This chapter considers the impact of advertising on children. The main concern of advertisers is that their commercial messages are effective. Advertisements can influence children in a number of ways. They can increase young consumers' awareness of brands and product attributes, influence attitudes toward brands and products, and influence intentions to purchase or actual purchase behavior. Advertising on television represents a particularly important product information source (Barry & Sheikh, 1977; Howard, Hulbert, & Lehmann, 1973; John, 1999a). Research evidence indicates that exposure to advertisements can increase children's desire for products and may encourage them to ask their parents to make purchases on their behalf (Atkin, 1982).
Although advertisers are ultimately concerned about the effectiveness of advertisements in enhancing purchase levels and the overall market share attained by their products or services, the effects of advertising can be measured at other psychological and social levels. Some effects are intended and others occur incidentally. These different kinds of advertising influences will be examined in this and the next two chapters.
The importance of examining the influence of advertising at a number of different levels is underpinned by the hierarchy of effects model that