When one thinks of ads it’s most likely that they will think of the ones seen on television or in a magazine or something that they heard on the radio, but in today’s world ads are everywhere. In fact “The average American child watches an estimate between 25,000 to 40,000 television commercials per year.” (http://www.globalissues.org/article/237/children-as-consumers)

From the emblems on clothing, to children talking about a new product, advertisements bombard our way of life, but with children it could almost be said that ads are their life. But some companies have now taken advertising to the next level by placing the audience into the ad, especially children. companies have come up with a new concept called “Advergaming” which is the creation of online games and activities for children in the age range of about 5 to 14. These games are based upon products like cereals or unhealthy snacks, and dedicated to try and get the child to purchase the item or persuade their parent to get that item for them.

One reason advergaming is so popular now is because of the driving costs of advertisements. Its estimated that in 2004 it cost between $7 to $30 per thousand people that saw an advertisement, however with advergaming it is estimated to be about $2 per thousand players. (Pereira 2004).
One of the most notable examples would be with Kellogs “Froot Loops” cereal which boosts a mascot toucan named “Toucan Sam” with a multi-colored beak. Through out commercials for FrootLoops, Toucan Sam is often with his toucan nephews and then faced with some horrible incident that causes him to misplace or have his delicious cereal taken from him and his nephews. Then a website link pops up telling the audience that they can help Sam get his FrootLoops back by logging on to www.frootloops.com and playing mini games.

Once at the website, a quick animated video pops up motivating kids to go outside and play and be active, however this goes against the idea of sitting at a computer to help a fictitious bird find some cereal. Its most likely that this video was placed there do to ever more conscious parents trying to make healthy decisions for their children. The website then entices the children to either click the two biggest buttons which are “Adventures” and “What Happens Next” referring to the quests Toucan Sam has been on/will go on in order to get back his cereal.

This new form of advertising is very misleading and should be stopped when one is too look at how simple-minded children are. They are not capable of being able to easily deconstruct that the website with their new favorite game on it is really an advertisement for a product. This new form of advertisment not only tricks them into staying on that website because of the interactivity in terms of games, but at the same time, could be said that it is brainwashing the child to product loyalty.

 

Sources:
Thomson, Deborah M. (January, 2011) “Marshmallow Power and Frooty Treasures: Disciplining the Child Consumer through Online Cereal Advergaming.”

Moore, Elizabeth S. (July, 2006) “It’s Child’s Play: Advergaming and the Online Marketing of Food to Children.” http://www.kff.org/entmedia/upload/7536.pdf

 

Pereira, Joseph (2004) “Junk Food Games; Online Arcades Draw Fire for Immersing Kids in Ads; Ritz Bits Wrestling, Anyone?” The Wall Street Journal, (May 3), B1.

Images Used:

Image retrieved from: http://brianrowe.org/IMT550/2010/03/05/privacy-of-children-as-consumers/
Image retrieved from: http://www.miltontrainworks.com/MTW/services/KCC/FL_moreInfo.php

 

4 Responses to “Trapped Inside an Ad”
  1. Theron Ruggeri says:

    Apples are hot, I’ll give you that. In fact, I have an Apple laptop that I use from time-to-time. However, for their price, I can get better specifications at roughly 1/3 the price that Apple charges. In these economic times, it just doesn’t make sense to do that.

  2. Andre Loxas says:

    By the way, most ads in the 80s exploited the ignorance of many, thanks to the revolution of the internet, information is available to everybody and the old tricks don’t work anymore for adults, not for kids though.

  3. mike says:

    pretty interesting article. I enjoyed it

  4. iNAP says:

    Wow. Thanks for the article. It is sad what media and social science has applied their money and brains to. They are ruining the future of our country.

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