Executives like Nye say their ads are not aimed at duping kids into buying their product. But advertising critics say kids age 8 and younger often confuse commercials with programs and do not realize that they are being persuaded to buy something.
"I think young kids can be deceived by thinking a product is something it is not," said Sanft. "Kids believe everything they see. Educating them is the key to keeping them from being deceived."
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday May 30, 1990 Home Edition Business Part D Page 2 Column 6 Financial Desk 1 inches; 27 words Type of Material: Correction
Buses--The city agency that oversees Commuter Express was incorrectly identified in Tuesday's Marketing column. The correct name is the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation.
Advertising often pits children against parents in a battle to buy what has been promoted, says Baecher at Consumers Union, which will release a study next month on the impact of advertising on children.
"The marketers realize that if they get kids wanting something badly enough, the kids will wear down their parents enough until they get it," said Baecher.
Peggy Charren, president of Action for Children's Television, which is lobbying for a cap on commercials during children's programs, says she believes that parents have already been worn down. "I think we are able to accept more manipulation of kids than we did in the past."
But advertisers dismiss much of the criticism. "We know that parents are still the gatekeepers," said Klein at Seven-Up. "Our position has been all along to establish awareness among children."
"We have an obligation to make sure that the advertising is appropriate," said Moore at Sports Illustrated for Kids. The magazine requires ads, for example, to prominently display company symbols and will not place basketball shoe ads, for example, near stories about basketball.
It may be in the best interest for advertisers to keep on their toes because children become increasing skeptical of ads as they grow older, said Sanft.
"They don't really trust commercials," she said. "They learned advertisers were trying to sell them something."
Commission Urges Drivers to Taper Off
The Los Angeles Transportation Commission is trying to get commuters out of their cars one day at a time. In ads topped by the headline "Once a week is all it takes," drivers are urged to ride the city-financed Commuter Express lines.
"Changing the driving habits of Southern Californians is one of the toughest things to do," said Gay Silberg, who helped create the Graham Silberg Sugarman ad agency. "One way to change behavior is to change it a little bit at a time."
Of course, the goal is to eventually make those once-a-week riders into more frequent customers, says Jim McLaughlin, the commission's acting chief of transit programs. "So if somebody takes it once, they will see that it will work."
Ketchum Awarded Ramada Hotel Account
The agency Ketchum Advertising/Los Angeles has been awarded the advertising business for Ramada International Hotels & Resorts. Ketchum will handle the advertising for 45 Ramada properties in the United States and Canada. No dollar value was placed on the account, but a Ramada official said spending might reach $20 million during an expansion planned over the next five years.
Pic 'N' Save Ad Takes Roller Coaster Ride
The Pic 'N' Save discount chain will unveil a new television commercial in Los Angeles within a week that puts the company's advertising on a different track.
The new spot combines shots of shopping at Pic 'N' Save and riding the Colossus roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Developed originally for its newest markets, the commercial seeks to convey "the unexpected nature of the merchandise (customers) will find," said Brad Ball at the agency Davis, Ball & Colombatto.
Pic 'N' Save's current commercial spokesman, Sheldon McCluskey, the chain's chief of warehousing and distribution, will appear in the new campaign as a passenger aboard the Colossus.
In reality, said McCluskey, "I didn't ride. I sat still and they shook the camera. As I get older, roller coasters seem to get taller."
Kids ages 4 to 12 spend about $6 billion a year from allowances and gifts . . .
Product/Service: (in billions)
Snacks and candy: $2.077
Movies and sports: 0.606
Video arcades: 0.486
Other (tapes, stereos, etc.): 0.264
. . . and influence at least another $50 billion a year in household purchases.
Product/Service: (in billions)
Fast food: $19.0
Soft drinks: 8.0-10.0
Salty snacks: 2.0
Source: James McNeal, Texas A&M University