Psychological Approaches to Advertising and Marketing

Brian Young

in Childhood Studies

ISBN: 9780199791231
Published online April 2013 | | DOI:
Psychological Approaches to Advertising and Marketing


The relationship between advertising/marketing and children has been explored from the vantage point of various disciplines and can be said to lie at the crossroads of interdisciplinary inquiry. Placing children with commercial communications evokes images of children and the commercial world and challenges conventional social representations of childhood. Advertising and marketing to children can also be considered and examined in the context of consumer socialization—how children adapt to and internalize the norms of consumption and consumer behavior in their culture. Developmental psychological research examining children’s ability to take the perspective of others, their emerging theory of mind, and their understanding of promotional communication has been used to explain how children understand advertising. The relationship between children and brands begins early in infancy and develops into an intrinsic part of the emerging social and personal identity of the adolescent of the 21st century. Growing up in a world of advertising with the emergence of a new media landscape implies consumer socialization with the various ways and different agencies that operate to instill consumer learning in children. As children have limited disposable personal income they have to negotiate within the family for goods and services and this can have negative consequences often called “pester power” or the “nag factor.” Advertising and marketing do not function as agents of influence in isolation and need to be considered in the context of other socialization factors, such as the family and peers. The so-called unintended consequences of advertising can include the cultivation of materialistic attitudes and beliefs. The role of advertising and marketing in the emergence of dietary habits and the relative contribution of these promotional activities in public health problems such as obesity need to be discussed in all their complexity. High-liability products for firms and high-risk products for consumers, such as alcohol and tobacco, are marketed within a strict regulatory framework in many parts of the world; but issues concerning underage consumption in early adolescence need to be evaluated. More recently the radically changing media landscape with social network sites, global gaming, and access to the Internet using smartphones has raised fresh issues about advertising to children. The scope of childhood covered in this article includes adolescence but excludes the marketing and advertising related to planning for and anticipating children within a family.

Article.  14543 words. 

Subjects: Development Studies

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