Children Fail to Recognize Online Ads, Study Says

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15 Responses to Children Fail to Recognize Online Ads, Study Says

  1. Eleni Pappelis says:

    The fact that children do not respond to games with the intent to advertise surprised me. In contrast to the data presented in this article, I would think that games would be an interactive way to reach out to children and advertise their products in an exciting way that stands out from other advertising strategies. This article shows that there is a fine line between entertainment and advertising. I have always believed that advertisements were meant to be a form of entertainment. In this way, they are able to capture the attention of an audience and hold that attention in order present their message. I wonder, however, if these games are perhaps not relevant to the brand or product they are trying to advertise. Cereal brands, for example, could interact their character mascots within these games so children would immediately recognize what that character represents.

    • Paul Tseng says:

      I did not find it surprising that children lacked the recognition of advertising in a free online game. The study showed that most children found the games informative and a free source of entertainment. If I was an innocent child I would not have seen the alternative motive behind the game. I wouldn’t expect most children to look for an advertisement within a game because they are more focused on the look and feel of what they are doing on the computer. It does bother me that companies are trying to imbed messages into innocent games that effect children’s habits.

      • Quinn Flaherty says:

        I also was not surprised that the children did not respond in recognition to the advertising on the online game. When I was younger and would play the same type of game, it was about getting through any type of pop up that stalled playing the actual game in any way. I don’t see anything wrong with the company who created the game putting their logo in the game. If it became an excessive advertisement that effected the game, then that might be overboard. Until a child understand that money powers media, they wouldn’t understand the significance or reasoning of putting in any sort of advertisement. I would consider running the product through the game as more of a promotional, marketing approach than an advertising.

      • I agree with what both Paul and Quinn said. As a child, I was completely unconcerned with the advertisements that popped up. In fact it was quite irritating when some logo was scattered throughout the game. I would go find another game or something to do if a brand became too prominent. My experience with children have proved that they are unconcerned with the brand if they are focused on some other factor. I am well aware of brands having great influence – like McDonald’s being recognized by children by the time they are in kindergarten – but if all they want to do is play a game, then even Happy Meals can’t get in the way. I was surprised, however, when data showed that the children didn’t even register what the brand was. I recall always noting the sponsor, like say Lego or some cereal, and avoiding that website if their advertisements were too obnoxious to handle. Also, just a side note – why would a company make a game that didn’t relate to their product? It seems like poor methods of promotion if the consumer of the game doesn’t even know what they were playing.

  2. Garrett S. Hunt says:

    It seems as if this particular study is rather telling in regards to the shaping and stimulating influence that advertising has on children’s behavior. These specific banner ad and brand sponsored games are primarily geared towards kids and I am sure that an extensive amount of money and effort has gone into creating them. And yet, the desired influence and effect appears to be incredibly absent. Clearly this study is suggesting that the children’s attention is focused entirely on the game itself, as opposed to the brand or the product that is presenting it. But despite this notion, I feel as if there are fairly obvious and discernible benefits that still remain. Although an individual child may be primarily concerned with strictly playing the game and bypassing everything else, it is hard to believe that he or she would not be bombarded with product images along the way. Whether or not these images connect in an overt or instant fashion, they are still being viewed on a consistent basis, and could potentially result in a long-term or subtle response. Also, in most cases of brand, company, or product-sponsored games, the actual game itself will have some relation to the advertised product. For example an Internet based game designed by Skittles may have the user sprint and jump across a series of rainbows. Although a young 10-year-old boy may not be able to directly site the brand Skittles as being responsible for the game, he has still been exposed to imagery related the brand. This effect can work in the same way that a young child may find entertainment and enjoyment in watching a very specific show, without possessing an understanding of the network or recognizing the channel that is presenting it. Also, in many cases it seems as if a child’s time spent on the web is somewhat monitored or overseen by an adult. Whether it be a teacher or a parent, an adult can often be aware of the games and sites that a child is commonly using. With that being said, the brand exposure or recognition that is escaping the majority of 4th graders is likely not being missed by the parents or teachers or adults around them. Nonetheless, this study presents an incredibly fascinating subject for the ad industry to think about.

  3. Andrew Gust says:

    It is weird that children do not pick up on advertising like adults do, but understandable. Children don’t really understand alternative motives. They see a game they wouldn’t ask why is it there, they would just want to play it. From the study it said only one child guessed the purpose of the game was for selling and the rest thought it was for entertainment or informative. I am assuming that they gave these kids a multiple choice kind of study and those were the options, but if you just ask a kid straight up what do you think this game is for, I think they would say it’s for fun. But advertising to kids really does bother me though. It is an attempt to convince an underdeveloped mind into purchasing something. It seems very manipulative. They do not make their money nor do they understand the process of logical reasoning when it comes to purchasing items. I would think that in some way they may be effected by the advertisements even if they are not aware of it. Even if it is relating the color and the symbol of the box to the fun time they had playing the game.

  4. After reading this study I find the results to be surprising. I expect that adults and children respond to advertisements differently. I believe that children would respond best to advertisements in games because it reaches out to that specific audience rather than an advertisement that would only be appealing to adults. Because advertising to children is so much different than advertising to adults I find it somewhat wrong because children don’t understand the aspects of advertising. These games seem to be manipulative to children. I find this study to be very interesting although I was surprised. It is a great subject to look into further.

  5. Allie Lord says:

    Although the results of this study are interesting, they are not necessarily surprising. Children tend to be more focused on the images and bright colors of the site and/or game rather than the words claiming it to be an advertisement. I would expect most children to not understand the subliminal advertising and the selling intent behind it. However, messages like this can be highly effective because children then have the brand image in their mind without ever realizing they have been advertised to.

  6. kellypetaja says:

    I personally was not surprised to see that these children were not recognizing the advertisements in these online games. I think it is strange to advertise to young children in this way, for kids at this age seem to be only interested in playing the actual game, being entertained and are distracted by flashing lights and bright colors. They seem to be mostly interested in the entertainment aspect of these online games, which leaves little room for these kids to pick up on the actual messages behind these advertisements. Not only did I find it strange that they are advertising to kids at such a young age, I also found it to be very bothersome that these companies are trying to send messages by using “subliminal advertising” in these innocent games. After reading this article I would say its almost pointless to continue this trend for, “even the children who identified the cereal company or brand as the site’s sponsor tended not to recognize that it was intended to sell cereal”—thus showing us that even if the kids do pick up on these messages they rarely understand them correctly.

  7. Juliet Terramin says:

    I think this is the problem with game type advertising. People often play the games and soon forget who the game is sponsored by or what product they are trying to get across to the audience. This is especially true since so many children play games now a days, they often don’t understand or pay attention to the content they are playing and how it is trying to sell anything to them but rather to the purpose of the game. I am not at all surprised that children are not recognizing advertisements in games because children and adults have different ways of thinking about items presented to them. This makes me wonder why money is wasted on every year on this type of advertising. There is no purpose to continue this type of advertising when the message is not being clearly understood by the target audience.

  8. Dane says:

    This makes sense… I remember as a kid searching for games to play and did not give a crap about who designed the game, just as long as I had something fun to pass the time. In addition, children are growing up with so many advertisements around them, it’s easy for them to just completely ignore it.

  9. Travis Clark says:

    This does not surprise me at all. As a kid, you aren’t looking at these games as a means of advertising, but something that the company has put together to either entertain the kids like the back of a cereal box, or inform them of ingredient/nutritional information. Both of these ideas don’t connect to the notion of buying the cereal though. Especially for kids who don’t yet understand the ploy of advertisements like this. When i was in junior high i remember playing stupid games like this all the time, but i never wanted to buy the cereal, i just wanted to win the game. Never once was i attracted to that particular brand because they never actually sold the cereal to me. Just because kids are playing your game doesn’t mean they have the intent of eventually buying it.

  10. Ryan Hagen says:

    It makes sense that kids these days are becoming less and less interested in advertising for games. When I was younger I didn’t really pay attention to ads for games I wanted to buy, I was more interested in how relevant they were among my friends. Since kids these day are targeted more than kids were when I was growing up it is scary to think how desensitized kids are to these ads.

  11. Maggy Failing says:

    I was not surprised by the lack of awareness children have toward advertisements in video games. This generation has grown up being bombarded by advertisements and have therefore become less and less influenced by the many ads they see each day. I barely even notice the online banner ads that appear on every website and if I don’t even take the time to acknowledge them it’s very unlikely that I will recognize who the sponsor of the webpage is.

  12. Allen N says:

    I feel as though these kids didn’t notice the advertisements in these games because that’s not what they’re looking for. They’re looking to play this game and have fun, so obviously little banners are not going to get the message across. These companies would have to figure out a different advertising strategy. When I really really want to do something online, i.e. watch a video, I don’t pay attention to any ads. And if an ad pops up and forces me to sit through it, I get angry and/or I ignore it. I can only imagine it would be much different with someone 15 years younger than myself and an even shorter attention span.

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