An Investigation Into the Language Used in Childrens Advertising

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An Investigation into the Language used in Children’s Advertising











In my investigation I am going to analyse the language used in children’s television advertising looking specifically at whether the language used is aimed primarily at the children or their parents.


I have chosen to look at the language used in children’s advertising because I am interested in how the language of advertising can be used to influence children and their parents and am specifically interested in trying to analyse this for girls. I hope that I can also draw on my own early experiences to help me with some of my conclusions.

When I was 4 years old I wanted the new ‘Baby Born’ doll really badly and kept asking my mum until I got it. When I did get it, I played with it constantly and gradually lost the different accessories that came with her.

I remember clearly that when my little sister played with her Barbie dolls when she was younger that she would use an American accent when making the dolls speak. I was never sure why she did this but I did find it amusing.

I am aiming to find out whether language in advertising is manipulative, whether it reinforces traditional gender categories and whether I believe it to be a positive force or not.

The use of language in television advertising is influenced by other factors such as whether voices used are that of a man, woman or child. The studies I have read indicate that voiceovers given by men are far more effective for successful marketing than those by women. The 1979 study found that quite often even if the product was seen as female, most girl targeted ad’s used men for the voice-overs and that where women voice-overs were used they were only for girls products which would seem to imply that these products didn’t warrant the recommendation of a man. Studies found that people respond better to male voices than female voices.

I have read some studies on children’s’ advertising and a book on advertising (see Bibliography) and the findings of these made me interested in finding out whether modern advertising supports the findings of these studies. ‘‘Children learn personality and behaviour patterns through the imitation of their own parents attitudes and behaviours and will acquire the patterns of behaviour more rapidly where there is an attractive model whose behaviour is rewarded’’ (Smith, 1994). As part of my work I am looking at whether my adverts support traditional gender roles.


I will watch advertisements on children’s television channels. The channels I am going to be watching are Nickelodeon and Nick Junior.

To carry out my investigation I needed data and the only way for me to collect this was to watch children’s’ TV, record the advertisements, transcribe them and then analyse my findings. My transcriptions have been included in my Appendix.

To ensure that my data and any conclusions drawn from analysing it are valid I have used actual adverts and transcribed them carefully, and not made up any of my findings. I must not over generalise as it is easy to assume that what I find from my transcriptions is true of all advertisements and this is incorrect as all adverts are different.

To analyse my data I am going to look at pragmatics and grammar. I may also make observations on lexis and semantics.

I decided to analyse my data this way because I am looking at the language of advertising, i.e. the words and how they are used and also how it influences and this will help me answer my key question.

My data is organised by transcript and I am going to analyse each of my transcripts separately. I hope that this will give me common results that I can include in my conclusions.


Transcript 1

|Syllables |Total number of words | |1...
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