Mariela E. Roldan

Roldan 1

MarielaE. Roldan

ProfessorAdam Floridia



HowAdvertising Manipulates Children

EricSchlosser article “Kid Kustomer” openly points out that companieshave put a lot of emphasis on marketing and advertising by targetingchildren, from the age of two years. He uses quotes and statementssaid by different well-known authors, to show through study thetactics they use to be able to win children. Eric openly warnsparents that their children are targets by different companies on thedifferent means of advertising for example internet, television,eating-places and many more to market their products. He concludeswith facts that parents have played a role in the exposure ofchildren to the different advertisement, by the way the parent haveplaced televisions in their children’s rooms. Eric creates a goodarticle by the use of statistics, applying emotional charm, study,and choice of word to convince people about it.

Inhis article, the “Kid Kustomer” Eric presents his information ina logical way. That is he lists his point, supports it, and explainsit. Afterwards, he uses a transitional statement to move to the nextpoint throughout the article. This makes the reader want to know thenext point that Eric wants to give and since the information uses thesame approach, the reader ends up reading the entire article. Forexample, the article begins with reasons why advertising companiestarget children. The transitional statement in the first sessionstates, “Get kids to nag their parents and nag them well” (390).This makes the reader desire to know how children really nag theirparents this tactic leaves the reader desiring to know will the nextstatement give full details of the nagging methods not knowingimmediately after giving the seven tactic another idea is dropped inthe minds of the reader who wants to know more about the children’staste. Eric goes on to explain the seven different forms of naggingchildren can take. He uses this throughout the article. The nexttransitional point Eric explains, “Before trying to affectchildren’s behavior, advertisers have to learn about their taste”(391). Eric gives different ways advertisers can use to be able toachieve this, concluding by giving the importance using the internet. He moves on to his next point by a transition statement that says,“Despite the growing importance of the internet television remainsthe primary medium for children’s advertising” (392). Here Ericis making the readers realize that television attract children morethan the other methods of advertising. This makes advertisers use itmore and mainly the commercials are put between the shows thechildren love to watch. Eric is trying to emphasize to the readers,due to the inability of a child to be able to make clear decision,when either they see the product they saw on TV again in thesupermarket or elsewhere they would try to make the parents buy forthem using different nagging methods.

Ericuses writer’s quotations to be able to prove his points. He pointsout the facts in such a way that the readers will not think that itis his thoughts but proven fact from professionals in differentfields. This makes the reader want to get all the tactics that arebeing used to lure their children. For example, he starts with theresults obtained from the survey carried out by the Journal of theAmerican Medical Association and is able to discuss about James U.McNeal who is viewed as a leading authority in America concerningchildren marketing (390). After giving details concerning theprofessionalism of McNeal, Eric talks about some theorists andpsychologist Jean Piaget and Erik Erikson. He wants the readers tobelieve that if this is a known marketer, or a theorist or apsychologists then the information they are giving must be true, hedoes not leave any doubt in the minds of the readers. In addition, hetalks about “the president of Youth Market System Consulting andthe author of what kids buy and why” (391). He continues and talksabout the federation investigation findings where by children weregiving their personal information with only 1 percent option ofinquiring the data from approval through their parents (392). HereEric is making the readers realize and feel the negative effect ofadvertising that is being used on their children even without theirconsent to be able to get information from their children, that willhelp the marketer be able to sell their products. Finally, he talksabout the talks about information obtained from the formerchairperson Michael Pertschuk of the Federal Trade Commission whoinsisted that “Children need to be shielded from advertising thatpreys upon their immaturity” (392). Rhetorically this confirms thatthe government had allowed the use of advertising to be made onchildren. However, it had some worries concerning some methods usedby some companies and Eric is alerting the readers to be carefulbecause not everything the children are being exposed to by theadvertisers is good.

Ericuses emotional appeal liberally from the beginning the article to itsconclusion. In the first paragraph, he explains how advertisers makeuse of “sweet sounding names” (390) to appeal to the childrenconcerning their brand at a younger age, with mentality thosechildren will remember and be loyal to the brand even when old. Ericis pointing out to the reader that the powers of charming words arehard for children to forget even when they are old. This is becausethe marketers know people love good names. Eric adds that WaltDisney and Ray Kroc realized, “Children often recognize brand logobefore they can recognize their own names” (390). This is to informthe readers the power that images have on children is very strong andlong lasting. For example, the brand logo of coca cola soda it is soeasy to recognize it once you see it anywhere. In the secondparagraph, he outlines the disadvantages of marketing and advertisingusing quotes published in the American Medical Association Journal“nearly all of America’s six year olds could identify Joe Cameljust as familiar to them as Mickey Mouse” (390). Camel made use ofcartoons to advertise cigarettes and study show that it influencednegatively to some children who started using the camel cigarettes.This is a strong warning to the readers that they should be cautiousabout the things their children are watching because they may affecttheir lives forever. This is because children are not aware of theconsequences of everything they watch or marketers are exposing tothem.A good example is “Marketers researchers analyze children’sartwork, hire children to run focus groups, stage slumber parties andthen question children into the night. They send culturalanthropologists into homes, stores, fast food restaurants, and otherplaces where kids like to gather, quietly and surreptitiouslyobserving the behavior of prospective customer” (391). This meansthat advertisers were finding methods to trick the children for thebenefit of their own research. The article also creates a negativepolitical emotion when Eric points out that the ban againstadvertisers focusing on children was lifted three months afterPresident Ronald Reagan was inaugurated (392). This means that thepresident did not have any issue with the advertisers. However, thereis no justification of it.

Ericpoints out the use of statistics and facts of how advertisers aim atchildren. He clearly states that yearly children in America “he orshe watches more than thirty thousand TV commercials” (393). Inaddition, he indirectly blames the parents for the problem since“About one – quarter of American children between the age of twoand five have a TV in their room” (393). That means if the childrendid not watch too much TV they would not get the information. Ericclearly is telling the readers that parents putting TV’s in theirchild’s room is wrong because it openly exposes their children tothe different available advertisements.

Fromthe article, it is evident the way Eric uses of different rhetoricaltechniques. Eric uses logical arrangement of his points to be able todeliver the different tactics that advertisers use to market on thechildren. He also makes use of different emotions and authors to makehis claims satisfactory to the readers. Eric aims at showing thereaders, the dangerous effect that advertisers have when they focuson children to the society.