Professor Amy Sandefur
November 27, 2014
Rhetorical Essay on “Kid Kustomers”
Eric Schlosser wrote a book called Fast Food Nation in 2001. “Kid Kustomers” was a chapter in Schlosser’s book where he aimed to inform the readers about businesses using their advertisements to target children. By citing credible sources, using studies and statistics, applying emotional appeal, and using good word choice Schlosser created a strong essay. “Kid Kustomers” is about the businesses using their advertisements to target children from as early as age 2 (Pg.520). It all began in the 1980’s because parents began to feel guilty for not being able to spend as much time with their children since they work (Pg.519). Businesses took this to their advantage and started targeting kids. It’s hard for these businesses to think of a 3 year old level, so they began children groups to discuss their favorite animal, superhero, etc. (Pg.521). Television and the internet are also huge contributors in posting advertisements. One year, Ronald McDonald asked all the kids to go to the McDonalds website and tell him a little about himself (Pg.523). They then passed the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act which does not allow children to do this without parental consent (Pg.523). A great way that Schlosser convinced his readers about the advertisement’s secret is by citing very credible sources. Using these sources help make his essay very reliable. In his opening paragraph he talks about some industries publications, such as Youth Market Alert, Selling to Kids, and Marketing to Kids Report, who goes more in depth on this topic (Pg.520). Having these type of sources talking about the same information makes it very strong and credible. Dan S. Acuff is another person he used to back up some of his own findings. Dan actually wrote a book himself titled What Kids Buy and Why which really talks about what appeals to children (Pg. 522). He also grabbed some information from James U. McNeal. McNeal is the leading authority on marketing to children and is also a professor at Texas A&M (Pg. 520). He describes the juvenile nagging tactics. The reason Schlosser probably picked this to add into his chapter is because this is the major factor that businesses rely on, they want them to nag their parents. Businesses calls this “surrogate salesmen” because they know that kids have a way of getting what they want, because they nag (Pg.521). They may nag in different ways, but it is the main reason businesses love them.
Schlosser provided his readers with amazing studies from some credible sources. He uses a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that states that nearly all American six-year-olds can identify Joe Camel and that one-third of all minors who illegally buy tobacco buy Camel (520). This is very eye-opening study for many people so I think it really helped create an emotional feeling and add logic. Another study said confirmed that once fast food restaurants added toys in their kid’s meal, it raised their profit by 300% (Pg. 522). They are also changing it every 2 weeks so that when a kid sees the cool new toy they are advertising, they will nag mom and dad until they get what it which brings in more money for the restaurant. Another study that Schlosser added was that a child spends about 21 hours a week watching television, and about one quarter of all kids 2-5 have a television in their room (Pg.524). This statistic shows just how lenient of parents this generation is. Schlosser also uses great emotional appeal throughout the whole chapter. The fact that he is talking about how these big businesses are targeting are younger generations is an emotional appeal in itself. I think it sends off a feeling of helplessness to parents because these advertisements are everywhere and you cannot shield your child from it. These businesses are using a method that they call “cradle-to-grave” which means...
Cited: Schlosser, Eric. “Kid Kustomer.” From Inquiry to Academic Writing. 2nd ed. Eds. Stuart Greene and April Lidinsky. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s. Print. 519-526.
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