Parents of young children have an important role to play in protecting their kids from invasive marketing, and in educating them about advertising from an early age.

Canadians under the age of twenty – the “Echo Generation,” as they’re often called –make up a quarter (26 per cent) of the country’s population.

No, it’s not your imagination. The amount of advertising and marketing North Americans are exposed to daily has exploded over the past decade; studies show, that on average, people living in urban centres see up to 5,000 ads per day. [1] At the gas pumps, in the movie theatre, in a washroom stall, on stickers on fruit, during sporting events—advertising is pretty much impossible to avoid.

In Canada, there are rules for advertising to children. Except in Quebec, where all advertising to children under the age of 13 is prohibited under the Quebec Consumer Protection Act, advertisements in broadcast media directed at children under 12 years of age must follow a set of voluntary guidelines called the Broadcast Code for Advertising to Children. The Code does not pertain to ads broadcast on U.S channels. Compliance with the Code is a condition of licence for Canadian broadcasters.

Kids represent an important demographic to marketers because in addition to their own purchasing power (which is considerable) they influence their parents’ buying decisions and are the adult consumers of the future.

One of the most important recent developments in advertising to kids has been the defining of a “tween” market (ages 8 to 12).

Marketing & Consumerism

Young people – who have disposable income and a tremendous influence on family purchases – are the perfect target for marketers and advertisers. This section covers various issues related to marketing that targets children and youth.

Surely you’ve heard of Inspector Spacetime, the cult British TV series that’s run (with interruptions) since 1962. It has a tremendously active, engaged fanbase that’s created blogs, videos and music devoted to it. Oh, and one more thing – it never existed. It was made up as a thirty-second gag on the sitcom Community, as a parody-cum-homage of Doctor Who.

Media Issues
In this section, you will find our collected writings on issues related to the ways that media represents and sometimes misrepresents specific groups of people; how media influence our attitudes and behaviours; and the ethical decisions we make daily as media consumers.
Co-Co's AdverSmarts

This interactive unit is designed to help kids between the ages of 5 and 8 recognize the marketing techniques used on commercial websites that target children.

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