September 5, 2015
Read this posting: http://business-ethics.com/
One of the experts quoted in the piece argues that “There is no ethical, moral, social, or spiritual justification for targeting children in advertising and marketing.” Do you agree or disagree. Why?
As someone who currently works for a company that markets creating memorable family moments, the conversation of when, where, and how we should market, or if we should market to children, comes up often during our planning cycles.
Professionally, I see the appeal to marketing to this demographic and creating the “nag” factor of kids to mom and dad to get them to visit one of our theme parks. However, only recently have we actually started advertising and marketing to children under 13 years of age, and even then, it was entirely unrelated to our theme parks or programs. Overall, I see any marketing or company’s communication efforts to be part of the company’s corporate social responsibility, inclusive of any messaging to kids, teens or young adults.
Personally, I don’t understand the concern of the marketing to children, as I tend to believe that parents and guardians should overall take a more active role in what their children watch, participate in, or observe. I known several families with young kids to simply “cut the cord,” for television to avoid messages or marketing that to which they don’t want their children exposed. While extreme, and not fully eliminating all exposure, for my friends who’ve opted not to shelter messaging, they have no problem saying, “no,” to their child and looking as their role more as a parent, and less as a friend.
In full disclosure, I’m not a parent and don’t regularly see advertising tailored to kids. Coincidentally, a friend and her seven-year-old daughter over this past weekend and she turned on Nickelodeon. I barely recognized the commercials that ran targeting her in particular. Her mom even commented that she could already see the Christmas list starting … hence the nag factor working.
Conversely, I’m not sure I see the sense in legislating or enforcing content restrictions for advertisers or content distributors on what can be messaged to children. Additionally, what what age would you determine to be appropriate to limit? A 13-year-old can have a Facebook account and sign-up for email, but can’t have a bank account, credit card, nor is their signature legal for some transactions. At what point would society determine a person capable of making self-decisions that aren’t as the article suggests, misleading or informative. Additionally, without some level of exposure to this message, how would parents, guardians, or educators provide any context to the message/communication and turn it into teachable moments, such as why you can’t have everything, the cost and value of money, or that advertising can be misleading.
What are your thoughts? Can advertising and messaging to kids be of value beyond the inherent ad or sales tactic?
COPA, Marketing to Children, MMC6213, Strategic Communications,