this to boost sales, sway attitudes, hook brand loyalty, and make higher and higher profits.
Gearing marketing schemes to children is smart business seeing as research indicates that children spend and influence the spending of an average of 1.2 trillion dollars every year. So, is it good, bad, or indifferent for companies to market to kids? The answer isn’t so simple. Here’s the good and the bad of marketing to kids.
8 Facts on Marketing to Kids:
The good, the bad, and the ugly. Marketing to kids can have many different effects on our children.
1. Good: Sales Boost the Economy
Because children spend and influence the spending of extraordinarily high amounts of money every year, marketing to them is great for the economy. Successful marketing strategies lead to sales. Sales pay for the manufacturing of more items.
This way they keep business doors open, which means maintaining jobs and possibly creating new ones. By marketing to kids, companies are supporting jobs. This is because they advertise to kids and kids buy.
2. Good: Confidence Boosting Marketing Campaigns
Companies like Dove, Mattel, and Aerie created new ad campaigns that focus on positive self and body image specifically for girls. Marketing campaigns like this encourage girls to reach their goals, stand up for themselves, and love themselves the way they are.
Ad campaigns that embrace differences only help girls boost confidence in themselves. But they also encourage girls to embrace the differences they seen in other people.
3. Good: Anti-Smoking Campaigns Targeting Kids
The CDC’s Anti-Smoking Marketing Campaign convinced over 100,000 smokers to quit. One campaign alone had a significant impact in spurring people, including teens, to quit smoking.
Non-profit organizations who spend their funds marketing to kids, teens and adults to quit smoking improves everyone’s health, cleans up the environment, and saves thousands of lives every year.
4. Good: Marketing Resources to Underprivileged and At-Risk Kids
Many children suffer from depression, anxiety, eating disorders, addictions, and other diseases. Other kids may live in poverty or the constant threat of abuse. Whatever the situation may be, marketing campaigns lead by non-profit organizations give kids the information they need to get help.
Without these marketing campaigns, kids may never realize there is someone that can help them better their situation. With the aid of these campaigns, they move toward a brighter future. Life savings campaigns for kids and teens such as the Sunrise Venture On Program, and others help hundreds of kids every single day.
5. Bad: Consumerist Kids and Feeding Greed
Marketing campaigns place an increased emphasis on the importance of material things in the eyes of children. From cereal to clothes to the latest fashions, kids want it, and they want it now. Why? Because they want to fit in with their friends. Successful ad campaigns make kids feel like they’ll be left out if they don’t have what their friends have.
Unfortunately, this leads kids to the constant begging, the whining, and the fighting for those new things. Then, when those new things aren’t new anymore they’ll feel pressured to get the newer things. So the cycle starts all over. The constant need to have new things turns into greed and selfishness quickly. Consequently, material things become more important than family, friends, or community.
6. Ugly: Sexualized Campaigns Create Body Image Issues
Particularly for teenagers, some marketing campaigns feature overly sexual advertisements and slogans intimating that their product will make you attractive. The models in the campaigns are not the common realistic body type for teenagers. In fact, many campaigns employ Photoshop to perfect imperfect people.
Unfortunately, both boys and girls experience lower self-esteem and develop body image issues. They may even possibly turn to extreme dieting or eating disorders. These come as an attempt to be the ideal the marketing campaigns claim they should be.
7. Ugly: Big Tobacco Marketing to Kids
It is currently illegal for big tobacco companies to launch marketing campaigns targeting children or teens. However, they still seem to find ways to sneak their campaigns into the everyday lives of many kids.
Research concludes that big tobacco companies spend billions of dollars every year on in-store advertisement and cost control to ensure that tobacco remains visible and affordable specifically for teen smokers. In-store campaign strategies are merely one method tobacco companies use when marketing to kids.
8. Bad: Sexy Marketing May Lead to Unhealthy, Over-Sexualized Behavior
The first rule of marketing is sex sells and with a high percentage of marketing campaigns directed at kids and teens. It’s disturbing to think what those campaigns might be encouraging our teens to do. Lingerie companies are pushing junior lines featuring racy, revealing underwear to teen and even tween girls. Boy’s cologne commercials feature young adults in intimate and often blatantly sexual situations.
Too many marketing campaigns are blatantly encouraging inappropriate behavior in teens and young adults. These campaigns are enticing younger and younger kids into the odd behavior they are not yet mature enough to handle. This behavior in young teens is far more common than it should be. But marketing campaigns promoting promiscuity certainly aren’t helping.
The Right Side
There are two sides to every story. Marketing to kids is a mix of high points and low points. In the end, a lot of good comes out of marketing campaigns directed at children. Many advertisements and slogans encourage kids to have a positive self-image and find the help they need to cope with their individual situations.
Yes, the marketing world needs reform when it comes to negative, high-risk, or overly inappropriate messages. However, many campaigns focus on positivism and encouragement.
Know of any other highs or lows that go with marketing to kids? Let us hear about it. Leave a comment and share it. Your opinion can help change the world.
Image from depositphotos.com.