Choice and Consumption
This chapter considers the extent to which advertisements on television can affect product choice and consumption. This subject is most central to advertisers' concerns—namely to produce enhanced awareness, preference, and purchase of the commodities they have promoted. Television advertising is designed to influence consumer behavior by entering the market for the type of product being advertised, or to switch to the advertised brand from a rival, or to remain loyal to the advertised brand. With children, these aims are the same. However, unlike adults, children may lack the independent economic ability to make their own purchases and must rely, instead, on the goodwill of others, most usually their parents. In consequence, the influence of advertising on children can be assessed in terms of how it encourages children to persuade adults to buy products for them.
Television advertising acts on consumers via a chain of psychological processes (see chap. 6). The ultimate process is to influence the decision to purchase a brand. Chapter six examined the role of advertising in enhancing children's knowledge and perceptions of products and broader consumer-related attitudes, beliefs, and values. This chapter considers the effects of advertising on the act of consumption itself. Will an advertisement cause children to choose an advertised brand over another competing brand in the same product range? Will advertisements encourage children—who do not yet have their own purchasing power—to pester others to buy on their behalf, in particular their parents?