Kid Kustomers

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“Kid Kustomers” Eric Schlosser
In his report, “Kid Kustomers,” Eric Schlosser discovers the tactics marketers and manufacturers utilize to target children. Schlosser claims that since the 1980s when working parents spent less and less time with their kids, they felt it necessity to spend more money on them. Manufacturers took advantage and began to promote a kid-related appearance. They started by observing children of specific ages to discover their interests and habits, receiving much of their information from the Internet and kids’ clubs. This provided the marketers insights on how to improve their business plan to attract more children and create “cradle-to-grave” customers. Their strategies often resulted in clever mascots like a fast food clown, a talking Chihuahua and Joe Camel. Companies’ new and effective advertisements reached kids’ homes across the country with the accessibility of television. Schlosser writes about how the Joe Camel cartoon character, a representative of Camel cigarettes, became a familiar figure to young children. He reports, “A 1991 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found nearly all American six-year-olds could identify Joe Camel, who was just as familiar to them as Mickey Mouse.” This research is a shocking example of how children are targeted by commercials and then view the product being sold as kid-friendly or tempting. Moreover, Schlosser says, that the information found on the Internet by marketers was used to improve their business tactics to attract more kids. In addition he discusses the persistent nag, which is a constantly repeated plea that children use to persuade their parents to buy things for them. Children learn this method by playing on a parent’s guilt, Schlosser argues, and marketers learn how to create products that convince kids to use this and other nagging methods.
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