Children and Integrated Advertising

Publication Date: Friday 26 August 2016
Author(s): Hudders, L. & Cauberghe, V.
Appeared in: International Journal of Advertising, vol.: Virtual Special Issue


This virtual special issue bundles research on how children cope with integrated advertising. When reviewing the wide range of articles written on children and advertising, we notice a shift in research on how advertising affects young children from a more pejorative focus on the negative impact this has on children’s health and well-being to a more optimistic approach in which the focus lays on how children process and cope with advertising. More specific, research in former years largely focus on how children respond to food advertisements and how this negatively affects their health and well-being and may lead to parent-child conflicts (for a review see e.g., McDermott et al., 2006). Through the years, children became an important target group for advertisers due to their growing impact on purchases of their parents and their own spending power. Accordingly, children are heavily targeted with advertisements. Accordingly, for advertisers it became more difficult to break through the advertising clutter and attract children’s attention. In order to be more effective and thanks to technical innovations, the nature of advertisements changed. As such, advertisements are now often fully integrated into media content and interactively engage the user with the commercial content. Accordingly, advertising evokes much less irritation because of the interruption of the media content. In addition, children are often exposed to multiple advertisements at the same time, especially in the digital environment. As a result, in the last decennium, a new stream of research focused on how children process and cope with these embedded advertising formats. In this virtual special issue, we present the important work of Nairn and Fine (2008) explaining the consequences of the new advertising context to the processing of advertising for children. In addition, we present a series of studies published in International Journal of Advertising on how children cope with advergames (An & Kang, 2013, 2014; Hudders et al., 2016; Rifon et al., 2014; Van Wesenbeeck et al., 2016), brand placement (Charry, 2014; Hang, 2012), targeted advertising (Van Reijmersdal et al., 2016) and online advertising (Cornish, 2014; Shin et al., 2012).

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