This post is about kids and advertising. Alex Bogusky’s recent blog post about the ethics of advertising to children re-focused a healthy – and passionate – conversation about what limits advertisers should be forced to operate within.
Copeland doesn’t have any clients who make products aimed exclusively at kids. No Fruit Poop breakfast cereals or sugar-coated Pop Farts. Nonetheless this is a hot button issue for me and for many parents I know.
There are those who advocate strict government controls over content and others who maintain it’s a parent’s responsibility to monitor the exposure and moderate the conversation. Please read this article here and check out the ensuing debate in the comments section. It’s heated, it’s articulate, and it’s fascinating.
What everyone can agree on is that advertisers prey on kids.
If you’re a parent, you know precisely what I mean. Young kids believe what adults tell them. And they are putty in the hands of sophisticated marketers.
Just look at the run-away success of Littlest Pet Shop with its challenging tag-line, “How big is your Littlest Pet Shop?”, delivered with competitive smugness by young teenage girls, many years past the real age of the kids who dig these toys. I have seen the impact this has on little girls. They brag to each other about who has the biggest collection of these bobble-headed, bug-eyed critters.
Consider this current marketing spin: Kellogg’s Froot Loops breakfast cereal is fortified with 11 essential vitamins. Now it’s got fibre. Vitamins and fibre are good for kids.
Personally I want to see stricter controls. From me. And from my government.