Through television, many companies advertise their products to children. Children ages 6-11 spend around 28 hours a week watching television, so businesses use this as a central medium for driving sales. In addition, the average American child sees between 25 and 40 thousand TV commercials every year. Television is the main way companies influence a child’s buying habits. The children also influence their parents as a result; 8-12 year olds persuade $30 billion in spending by parents. Companies know that children heavily influence parent’s spending, and 80% of companies advertising to children now have a “tween strategy”, for marketing directly to 8-12 year olds.
To many, companies might be taking advantage of the fact that children under 10 cannot tell the difference between commercials and programming, and children under 8 are prone to accept advertising messages as truthful and unbiased.
Today, 90% of children ages 5-16 have access to a computer and the internet in their own home. Because of the increase in internet use in this demographic and the lack of advertising regulations on the web that are so often found on TV, companies are turning to the internet to drive sales among children. Companies often employ advertising techniques online that kids find difficult to identify. For example, Kellogg might set up a website that features online games while it is really trying to put their products in front of children. The games are simply a way to attract the children so that they can be advertised to.
As children enter into their tween years and become increasingly literate, they also become a more available demographic to influence via print. Also, print advertising is a low cost form of advertising, so even companies on a tight budget have the ability to market to children through this medium. With younger children, advertisers make sure that the message of the print advertisement is simple and easy to understand. As children grow older and develop a better grasp of language, advertisers can utilize more creative advertising techniques on print.
Print ads definitely work for tweens, but it works less as age decreases. 83% of tweens report that they actually refer back to magazine ads when deciding on a product they want. In addition, tweens often share printed works with friends. More than 33% of kid magazine readers received their magazine from a friend. Lastly, 83% of kid readers report showing ads to their parents, which further increases the likelihood of a purchase being made.
Businesses use various techniques to reach children; specifically tweens, via print. Typically, the key to advertising to children lies in the visual. In many cases, children will hang up a picture from a magazine on their bedroom wall. This is especially likely to happen when a popular celebrity, athlete, or simply a cool picture relevant to their interests is featured in an ad. For example, Gatorade might put an ad featuring Kevin Durant in a magazine. The popular athlete would be clad in his jersey and sneakers, but most importantly he would have a Gatorade in his hand. The child would tape the picture up in his room due to the NBA player, but he also will now see his favorite athlete drinking Gatorade every day. This also slides into the technique of using celebrity sponsored products to drive sales. When children see Kevin Durant drinking Gatorade, they infer that to be like him they need to drink Gatorade. Another prime example is the Air Jordan franchise by Nike. Michael Jordan was every 90s child’s idol, right? By creating shoes and clothes named after Jordan himself, Nike can drive sales in tweens and children. Space Jam couldn't have hurt either.