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Children demand advertised products on Television

October 26, 2006

Research on Television viewing of children in India
The west has a strong body of research on television viewing and also on how advertising on television affects children…but in India we have few reliable surveys on the subject.
One such rare survey on television viewing in India was carried out by the Mumbai Grahak Panchayat and funded by Consumers International Federation, a consumer body with affiliations with over 250 consumer organisations from all over the world. The survey was carried out in Mumbai and 1000 children in the 5-15 age group were sampled along with 300 parents. Four out of five families interviewed had a cable connection.

Children were easily influenced
The findings would make any food advertiser jubilant because it was found that testimonials by stars, and tacit promises of academic success on consumption of the advertised food went down well with kids. The survey revealed that that 33.3 per cent of the children felt that they would become successful or would score better marks by consuming the advertised foods, while 23.3 per cent of the parents believed the same.

Parents are disapproving, but weak
However, a sizeable 36.1 per cent of the parents were not happy about the fact that their children demanded the advertised products because their favorite film star or sports star used the product. Also, 74.9 per cent of parents felt that TV ads created ‘unnecessary desires’ for the advertised products in the minds of children and 60.8 per cent of them cribbed about the fact that their monthly expenditure rose because of children’s demands. A good 72.2 per cent wanted a ban on ads during children’s programmes.
Some 70.7 per cent of the parents admitted that they submitted to these demands of their children.

Ad breaks not liked
Ofcourse, advertisers and marketers do have something to be unhappy about. The survey indicated that 78.6 per cent of the children felt irritated that their favorite programmes were interrupted by ads.

Companies are not bothered about children’s health in India
Well, it is a fact that advertisers all over the world over target children, not just because they are ‘persuaders’ but also because they are tomorrow’s buyers. In India however, ads on television advertise junk foods indiscriminately and this is harmful for children. Shirish Deshpande, Director, Consumer Protection, who spear-headed this survey says, ‘India should have a more effective regulatory frame-work for advertising aimed at children.’ He points out that in some Scandinavian countries, no ads are allowed during children’s programmes, or even five minutes before or after the programmes. And some western countries now have rules preventing certain foods from being advertised on TV during children’s programmes.

The solution?
Ofcourse banning all ads during children’s programmes may not always be the best course. Kids, if they are kept cloistered from external messages for very long, might find it difficult to adapt to the choices available in the real world later. On the other hand, they might become avid consumers, spendthrifts even before they are able to earn a penny. Finally, individual countries have to figure it out for themselves. And surveys like this help.

(This is an abridged version of the article written by me and which appeared in A&M, the Advertising and Marketing Magazine)

(Pic by me)

Related Reading: Setting advertising standards in India.
How advertisers fake food ads
Advertisers to self-regulate

13 Comments leave one →
  1. November 29, 2007 10:58 am

    iam a research scholar doing Ph.D on ‘children’s behaviour on viewing child related television advertisements’
    Infact ,this article is most useful for me . Please ,provide me with more particulars about children and television advertisements for which I would be ever grateful.
    Thanking you,
    Yours faithfully,

    • Priyal permalink
      January 8, 2012 1:41 pm

      Even I am also a research scholar doing Ph.D on a very similar topic as mentioned by you.
      Request you if you can provide me with some material.

      Thanks & Regards

  2. November 29, 2007 11:17 am


    Thanks but I do not have any more particulars. Just the information on this blog. However if you search on the net I am sure you will find many better sources.

  3. November 29, 2007 5:21 pm

    very useful

  4. gurinderjit singh permalink
    April 9, 2008 1:20 am

    i am doin ma major project on ‘impact of ads on children television advertisements’
    Infact ,this article is most useful for me . Please ,provide me with more particulars about children and television advertisements for which I would be ever grateful.
    Thanking you,
    Yours faithfully,
    gurinderjit singh
    PCTE LDH(Pb)

  5. karely corral permalink
    April 10, 2008 6:30 am

    i think that kids are right that tv shows should advertiz e good products that wuld save youre life if you are reading this you should try to make kidz happy

    4rm a gurl named karely in denver colorado so kan you make my dream kome true thanx!!!!!!!!~!~~!~!~!


  6. anil chauhan permalink
    May 13, 2008 10:41 am

    dear sir,

    i m buisness realeted for surgical products manufacturing,i hve 2 children,1 nd is girls & 2nd baby boy, we will intrested KIDS advertise joining our 1 year son (devraj) our son is very beutiful,very fair skin,very healthy,12kg.weight,must body,looking smart,hair is brown & small curelly,

    so,please we hope guide way & realeted subject send our son deta.

    thanking you

    Mr.Anil Chauhan

  7. RNS permalink
    February 26, 2009 11:02 am

    After reading your article, I find myself interested in reading your complete article. Is there any way that I can obtain the above mentioned article and other such article. The reason I am interested in this subject is that I recently started teaching media effects. Most literature deals with the western scenario. I will appreciate your help.

    • February 26, 2009 11:05 am

      RNS, I will have to scan the copy of my article and send it to you because I have not typed the whole thing here. For this you might have to wait, as I have just moved house and many boxes, particularly with books and papers are still unpacked.

  8. Aakriti permalink
    November 15, 2009 4:06 pm

    Thanks a lot! The data over here was useful to me for my MR project on the impact of advertising on society..

  9. mary charmaine permalink
    January 21, 2010 12:38 pm

    good!!!loved reding this article

  10. Teena Gupta permalink
    December 14, 2011 4:11 pm

    i am thinking of taking a topic related to tv advertisements and children for my PhD. kindly send me more information on it.


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