1. When does it become unethical to market to children?
In my opinion, it is unethical to market to children under the age of 14 years. In a study published in the journal of Pediatrics, a health researcher by the name of Jerry Grenard at Claremont Graduate University followed 4,000 students in seventh through 10th grades, assessing their exposure to alcohol advertising on television and asking about their alcohol use. Grenard noted that not only did the advertising increase the odds of underage drinking among adolescents but it also increased drinking alcohol, getting drunk, missing school, and getting into fights. In addition, a recent study of preschoolers revealed just how easily persuaded preschoolers are to food advertisements. Sixty-three children were given two identical batches of McDonald’s French fries, one in an actual McDonald’s container and the other in a container without the brand name on it. The results were that seventy percent of the children in the study said they preferred the taste of the French fries in the McDonald’s container. One last note, researchers have found that most food advertising during children’s television programs is for junk food such as sweet/salty snacks, soft drinks, candy, and presweetened cereals. The fast food industry uses different gimmicks to lure children to its restaurants such as the free toys in the kid meals, and even the family friendly playground area located inside and outside in many fast food restaurants. According to the Board of Pediatrics, children as old as 7 or 8 are unable to understand the nature of advertising. Developmentally, they cannot identify the underlying persuasive intent. Lastly, the really unfortunate thing is that a lot of parents are unaware of the advertisements the children are exposed to. Parents are busy cooking dinner, checking homework, and the children are in front of the television watching children shows which the parents think are safe but the children are being persuaded by all of the advertisements. On the PBS kids.org website parents can download and print the Don’t Buy It Guide for Parents and Caregivers this is a user friendly guide/questionnaire for parents concerning the media as related to their children and family. 2. Two examples of products using TV or movie characters that have really done well regarding sales are Toy Story and Pixar Cars.
Toy Story was introduced in 1995. It was a comedy adventure film produced by Pixar Animation Studios, directed by John Lasseter, and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Toy Story was the first feature-length computer-animated film and the first film produced by Pixar. Toy Story follows toys who pretend to be lifeless whenever humans are present, and focuses on the relationship between Woody, a pull-string cowboy doll (Tom Hanks), and Buzz Light-year, an astronaut action figure (Tim Allen). The film was written by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow, and Joss Whedon, and featured music by Randy Newman. Its executive producers were Steve Jobs and Edwin Catmull. Toy Story was the top-grossing film on its open weekend earning over $361 million worldwide and it is said to be one of the best animated films ever made. In fact, Toy Story was the highest-grossing domestic film in 1995, beating Batman Forever and Apollo 13 (also starring Tom Hanks). At the time of its release, it was the third highest-grossing animated film after The Lion King (1994) and Aladdin (1992). The film had gross receipts of $191,796,233 in the U.S. and Canada and $170,162,503 in international markets for a total of $361,958,736 worldwide. In addition to, the millions made by families going to see the movie, Toy Story-inspired material made up of a large array of products from toys, video games, theme park attractions, spin-offs, merchandise, and two sequels Toy Story 2 (1999) and Toy Story 3 (2010) (both of which received massive commercial success and critical acclaim) have also...
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