Television commercials aren’t exactly obsolete, but these days
marketers find myriad ways to insinuate brands into children’s lives.
Products and brands are seamlessly woven into films, TV programs, video
games, songs, and books. Food companies produce online games, and media
companies like Nickelodeon create virtual worlds to seduce children into
Across a variety of media, it is now virtually impossible to separate
content from advertising. Magazines for kids feature glowing stories
about media properties they also promote through traditional ads.
Beloved characters, like Dora and Elmo, beckon from toys, clothing,
food and accessories, transforming TV shows and films into non-stop
advertisements for those products.
It’s not just in children’s media that marketing has run amok. Toys
like McDonald’s Play Doh and SpongeBob Monopoly, turn playthings into
ads. Marketers co-opt genuine youth movements like skateboarding to
sell kids on Sprite. Even friendships are commercialized, as companies
enlist children to surreptitiously market products to their friends.
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