Article Analysis Effect of Advertising on Children’s Preference


ArticleAnalysis: Effect of Advertising on Children’s Preference

ArticleAnalysis: Effect of Advertising on Children’s Preference

Marketingis one of the key strategies that manufacturers use to reach theirpotential consumers. However, the increase in the use of online andadvergames in marketing unhealthy food products to children hasbecome an issue of major concern. This paper will analyze the newsarticle “How advertising targets our children”, which reports thefindings of a research study entitled, “U.S. Food Company brandedadvergames on the internet: Children’s exposure and effects onsnacks consumption”. The paper will focus on the purpose and thestudy fit, the most important details of the research study, and theobjectivity with which the news article reported the findings of theresearch study.

Newsarticle purpose and study fit

Thepurpose of the article was to indicate the positive associationexisting between advertising in the media (including the TV) andunhealthy behaviors, such as substance abuse and excessiveconsumption of snacks among children. The authors of this articleasserts that product placement in the video, video games, and the TVprograms as one of the major factors subjecting children to the riskof abusing substances, such as alcohol. The article reports thatchildren in the United States view about 12-14 different adverts onTV and company websites, which in turn influence their productpreferences (Klass, 2013). In most cases, assume that the advertsonly impact the food preference of their children, while ignoringthat fact that there are other advertisements for other products(such as alcohol) that their kids might want to try in the future.

Theresearch study contributed to the purpose of the news article byconfirming the assumption that media adverts on drugs and alcoholincreases the risk of children abusing these substances. Both thenews article and the research study report that the increase in theadvancement of online marketing is one of the key factors that makeit difficult to shield children from being exploited by marketers(Harris, Speers, Schwartz &amp Brownell, 2011). In this respect, theresearch study supports the news article by showing that the mediaadverts, especially those that support unhealthy behaviors exposechildren to bad products before they reach that age at which they canmake rational decisions on whether to use of the products or not. Thefact that the marketers of unhealthy products (such as snacks andalcohol) are targeting underage consumers through online marketing,which is relatively uncontrollable, makes the study newsworthy.Reporting the findings of the research article in the news articlewill act as an eye opener to the stakeholders in the education andthe health sectors.


Theresearch study explores the extent as well as the effect of unlimitedexposure of children to unhealthy products on company websites andthrough advergames. The authors also investigate whether the use ofadvergames and food websites influence the preference of children.The authors used the case study research design to investigate theage, the number of people, frequency, and the time spent on foodwebsites. The data was collected using usage and the internet trafficdata, such as the comScore Media Metrix (Harris etal.,2011). The sample of 1.2 million children was categorized into twogroups, namely age 2-11 age (children) and age 12-17 years(adolescents).

Theresearchers identified that about 1.2 million kids visit the foodwebsites and use advergames every month. On average, each kid spendsabout 1 hour on the websites or an advergame (Harris etal.,2011). Most of the websites and advergames promote fast foods, highsugar, and candy food products. This suggests that children spendmost of their time on food websites and advergames to learn moreabout unhealthy foods. Both younger and older children were equallyaffected by the use of websites and advergames. The research studyconcludes that increase in the use of websites and advergames bymarketers of snacks and other unhealthy products has a significantimpact on children.


Thenews article reports the most important facts documented in theresearch study. Some of the key facts that properly reported in thenews article include the increase in the use of advergames bymarketers of unhealthy products and the influence of such marketingcampaigns in children. The news article also reports the relationshipthat exists between advertisements for unhealthy food products andchildren`s preferences.

Althoughthe news article reports the most important findings of the researchstudy, it only focuses on the relationship between the marketing ofunhealthy food products and children`s preferences. This means thatthe news article biased since it fails to acknowledge the fact thateven the healthy food adverts and advergames influence children andadolescents equally. For example, the research study identified thatthere are some websites and advergames that promote healthy eatinghabits and food products. These websites and advergames encouragechildren to eat primary foods, which in turn increases their tendencyto consume fruits and vegetables. This implies that the type ofinfluence that marketing have on children depends on the content ofthe advert, but this has not been revealed in the news article. Thenews article also failed to report the limitations of the study,including the possibility of a direct causal impact of advergames andwebsites on consumption of healthy and unhealthy food products.


Thefindings of the research study “U.S. Food company brandedadvergames on the internet: Children’s exposure and effects onsnacks consumption” supported the primary purpose of the newsarticle. The two articles intended to report that marketing ofdifferent products, especially the foods has a significant influenceon the consumption habits adopted by children. Most importantly, thearticles indicate that a large number of children and continuallyusing advergames and websites whose content promotes the consumptionof unhealthy foods. However, the news article represents the researchstudy in a biased manner since it fails to mention that some websitesand advergames promote healthy foods.


Harris,L., Speers, E., Schwartz, B. &amp Brownell, D. (2011). U.S. FoodCompany branded advergames on the internet: Children’s exposure andeffects on snack consumption. Journalof Children and Media,6 (1), 51-68. Doi: 10.1080/17482798.2011.633405

Klass,P. (2013). How advertising targets our children. TheNew York Times Company.Retrieved November 5, 2014, from