Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Consuming Kids

Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Consuming Kids

Article excerpt

"The Commodification of Childhood: Tales from the Advertising Front Lines" by Juliet B. Schor, in The Hedgehog Review (Summer 2003), Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, P.O. Box 400816, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va. 22904-4816.

You've heard of focus groups, you've filled out surveys, you've been called by someone wondering what TV shows you watch. But chances are you've not heard of the GIA. The Girl's Intelligence Agency and other firms like it are a subtle and powerful new force in advertising aimed at understanding the likes and dislikes of kids--in the GIA's case, girls as young as six years old.

Marketing products to kids is nothing new: In the 1980s, Levi-Strauss even hired a 10-year-old to tell the company what he liked and didn't like about its jeans. What's different is the financial power kids now wield: In 2002, children between the ages of four and 12 spent as much as $30 billion. So kids have become an increasingly enticing quarry for advertisers, who have responded with methods that strike Schor, a Boston College sociologist and author of The Overworked American (1992), as a threat to both parents and children.

The GIA approach seems innocuous enough. With its trademark "slumber party in a box," the agency asks one of 40,000 "agents," recruited from kids who've registered on its website, to invite some friends over for a "party. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.