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Regulation of Children's Advertising in China

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					             Regulation of Children’s
              Advertising in China
             Kara Chan, Hong Kong Baptist University
               James U McNeal, Peking University

                       November 7-8, 2003
                      Dunedin, New Zealand



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Background
      Adoption of One-child policy in 1979
      Children as “little emperors/empresses”
      290 million children under the age of 14, in 2000,
      compared with 60 million people in entire US
      Urban Children‟s spending=US$6.2 billion in 1999
      Influenced the spending of parents and
      grandparents of US$61 billion
      Total market potential US$67 billion

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Advertising Law
      1982: Interim Regulations for Advertising
      Management
      1987: Regulations for Advertising
      Management
      1995: The first national law went into
      effect on February 1




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   Children’s advertising

 Definition in the censorship standard:
“advertising of products to be used by
 children or adverting using children as
 models”
   (State Administration for Industry and Commerce
   and State Planning Committee, 1993)



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    Standard of advertisements
     Children‟s advertisements would violate the
     standards if they:
     1. are harmful to children‟s mental and physical
     health or moral standards
     2. induce children to put pressure on parents to
     buy the advertised products
     3. reduce children‟s respect for their elders or
     friendly behavior
     4. interrupt parents‟ or elders‟ education of their
     children
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       5. instill in children a sense of superiority or
       inferiority from owing or not owning an advertised
       product
       6. use child models to demonstrate a product in a
       capacity exceeding that of an average child of that
       age
       7. show acts that children should not be doing
       alone
       8. cause children to act or behave badly
       9. deceive children by using descriptions beyond
       the judgment capacity of children
       10. use the names, the identities or images of
       teachers, educators, writers of children‟s literature,
       or child celebrities to endorse products.
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Methodology
         Desk research of
              newspaper, articles, journal papers and books
         Personal interviews
              An advertising director working in an
              international advertising agency in Shanghai
              An SAIC officer responsible for advertising
              censorship in Shanghai in October 2002




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    Controversial TV commercials
    targeting at children
Example 1: a Pharmaceutical commercial
     “The child is sick; give him a shot…”
     “Oh, no, no.” The child refuses.
     “Give him medicine…”
     “Oh, no , no.” The child refuses again.
     “He doesn't like the pain or taste.”
     The frustrated mother begging the child. “Oh my dear, what do
       you want?”
     An imported medicine appears and it solves the problem.

    Violation of Article 8: It features the child as a spoiled emperor,
    demanding submission from the parents. It also portrays the
    parents in a passive and inadequate role.
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   Example 2: a Soft drink Commercial

       A little boy lying in his mother’s arms, says “My
       grandpa is a manager, and my dad is a manager.
       When I grow up, I would like to be a manager, too.”

       Violation of Article 8
       It misleads children that using the product will enhance
       their intelligence and their future career.
       Ideologically incorrect
       Glorifying the managerial class carries undesirable
       capitalistic overtones.


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   ‘Good’ and ‘cultural appropriate’
   children’s advertisements

      Example 1: An almond Drink
      commercial

             A girl prepares the drink and serves it to
             her grandfather.

      This commercial is good
      The girl shows respect and caring for the
      elderly in her family.

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Example 2: De Beers, a multinational
 diamond distributor

     A young boy places a ring made of grass on the
     finger of a young girl; then cuts to a scene where
     both of them have grown up. The young man is
     placing a diamond ring on the young lady’s finger on
     their wedding day.


     The commercial was initially rejected
     It featured „puppy love‟; children should focus their
     lives on education and family. After changing the
     opening shot to include a wide shot of a group of
     children playing under a tree, the TVC was accepted.
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  Commercial not approved on TV
    Example :
        A children’s food commercial featuring Santa
        Claus for Christmas greeting

        This commercial is not approved
        Christmas was not an official holiday in China
        and Santa was not considered as an appropriate
        celebrity figure for children due to its religious
        origin.

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Advertising Censorship

     According to the Advertising Law, the content
     of advertisements is to be censored prior to
     dissemination in the media by relevant
     administrative authorities-in-charge.




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    Organization structure of the
    censorship authorities
             The state

    State Administration for
                                             Advertising Censorship Bureau
     Industry and Commerce

  Provincial Administration of
                                       Advertising Censorship Department
    Industry and Commerce

   District Administration for                 Advertising Censorship
     Industry and Commerce                            Division

      Country Administration                    Advertising Censorship
    for Industry and Commerce                          Section

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  Advertising auditors

             Acts as internal auditors that help business
             establishments to enhance the
             understanding of specific requirements and
             interpretation of the Advertising Law
             Plays minor roles in the censorship process
             and existed in name only



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   Advertising consultants

       The China Advertising Association
       establishes an information consultant
       center that provides legal consultancy
       services for advertising agencies.




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Media gatekeepers
     People in the media sometimes act as the
     final gatekeepers in the censorship
     process. They can reject an ad even if the
     advertisement has obtained a certificate of
     approval from the national office of the
     China Advertising Association.



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    Perceived problems of the
    advertising censorship

    The process is bureaucratic and
    extremely time consuming and costly.
    The ads agency people have been
    strongly critical of the subjective
    judgment involved in the censorship
    process because it has caused much
    stress.

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       illegal advertisements in 2000
        by product category (N=66,824)




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       illegal advertisements in 2000
       by media (N= 66,824)




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Self-regulation
      Self-regulation is the recognition by the
      advertising industry (advertisers, agencies
      and the media) that advertising should
      comply to a set of ethical rules
      It should be legal, decent, honest and trustful,
      prepared with a sense of social responsibility
      to the consumer and to society as a whole,
      and with due respect to the rules of fair
      competition
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     Conclusion

       Advertising Law needs rooms for
       improvement :
     1.      A separate section to deal with children‟s
             advertising
     2.      An unambiguous and well-defined
             advertising law to develop a healthy
             advertising industry


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