It is but natural for us parents to buy our children “stuff”. They are, after all, one of the primary reasons why we work so hard in the first place. It is not uncommon for us to want nothing but the best for them. We spend money on toys, junk food, the latest electronic gadgets or just about anything that we think will make them happy.
However, this willingness to spend this much on kids may not be just all about our desire to give them pretty much whatever they want. There’s a possibility that kids–and by extension the parents–are being influenced by stealth marketing tactics to spend money a certain way.
In an article on the website Mercola.com, Dr. Mercola takes a closer look at the documentary Consuming Kids, which exposes the stealth marketing tactics employed by marketers to manipulate our children and to turn them into loyal consumers and at the same time become a powerful influence on the way the way their parents spend money.
Predatory marketing vs. our children
According to the documentary, the multi-billion dollar marketing machine of the corporate world is essentially engaging in predatory marketing against American children using the most recent developments and discoveries in the fields of psychology, anthropology and neuroscience.
Among the more sinister aspects of predatory marketing to children is coming up with ads that are not only meant to get their attention, but are also designed to make your child nag you about buying something until you give in using such tactics as throwing tantrums or embarrassing you in public.
Stealth marketing through junk food advertising
If the $700 billion that children under the age of 12 get to influence adults to spend yearly is any indication, then it’s safe to say that these predatory marketing tactics are working really well. Children now eat more junk food than ever, no thanks to the fact that, according to the article, children aged 2-11 now see more than 10 junk food advertising spots on TV per day, 98% of which are for high-fat, high-sugar and high-sodium food products.
This is very alarming to say the least. Everywhere they go, our kids are bombarded with junk food advertising and all sorts of predatory marketing techniques. Then there’s that Coca-Cola ad campaign that misleads people into thinking that obesity can be conquered by counting calories. What worries parents is the effectiveness of these junk food advertising campaigns. The article mentions that most kids now prefer these unhealthy food choices over the healthy ones, no thanks to relentless junk food advertising.
The best thing we can do, in my opinion, is to reduce their exposure to these stealth marketing ads. We can limit their TV viewing time, for starters. The television, after all, is one of the most effective media for these predatory marketing tactics directed at our kids. It is where our kids get to see junk food advertising by the ton. I believe we, the parents, should also strengthen our resolve to say no to our kids.
It would help if we steer them away from junk food and get them to eat vegetables and other healthy foodstuff instead. Let us also learn to deal with the tantrums that our kids throw our way, which may often be triggered by such predatory marketing tactics. We can ask for help from professionals, or we can get some tips from so many resources online.
To read the article on stealth marketing to children in full, click here.