Aggressive Marketing/Advertising Techniques:
- Uncle Toby‟s “Grinners” TV advertisement: Contemporary themes like computer games
were used. Characters appear to capture real strawberries Glossy appearance and use
of nature as a theme makes the food look fresh. The food being unhealthy is irrelevant.
- An advertisement inserted within a program. Psychologists see an ethical problem of
showing an advertisement with a well known character. CC‟s used the Simpsons in an
advertisement. Children can not differentiate between advertisements and programs
when they are mixed. It is approximately at the age 8 that they gain the ability to
differentiate the two media.
- Making a promotional product (such as a toy) more prevalent in an advertisement than
the main food.
- Processes around food are also used to socialise children. Advertising that undermines
the use of mealtimes to foster good social behaviour and positive interactions will be
resented. “More positively, an awareness of the ways that families use eating for these
purposes can be used to enhance the value placed on types of food by parents, and
increase the effectiveness of advertising.” The whole social system of a how a child will
respond need to be considered for an advert to be successful, and this social system is
mostly influenced by the way the family and peer group operate. (Smith 1997)
- It‟s important to provide children with variety of new foods so that they will not get bored
– which then becomes variety for the parents too. Pizzas are one such successful food
that can keep changing and be liked by both family members.
- Girls relate to boys but not vice versa.
- Maintaining a child‟s insecurity (eg that promote thinnes in girls and aggression in boys)
- Page 23 (Smith 19997)
- Advertising needs to sue universal themes and a slick presentation. “Children‟s primary
response to advertising is emotional, and that is what enduring themes tap into.” (Smith
- Universal themes:
a) Kids in control (Often feeling overwhelmed in the world, kids want to make their
own choices and have their own money). It could be manifested as:
i) Pulling the strings (fooling or winning one over the adult)
ii) Feeling intellectually clever (showing it off is more important, so TV
shows and computer game magazines give small bite-sized
packages of information like facts or jokes. Eg Kids know dinosaurs
more than their parents.)
iii) Mastering a skill (kids love a challenge, seeing people, especially
children, master a skill, like a construction set, cartwheel, making a
sandwich, using a magic toy set. Kraft ran “design a sandwich”
competition. Being fit is definitely cool. Using a sports star.)
iv) Winning (“The ultimate proof of being in control is winning.”
Overcoming an obstacle or challenge to win – having earned it. Win
by strength, practice or ingenuity – like walking across a ceiling like
Spiderman to get a cheese or toasting a sandwich with an iron.
Have an audience validate the win – applause.)
b) wanting to be older
i) Doing adult things (mobile phones are a „must have accessory‟,
bikes give independence, make the product as close to the adult
version as possible and not kiddie-like)
ii) Imagining you‟re older or someone else (a character like a rock star
or batman, that kids have seen on screen. Show kids as being
smarter than adults, in control and clever just as in sitcoms where
kids are adult-like and adults are reduced to being childish. Having
their own place to do what they want. Barbie has this independence
and allows the child to project their aspirations onto the doll.)
c) social acceptance
i) having friends or being part of a group (Security of a group and
being twins, and being able to choose their favourite individual
within the team like Donatello in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Clever anti-smoking campaign defines the group to be with
“Nobody wants to date a smoker any more.”)
ii) Impressing friends (especially important to be first or the only one
to have something).
iii) Not sticking out (“Give them a chance to be individuals, within an
accepted structure of what‟s currently popular – familiarity with a
twist.” Spice Girls conformed to what was popular but each singer
had their own identity. Kids can identify with a particular character
and like the security of the group.)
d) precious possessions
i) ownership, hoarding collecting (“Children love owning, organising
and gazing at their personal possession. Little shelves and boxes
ii) privacy, personal property (Kids love hiding away and personalising
their possessions. Their bedrooms and tree houses are their
sanctuary – which offers manufacturer opportunity to decorate their
rooms. Secrets & secret diaries, finding something secret or
hidden, “getting their own mail, joining clubs.” Having their name on
iii) mothering, grooming (Especially girls love having pets or dolls to
iv) kid size (Miniaturisation of everything. Kinder Surprise is partly
popular from being kid‟s size.)
e) Good vs Bad (Kids love to see the clash between Good and Evil and love being
scared (not frightened), and would like the baddies to win once in a while.
Disgusting elements & use of the body's digestive system.
- Interaction (Something to copy and take with them. "Children remember what they see
rather than what they hear.")
a) Action (cool handshakes, funny walks, wing-flapping of chicken tonight.)
b) Words (Older children love word play. Invent new words, use repetition, jokes,
mannerisms, a catch-phrase or a pun. Use a child's voice [but not childish talk]
over or a funny accent. Kids watch out especially for catch phrases such a at
the end of the advertisement. Product names have to imaginative.)
c) Music (music has a broad appeal and is an integral part of children's lifestyle.
Children singing along help the association of the advertised product.)
- Lots of action / detail (children get bored easily and have a short attention span.
Everything needs to be like the activities in a playground - short and fast paced,
continually moving with lots of features, small touches and fun detail - children notice
details more than adults. Start and/or end an advertisement with something eye
catching like a shout or a visual trick. Too much detail on the surface can be
overwhelming though and they like a beginning, middle and an end.)
- Fun (slapstick, poking fun at authority figures, surprises, unusual walk or dress, funny
costumes or disguises, incongruous things.)
a) Boring (lengthy dialogue, slow or complicated stories)
b) Patronising (underestimating children or pretending to be one of them)
c) Out of Date (trends, especially in language)
d) Ubelievable / stupid
e) Relying on voiceover alone to deliver a message
f) Poor production values, poor casting (ie too young, too many girls, perfect
g) Over-complicated (kids are more knowledgeable than we were, but not
necessarily more nature).
Insert diagram at page 121 (Smith 1997)
- Illustrations were successful if they were playful, used multiple colours, bubble
typography. Realistic illustrations were deemed boring and as adult. Illustration was
preferred to photography.
- Characters were intimately linked to the product, their main characteristics (eg flavour or
physical attributes). Older children are more cynical about licensed characters. The
popular appeal of characters drops off between ages 6-9.
- Packaging is successful if it considers:
a) impact (brightness, speed and movement)
b) a friendly and inviting personality and the possibility of a long term relationship
with the product
c) a lot of detail to examine and dream about
d) a relevant proposition that is not „babyish‟ or patronising
e) honesty (a clear product proposition, flavour coding, genuine and meaningful
f) focus on taste and delivery (fruitiness, chocolate appeal)
g) design and advertising working in synergy