Sunday, May 24, 2009

Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood

This award winning documentary is about the influence of the children on the consumption.

“A cri de coeur on behalf of people too young to suspect how their ‘share of mind’ is being jealously divided. . . . Linn does a fine job of exposing the wickedness of preying commercially on the young.”
–The Wall Street Journal

"A measured, but ultimately devastating, critique of consumerism and American childhood.”
–Mother Jones

In Consuming Kids, psychologist Susan Linn takes a comprehensive and unsparing look at the demographic advertisers call "the kid market," taking readers on a compelling and disconcerting journey through modern childhood as envisioned by commercial interests. Children are now the focus of a marketing maelstrom, targets for everything from minivans to M&M counting books. All aspects of children's lives—their health, education, creativity, and values—are at risk of being compromised by their status in the marketplace.

Interweaving real-life stories of marketing to children, child development theory, the latest research, and what marketing experts themselves say about their work, Consuming Kids reveals the magnitude of this problem and shows what can be done about it.

Some Facts:

From 1992 to 1997, the amount of money spent on marketing to children doubled, from $6.2 billion to $12.7 billion.[i] Today they are spending at least $15 billion.

Children influence purchases totaling over $600 billion a year.[ii]

Children spend almost forty hours a week outside of school consuming media, most of which is commercially driven.[iii]

The average child sees about 40,000 commercials each on television alone.[iv]

65% of children eight to eighteen have a television in their bedroom as do 32% of children two to seven[v] and 26% of children under two.[vi]

The marketing industry has found that babies are requesting brands as soon as they speak.[vii]

In 2002, McDonald’s spent over $1.3 billion on advertising in the United States.[viii]

Children are more vulnerable to marketing than adults. Very young children are not able to distinguish between commercials and television programs.[ix]

Until the age about eight children can’t understand persuasive intent–that the purpose of commercials is to entice them into buying the product being advertised.[x]

In 2000, a federal report from the General Accounting Office called marketing in schools a growth industry.[xi]

More children recognize the Budweiser Frogs than Smokey the Bear.[xii]

85% of American parents would like to see children’s television programs commercial free.[xiii]

[i]. Lauro, PW (1999) Coaxing the smile that sells: Baby wranglers in demand in marketing for children. New York Times, November 1, C1+.

[ii]. Packaged Facts. “The Kids Market.” New York:, March 2000.

[iii]. Roberts, DF et al (1999) Kids & Media @ the New Millennium. Menlo Park, CA: The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

[iv]. Kunkel, D. (2001) Children and television advertising. In D.G. Singer & J.L. Singer (Eds.), The handbook of children and media. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 375-394.

[v]. Roberts, 1999.

[vi].Rideout, V.; Vandewater, E.;and Wartella, E. Zero to Six: Electronic Media in the Lives of Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers (Melnlo Park: CA: The Henry F. Kaiser Family Foundation, 2003) pg. 5.

[vii]. Paul Kurnit quoted in Duncan Hood, “Is Advertising to Kids Wrong? Marketers Respond,” KidScreen, November 2000, 16.

[viii]. “100 Leading National Advertisers,” Advertising Age, 74 (25) 23 June 2003, 2.

[ix]. Atkin, C. (1982) Television Advertising and Socialization Consumer Roles. In D. Pearl (Ed.), Television and Behavior: Ten Years of Scientific Progress and Implications for the Eighties. Rockland, MD: National Institute of Mental Health, 191-200.

[x]. Kunkel, D. (2001) Children and Television Advertising. In D.G. Singer & J.L. Singer (Eds.), The handbook of children and media. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 375-393.

[xi]. Shaul, MS. Public Education: Commercial Activities in Schools. Report to Congressional Requesters. Washington, D.C.: United States General Accounting Office, 2000.

[xii]. Lieber (1996) Commercial and character slogan recall by children aged 9 to 11years: Budweiser frogs versus Bugs Bunny. Berkeley, CA: Center on Alcohol Advertising.

[xiii]. Lake, Snell, Perry, and Associates. Television in the digital age: A report to the Project on Media Ownership and the Benton Foundation, December, 1998. Susan Linn ©2004

Note: Sorry about the slovakian subtitles but this is the only full version of the documentary I could find. If you find the link without subtitles please let me know.


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