Children’s Understanding ofT V Advertising: Effects of Age, Gender and Parental lnfluence

Author:Tammo H.A. Bijmolt’, Wilma Claassen, and Britta Brus

Published: 1998


We investigate children’s understanding of TV advertising, that is their ability to distinguish between TV programs and commercials and their comprehension of advertising intent, using verbal and non-verbal measurements. The sample consists of 153 children, ranging from 5 to 8 years old, and their parents. Results using non-verbal measures suggest that most children are able to distinguish commercials from programs and that they have some insight into advertising intent. Results using verbal measures, however, are not as conclusive; the percentage of children who show understanding of TV advertising is substantially lower. Effects of age, gender, and parental influence are assessed using MURALS, a regression analysis method for categorical and continuous variables, and CHAID, an analysis method to detect homogeneous segments on the basis of the relation between categorical dependent and explanatory variables. The age of a child turns out to have a positive effect. The effects of gender and parent-child interaction are rather small, both for verbal as for non-verbal measures of understanding of TV advertising. A high level of parental control of TV viewing may result in lower understanding of TV advertising.

Full Text: Children

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