Children and Television Advertising: a Cognitive Development Perspective

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Turley, D., Gallagher, H.: Children and television advertising: a cognitive development perspective. Irish Marketing Review, Vol. 3, 1988, pp.19-28.

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Turley, Darach; Gallagher, Helen
Dublin Institute of Technology
children; television advertising; cognitive development; Marketing
article description
While the population growth rate in Ireland appears at least temporarily to have ground to a halt, the fact remains that this country will have to cherish and cater for a singularly sizeable children’s market for the next decade. This article begins with a qualitative examination of Irish advertising houses’ views on their respective outputs and target groups. Central to the process of communicating with the children’s market is the need to fully appreciate its heterogeneity. Psychologically speaking the “children’s market” is a misnomer. To this end, a series of questions are administered to a sample of Dublin children to ascertain whether their responses on advertising related topics reflect their respective developmental levels. The authors contend that successful campaigns targeted at these developmental sub-sections of the children’s market are contingent upon an understanding of their stages of cognitive growth. A range of Irish television commercials are then shown to the children to determine which advertisements register the highest recall rates. Content analysis of the advertisements recalled discloses salient features which may be utilised in tailoring advertising content to a particular age group’s developmental level. The authors also ask whether children’s liking for an advertisement is determined by a liking for the product featured in that advertisement. Finally they attempt to draw some conclusions on how sceptical children are of the claims advanced in television commercials.