Critical Thinking About Kids And Online Marketing

Via: The Washington Post - When is a kids’ online game actually an ad?
Via: The Washington Post – When is a kids’ online game actually an ad?

Today’s post is more of a recommendation than anything else. It’s to direct you to a recent piece by Peter Gutiérrez over on The Digitial Shift and it’s about how seamless marketing and content are on the web, especially when it comes to kids.

Although we all wish there was more of a balance between kids and adults when it comes to animation, the fact of the matter is that in the US and many other western nations, animation aimed at young kids is vastly predominant. What’s interesting though, and what Peter’s article discusses, is just how easy it is to fool kids on the internet when it comes to content and marketing.

I highly encourage you to read the entire thing, but what you should dwell on is not so much whether it is right or wrong (marketing to kids is not, inherently, evil) but why it has to be so subtle and psychological in nature. Why do networks, etc, feel the need to deceive kids when it comes to either advertising or promotions?

Furthermore, can such underhand tactics actually hurt animated content in the long term? My hunch is that since networks and studios overly target kids. They in a way, contribute to the stigma attached to the technique by teenagers and young adults.

What are your thoughts? What do you suggest be done to right the situation?