Ideology of the Marketplace

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Ideology of the Marketplace

  • Why Regulate Advertising: “Some might say that the very idea of regulation of advertising is incompatible with the concept of a free market. In fact, I believe, the opposite is true. One of the fundamentals of a market economy is the free flow of information about goods and services offered for sale ,,and informed consent by consumers.. Mary Azcuenaga, FTC 1997
  • Children as vulnerable consumers?

Advertising Standards Code

Ads to Kids Guidelines

  • The purpose of the Code is to serve as a guide to advertisers and agencies in preparing commercial messages which adequately recognize the special characteristics of the children's audience. Children, especially the very young, live in a world that is part imaginary, part real and sometimes do not distinguish clearly between the two. Children's advertising should respect and not abuse the power of the child's imagination.
  • The foregoing does not imply a call for the elimination of fantasy in children's advertising. Many childhood possessions become particularly meaningful as they are incorporated into the child's fantasy world and it is natural and appropriate to communicate with this audience in their own terms. But such presentations should not stimulate unreasonable expectations of product or premium performance.
  • Imitation and exploration have always been part of the child's learning process and the broadcast media now form part of that experience. Discretion and sensitivity will be exercised by the Children's Clearance Committee when reviewing children's advertising, particularly with reference to sex-role stereotyping and violence consistent with the principles of industry broadcast self regulatory codes such as those endorsed by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB), Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
  • It is recognized, of course, that it remains the primary responsibility of parents "to instruct a child in the way that he/she should go". The Code and the Guidelines that are issued from time to time are designed to help advertisers avoid making that task more difficult.

Irwin Toys vs Quebec and the ban on marketing to kids under 12 as commercial manipulation

  • Irwin Toys vs Quebec and the ban on marketing to kids under 12 as commercial manipulation
  • Review of advertising standards: what are the criteria and rationales for regulating commercial speech to children?
    • a) media are public airwaves (no regulation of commercial speech on the web)
        • but at the discretion of the broadcaster (Adbuster case challenges this)
    • b)Commercial Speech: in the public interest: defined by Advertising Standards
        • a. expresses community values and promotes healthy attitudes
        • b. does no harm to children
        • c. is not deceptive or misleading
        • d. facilitates informed choice in the marketplace

Child Empowerment vs. Corporate Colonization

  • Are kids vulnerable due to cognitive limitations ? (recognize commercials and make critical readings of information)
  • Are advertising using deceptive and misleading techniques? (claims and spokespersons)
  • Are there long term cultural consequences to marketing of children’s products?

Assumption of informed choice

  • information about products is universally available (vs skewed)
  • subjects are capable of a risk/ cost/ benefit analysis of their interest in the product
  • Case of Tobacco
    • Product is harmful
    • Product is addictive
    • Youth not able to make long term health decisions
    • Ads are misleading

Promotional Sanctions for Legal Products

Kids Experience of Gaming

Nick Yee: On-line Gaming

  • Self-defined addiction
  • Attempts at control

Flow and Compulsion: DSN -IV

  • Flow video games designed to administer intense immersive experience
  • 3 Factors are considered an impulse control disorder:
    • Frequent, sustained behaviour pattern
    • give it up other activities to engage it
    • Commit anti-social transgressions
    • Feeling out of control,
    • Tolerance of dose, escalation
    • Knowledge of problem, unable to manage
    • Failed attempts to control behaviour
    • Withdrawal symptoms
  • 25% of heavy gamers report at least three

Frequent and Heavy Use

The addictive experience

  • Play too often
  • Should do other things
  • EQ addictive
  • CS Addictive


EQ addiction Criteria

  • Displacement
  • Beyond control
  • Loose sleep

Vulnerability to Persuasion in the New Promotional environment:

  • Product placements
  • Spin-offs and 30 minute commercials
  • Cross marketing
  • Viral marketing
  • Celebrity endorsements
  • Implied claims
  • On-line embedded marketing and promotions
  • Regulatory Environment (knowledge of regulations and right of complaint)
    • Examples:
    • ads in video games programme/
    • Katheryn Montgomery On-line Parental Consent

Cultural Biases: Need for Speed


John (1999) Research on Consumer Socialization

  • Developmental stages of consumer literacy
    • 1)What is an ad? Age 5-7 recognize form but what about the economics? Eg tax write offs to tobacco advertisers as business expense
    • 2)What is its intent? Age 8 state persuade me to buy but what about brand strategies and parable of the one way mirror? Ie cool hunting?

Objects of Desire: Just Can’t Get Enough

Colonization or Liberation of Youth by the Marketplace?

  • Recognized youth as market
  • Recognized identity quest
  • Recognized pleasure and taste
  • Enfranchized choices in entertainment and discretionary spending
  • Recognized their role as consumers: their relationship to marketplace

Cool Hunting: The parable of the one way mirror

Growing up Postmodern

  • Work to meet needs
  • Discriminate pain and pleasure
  • Nation, ethnicity, gender
  • Class, roles, norms,
  • Meet needs, pride in achievement, status
  • Manage Self-Esteem
  • Avoid stress and boredom
  • Personal Identity
  • Cultural capital, impression management
  • Manage lifestyle,
  • Who am I?
  • Where do I
  • Belong?
  • How can I
  • Be Happy?
  • How can I
  • Survive
  • Modern Identity
  • Postmodern Identity

Schor Critique: Pathologies of Consumerism

  • Survival needs money: credit; pester power
  • Identity: body image; self esteem
  • Belonging: culture capital; peer pressures; gangs and opposition
  • Problems of Happiness: depression, inequalities of opportunity; lack of real choice/ diversity due to the biases of corporatized market system

“...the last toy that we bought was that light thing from Disneyland...because he hounded us, actually we did it to keep our sanity.” “constantly nag nag nag ... I gotta have this mom... ...especially when he is watching the afternoon TV shows...”

  • Nag Factor

The Production of Family Dysfunction: Depression, compulsion and Conflict

  • Body Image and Self Esteem
  • Binge eating
  • Anorexia
  • Comfort shopping
  • Shopaholics

Fast Food, Sluggish Kids

  • Issues of identity and well being in consumer society

The Obesity Epidemic: USA

  • Population health: rising rates of overweight and obesity
  • Fastest Growth Among Child Populations (from 4% to 17% in last 15 years USA)
  • Changing diet -since 1980’s
  • Half population more than 30% energy from fat
  • Caloric intake rises from 2080 to 2347

Globesity Epidemic: Not just an American problem

Fatland: Critser 2003/ Tim Lang 2004

  • Fast Food Culture
    • Global farming
    • Production and Distribution
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Cultural Issues

Fatland: Who is to Blame for Changing Lifestyles?

Adspends: Markets as Food Promotion Systems

possible effects of food advertising on kids

  • Exposure: approx 16,000 food ads
  • Formation of preferences for sweet and fat: discretionary spending and peer pressure
  • Body ideals/ self esteem: from watching TV idealized characters
  • Fun food, comfort eating, habitual snacking
  • Eating while watching: habit in over 70% of homes (40% watch during dinner)
  • Displacement effects of balanced nutrition
  • Lack of risk or related knowledge

Fast Food Controversy

TV and Obesity

Is marketing implicated in the epidemic obesity?

  • 1/3 children are 20% over body fat/ 66% of Adults
  • Exposure to Fast Food Marketing and discretionary spending?
  • Do overweight children enjoy advertisements for sweet vs healthy breakfast cereals executed in the same way more than normal weight children?
    • Ie assumed model concerns transfer of affect between ad and cereal.
  • Dietary shifts and attitudes: comfort eating, fun food, lack of information
  • The beauty myth - body consciousness and desire for thin-ness and dieting
  • Sedentary Lifestyle Effects
    • Reduction in physical activity
    • Interest in sports and participation
  • Snacking while watching (Robinson 2001)

Comfort eating

Irresistable Forces

Fun Foods

Fun Food/ Cross Marketing

Advertising Food

Most popular snack products eaten after school, April 2003  Base: 629 children aged 7-16 source: BRMB/Mintel 2003

British Survey (Guardian May 10 2003)

  • 82% want food advertisements regulated
  • 79% think food manufacturers irresponsible
  • 45% worried about how healthy the food they eat is
  • 52% with children under 18 support ban
  • 78% trust consumer groups

Beware the cynical 10 year old

  • I’m not lovin it
  • Don’t they know that food is bad for you
  • Why don’t people eat them -- is it cause they taste so bad?

Cynical or Savvy

  • Yes I do know that. I also knew that, but I don't care. Cause you can't stop us. Kids outnumber population on earth, ha, ha. No I didn't know that one. You can't control us in our homes with our parents. I will see my uncle. You know some day kids will RULE, RULE I tell you, and when it happens you will be banished
  • I don't think that its ethical that big companies pay actors and other guys to show stuff on their movies. For example, when I watched Spider-man, when Spiderman just gets his powers he is shooting his webs and he gets a Doctor Pepper ™ back. I don't think this is right because if I was watching a movie I really liked and then found out it was trying to get me to buy stuff I would feel cheated. …. in conclusion, the leaders of big companies are morons

Beyond the Canute Complex:commercialization of schooling

  • Commodification: Coke, lunch etc.
  • Mediatization: Channel One, Cable in the classroom, Computers
  • Promotionalization: playgrounds, McTours, Essay contests, branded material, industry curriculum, social marketing, banks

Channel One

Classroom confidential

  • Marketing Effort Responds to Obesity Controversy March 08, 2005
  • By Lisa Sanders
  • NEW YORK ( -- McDonald's Corp., the world's biggest fast-food chain, today unveiled an aggressively positive global marketing campaign to promote eating right and staying active, especially in messages geared to children, even as other marketers are shying away from ads aimed at youngsters.Among the health-oriented visual gimmicks in the new McDonald's TV ads is an animated lettuce head character.
  • Obesity issue
  • The global effort is clearly a response to the public health advocates, governments and other critics who have called for a crackdown on the food marketers they blame for an explosion in childhood obesity.
  • At a crowded McDonald's restaurant in Times Square this morning, McDonald's CEO Jim Skinner introduced the effort, which includes TV commercials, sponsorships with various media and nonprofit organizations, Web sites, in-restaurant promotions and endorsements from celebrities and athletes, all aimed at families and children.
  • Nutritional balance The message: People should pay attention to the foods they eat and their level of activity to find the right balance.
  • "We're focusing on energy balance in this broad-based, global program and providing a framework that will be adapted around the world, country by country," Mr. Skinner said. "Our size and our strength allow us to set an example."
  • Added Dean Barrett, senior vice president and global brand business officer for global marketing: "We are listening, we are learning, and we are going to change."
  • Ad budget shifted
  • The health-related ads incorporate and expand on McDonald's global tagline, "I'm lovin' it," to say "It's what I eat and what I do ... I'm lovin' it." McDonald's would not comment on how much the effort costs, though Mr. Barrett said a "significant part" of the company's retail marketing budget aimed at children will instead be allocated to the campaign in the U.S.
  • Kraft phases out snack ads
  • McDonald's, which in the U.S. is partnering with various media companies including children's network Nickelodeon, part of Viacom, and children's publisher Scholastic, is taking a markedly different approach than other food marketers feeling the heat in the childhood obesity debate. Kraft Foods, for instance, in January announced it would stop advertising snacks such as Kool-Aid and Oreo cookies to children between the ages of 6 and ll. Kraft this year is phasing out all TV, print and radio ads targeting that age group, which accounts for about 10% of its advertising budget.
  • McDonald's Mr. Barrett said, "We have a job to do in communicating this message. We are not going to back away; we are not going to stop talking to kids in ways that are relevant."
  • Ads adapted to local markets
  • The new TV ads, created by Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, feature popular athletes such as tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams and snowboarding pro Crispin Lipscomb. The commercials are being adapted to local markets globally by Leo Burnett offices worldwide. Other McDonald roster agencies, such as Omnicom Group's TBWA Worldwide and DDB Worldwide, are also involved in the global adaptation.
  • The commercial featuring the Williams sisters includes the lyrics "I'm burnin' calories like a fiend. ... Leafy greens so right for you. I'm making good choices, you can, too," while shots of salads and other menu items are interspersed with shots of the tennis stars on the court.
  • Ronald sports workout gear
  • McDonald's is also putting its well-known icon and "chief happiness officer," Ronald McDonald, to work on the new lifestyle mission. The character sports snappy yellow-and-red-colored workout gear and appears in some of new TV commercials as well as on various packaging and outdoor creative executions, all of which show him in some form of physical activity, such as scaling one side of an office building.
  • Fourteen 8- and 9-year-old children from the Police Athletic League in Harlem attended this morning's event as part of PAL's program to encourage healthy diet and exercise habits in children. "This is a compromise on both sides," said John Alvarez, PAL director of special programs. "Just to have an endorsement from a place that kids idealize, that's important. At least kids are getting the same message from McDonald's and from us."

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