Literature Review on Television Ads

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Literature Review On Television Ads
1.Television and Children
2.Television Commercials and Children
3.Television Commercials and Gender Roles
a.Content Analyses - Adults & Children
4.Television Commercials, Masculinity and Boys
a.Content Analyses
1. Television and Children
In this section I will be reviewing the literature on children and television. It has been demonstrated that the average American viewer is exposed to 31 hours of television a week, of which three to nine hours is devoted to commercials (Furnham, & Bitar, 1993). In the case of children, the average preschooler watches 28 hours per week, while the average school-aged child, watches 24 hours per week (Lazar, 1994). Based on the percentages reported by Furnham & Bitar (1993), these children are exposed to as much as eight hours of commercials per week. It is likely that these numbers are similar to those we would find in Canada (Kline, 1993). Due to the level of exposure children have to television, it is important to determine what kind of socializing effect television may have on them. There has been a great deal of research designed to demonstrate that television has an impact on children's beliefs, and behaviours (Kline, 1993; Butter, Weikel, Otto, Wright, & Deinzer, 1991; Huston & Alvarez, 1990; Meltzoff, 1988; Downs, & Harrison, 1985). Two of these studies will be briefly reviewed here. One particularly intriguing study looked at how fourteen and twenty-four month old infants were affected by a television "advertisement". Meltzoff (1988), divided his subjects into three groups, two of which were presented with a televised demonstration of how to play with a new toy. The demonstration presented to each group was different, with the first group receiving a correct demonstration of how to play with the toy, the second group receiving an incorrect demonstration of how to play with the toy, and the third group receiving no demonstration at all. Following the various levels of demonstrations, the infants were presented with the toy shown on the television. The children who had been given a televised demonstration of how to play with the toy, played correctly with the toy significantly more often than did those who had been given an incorrect demonstration, or no demonstration at all. This knowledge was also apparently retained over a one year period (Meltzoff, 1988). Meltzoff argues that his study demonstrates that children as young as fourteen months imitate what they see on television, and retain this information for up to a year. A second study introduced school-aged children to advertisements pertaining to over the counter drugs. It was discovered that these commercials had a modest influence on the children's willingness to suggest medicinal solutions to illnesses over equally viable non-medicinal solutions. This was particularly noticeable for drugs that were previously unfamiliar to the children (Butter, Weikel, Otto, Wright & Deinzer, 1991). These and other studies suggest that television acts as an important influence on children's perceptions and behaviour. ________________________________________

2. Television Commercials and Children
Within the literature on children and television, specific work on television commercials has been done. In a study focusing on children's perceptions of alcohol consumption, Wallack and Grube found evidence to prove that television advertising influenced children's perceptions (1994). Their subjects who were exposed to television commercials advertising alcoholic beverages, developed an overwhelmingly positive perception of alcohol consumption. Due to the age of the subjects however (pre-teens), no evidence could be found to indicate that commercials influenced children's actual drinking behaviour. The province of Quebec provides researchers with an interesting case study, as legislation has banned all commercials aimed at...
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