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Ethics in Children's Advertising

In: Business and Management

Submitted By jawa6306
Words 919
Pages 4
Advertising ethics has long been considered to be a gray area within the business world. This happens a lot when it comes to advertising for items that can harm the consumer. The gray area of ethics usually brings about thoughts of tobacco or alcohol, but what about food? It is no longer an object of debate as to whether or not obesity has become a problem in America and it is also evident that this problem that begins with childhood. It is evident that food is slowly killing people but the question remains whether or not the advertisement of high calorie foods is an unethical venture.
For one, food companies spend an average of $1.6 billion on advertising directed specifically at children. Children possess lower levels of persuasion knowledge and may lack the ability to critically evaluate common advertising tactics such as fantasy, and may form judgments based mostly on their affection of the characters involved (Rose, Merchant, Bakir 2012). It does not take an expert research team to deduce the impressionability of children nor to realize that they are a prime target for advertising. Is it unethical to advertise foods laden with fat and sugar to children whom do not know better?
Children watch an average of 2 hours and 17 minutes of television each day, 16 hours each week, and are exposed to 25,600 advertisements a year, with 22% of these advertisements being for food (Rose et al. 2012). In their study, Rose et al. recorded, over the course of the three months spent observing commercials on children’s networks, ninety two unique advertisements for food. Of these, 26% were for fast food, 17% were for cereals, and 11% were for candy. It was also noted that children reacted to the advertisement more positively when the level of fantasy was high and could easily identify the brands associated with a particular mascot.
Advertisers often attempt to influence the...

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