Good Case Study About Technology Driven Marketing For Kids
Horovitz lays out her basic assumption about current marketing strategies for kids: kids drive household expenditure and are hence ideal targets. Whereas marketing in old days was confined to TV ads and cartoon show, current marketing strategies are more technologically savvy and are less controlled by parents.
Luring kids into virtual money to buy stuff for online toys, marketers place attractive online ads which, when clicked, drive revenue for companies such as Ganz. Although parents attempt to control online content by using ad-blocker applications, marketers embed video ads which avoid blockage.
Increasingly disappointed parents contact advocacy and consumer groups like Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood for action. Online gaming companies do not disclose investigation outcomes.
In response, U.S. government proposes voluntary marketing guidelines particularly for big food sellers. Children's life expectancy in America – due to obesity, heart disease and food-related diseases – is less than parents'. One notable, controversial character is McDonald's Roland which, according to some physicians, is an example on how children cannot differentiate between truth and advertising.
American Eagle's 77kids is a more sophisticated example of technology-based marketing for. Tapping into iPad, 77kids lures 10-year boys and girls by experimenting with virtual versions of cloth and music. Brand loyalties are bred for six-month babies and preschoolers.
One critical problematic in a marketing-by-technology strategy is how companies selling children's products are abusing online applications in a way which far exceeds parental control debates. Not only are gaming companies are breaching an essential value in selling for a particularly vulnerable segment of consumers like children but are also exercising an influence whose implications might not be contained or qualified.
Understandably, using online applications – even least sophisticated ones – require a basic understanding of some usability features which – given targeted children's age – are out of children's reach. This is brilliantly exemplified by Elizabeth Sweet, a doctoral student at University of California-Davis who is, ironically, doing a dissertation on marketing kid's toys. Given her background, one assumes, Sweet should have been better qualified to control her daughter's online gaming behavior. If for a PhD candidate on marketing for kids controlling her own daughter's online gaming is not an intelligible issue – let along being performable – how about a 9-year old kid?
The central issue at stake here is kids are marketed to by means obviously unethical. By luring kids – using flashy and luminous objects and ads – marketers are speaking to children's very conscious minds which are still being and are not fully grown. Accordingly, online campaigns do not only address existing and potential consumers who are not fully aware of marketed products and services but are also tricked into driving revenue for companies without notice. Targeted children – from a developmental psychology point of view – are not ready cognitively to apply and use more complex mental strategies which adults are able to when performing online activities and making browsing options.
Indeed, marketing-by-technology for children should be radically reviewed in order to address specific needs and requirements for children's online and offline gaming activity. Usability is, in fact, an area which should not be discussed from a parental control point of view – using customized applications – but far more broadly from a developmental point of view. This should ensure children's online gaming activity is an evolving, nurturing process, not one designed for mere commercial purposes.
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