Introduction: Issues Surrounding Marketing to Children
The ancient Code of Hammurabi banned sales to or purchases from a minor without a contract and witnesses, making such an act punishable by death (Duhaime 2003). Today's society rarely questions the ethics of advertising and selling to minors, and marketers are no longer considered thieves for their actions. Advertising surrounds children and encourages them to consume today on television, in magazines, at the movies, on the Internet and on billboards. And consume they do. Marketing influences children's habits and attitudes and there are great consequences that come with this amount power over them. Specifically this paper will discuss how marketers influence children from a young age, the techniques that marketers use to do so, and the consequences. Through the use of statistics and thorough research it will be proven that children at a young age are without a doubt quickly turned into consumers.
The federal government, the federal courts, and individual citizens have taken a growing interest in the ethics of marketing to minors in recent years. Marketers have become interested in the powerful under eighteen market. According to Teenage Research Unlimited, teenagers spent over one hundred and seventy two billion dollars in 2001, up from one hundred billion dollars in 1995 (Choi 2003). According to Teenage Research Unlimited, the typical teenager spent over one hundred dollars a week, and directly or indirectly accounted for nearly one-third of all retail sales. With runaway growth in spending, minors have grown not only into an important, leading consumer group but also the world's most targeted individuals for marketing purposes (Choi, 2003).
Marketing to minors raises significant moral issues, since many researchers (and marketers) believe that minors are more impressionable than adults. Many marketers view children as an important economic group to be used to fuel...