Ok, maybe that’s up for debate but the impact on my own children clearly began at an early age. The shift from spoon-fed pureed spinach to craving … no, demanding chicken nuggets at McDonalds was a quick one and it wasn’t because their parents always ate there. Was it because their friends got to go, they saw the advertising, the Playplace, Ronald or the food itself? It was most likely a combination of several factors, including advertising.
It’s easy to write another story about the perceived impact and influence of advertising on children, especially within the alcohol and tobacco categories, so let’s look at this from a different angle.
For those of us in the marketing and advertising business who spend our days helping our clients build their brands, we know our messaging has an impact on children. Certainly not a quantitative study but I am fascinated by what my own three kids absorb, especially when they watch TV. Looking at just one category, they know Flo, Mayhem and that friendly gecko to name a few. My 13 year old asked me which insurance company we have. He wanted to know whether it was one of the companies he was familiar with.
Unless you completely shelter your children from all media, might we embrace the opportunity?
Parents no doubt need to do their part in censoring what their children watch but we can also do a better job of explaining the role advertising plays in all of our lives. Advertising does serve a positive purpose. We want advertising to make our kids Think and not just Do when they see and hear advertising and this needs to be explained to them at an early age. Thinking before Doing is something we try to practice every day at SMZ.
Now, when your kids ask you what does “when the time is right” mean … you’re on your own with that one.
John Gielow, VP, Director of Digital Strategy