August 2012. Esther Rozendaal, Moniek Buijzen and Patti Valkenburg have received the Best Paper 2011 Award of the International Journal of Advertising for their paper entitled "Children's understanding of advertisers' persuasive tactics".
Children's understanding of advertisers' persuasive tactics
The aim of this study was to investigate children's understanding of six popular tactics used by advertisers to elicit certain advertising effects, including ad repetition, product demonstration, peer popularity appeal, humor, celebrity endorsement, and premiums. We first asked 34 advertisers of child products to indicate what kind of effects (e.g., ad or product recall, learning, and liking) they intend to elicit by using each of the six tactics. Subsequently, in a survey among 209 children (aged 8-12) and 96 adults (>18), we investigated the extent to which children understood advertisers' intended effects of these tactics and how this compared to an adult benchmark. Results showed that children's understanding of advertisers' tactics increased progressively between the ages of 8 and 12, showing a significant increase around age 10. The age at which children reach an adult level of understanding differed by tactic. For example, the use of celebrity endorsement was generally understood at an earlier age than other tactics, whereas product demonstration was understood at a later age.