European Journal of Economics, Finance and Administrative Sciences ISSN 1450-2275 Issue 23 (2010) © EuroJournals, Inc.


Age Influence on Information Processing of TV Advertisement Messages by the Elementary students
Bahram Ranjbarian Associate Professor of management, Department of Management The University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran E-mail: Bahram1 Saeed fathi Assistant Professor of management, Department of Management The University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran E-mail: s.fathi Zahra Shekarchizade M.A Candidate of Business Management, Department of Management University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran E-mail: Abstract Purpose- This study examines information processing of TV advertisement messages by the Elementary students in Isfahan. The goal of this study was to investigate the influence of age on children’s perception about TV advertisements. Design/ methodology/approach- Sample was drawn from 385 students in 40 schools in Isfahan. The students were between 7 to 11 years-of-age. Data were analyzed by SPSS 16. Finding- the results show that child’s perception about advertisement intent has been affected by its age only in three dimensions of, “to earn money’’, “To be bought by child’’ and “to entertain’’. Moreover the results indicate that effect child’s age on TV advertisement likeability is significant, when beautiful persons and beautiful products are presented. But child’s age has no significant influence on its perception about TV advertisement truthfulness. Originality/ value- This paper provides information about child’s perception about Iranian’s TV advertisement messages. Moreover, it contributes towards better understanding of children’s perceptual difference in different ages. Paper type- Research paper

Keywords: TV Advertisement Messages, Information Processing, Intent, Likeability, Truthfulness.

Nowadays, children are an important study group for advertisers and marketers in every part of the world. They are considered as an important market in their own rights. Indeed, role of children in household decision making is very considerable and great (Doff, 2004). They are not only influenced

Probably children don't always pay entire attention to the screen during advertisement breaks since they can turn away or leave the room. A considerable amount of children's lives is spent on watching advertising. Totally. These agents include parents. Because children have their own money to spend they have enjoyed enormous market potential. 2005). but it seems that there are limited researches about the relationship between children’s age and their understanding of advertising. knowledge. 2002).77 European Journal of Economics. 1993). Mass media and advertising can influence on cognitive and children’s social development in the consumers’ socialization and their ability for information processing. Based on these primary studies. it is considered as an invasive medium. 2003). and they have all of their purchases ahead of them. organization and . Since. 2005). There are information processing theories about child development. 2005). Especially Marketers are interested in how effective their advertising is in selling more products and creating new markets (Curran & Richards. It is still a important part of media impact on children which is becoming less integrated and more fragmented increasingly. Theories of cognitive development proposed by Piaget are used by many researchers that state children's current cognitive stage identifies their ability to perceive advertising (Gunter et al. Television is increasingly transformed into a primary source of information and amusement for children. These advertisements may have little or no relevance to their own lives. not the least important of which are children (Shimp.mainly television. decoding. 2004). (Chan. Consumer socialization refers to the “processes by which individuals acquire skills. but are skillful at encouraging parents to purchase these products. 2002). peers and mass media. when peers become the favorable source of information (Dotson & Hyatt. but are admired because they are funny and well executed (Duff. Information Processing Advertisement Messages Consumer information processing is defined as a process through which consumers are exposed to information. 2005). Information processing is related to both the consumer’s cognitive ability and the complication of information to be processed (Schiffman& Kanuk. Most children spend three to four hours of a day to watch television (Center for Media Education. Advertisers who target children have three main objectives: (1) searching directly for children as customers. They also may specify 67 percent of their parents’ spending. Finance and Administrative Sciences . However. We have already observed differences in perceiving levels of televised advertising associated with various age groups. Primary researches about consumer socialization consistently reveal that three main socialization agents affect children's consumer behavior. 2000). but practically the viewer enjoys the opportunity to observe all the advertisements related to any program he/she watches (Gunter et al. Children obtain most examples for their favorite advertisements from television. All these theories share a focus on developing skills of children in areas of acquisition. . television is a strong medium since it can influence viewers' perception of social reality (Gunter et al. First we explain the main constructs of this study. An 8 year old child has all the skills to perform as an independent consumer (Hsieh et al. 2000). pay attention to it. television is in the access of children in their homes and there is restricted control over the observed advertisements. (2) affecting parents indirectly through “pester power” of children.Issue 23 (2010) easily by advertising. 2006). and attitudes related to their performance as consumers in the marketplace” (Mowen. there are many studies about advertising to children. it is specified that advertising message processing by children is affected by their age. Television targets more specialized segments. Television is the influential way of advertising for children. (3) specifying of the younger generation with positive brand associations (Paul. This study attempts to investigate the impact of age on information processing of Iranian TV advertisement messages by the elementary students in Isfahan Literature Review Totally. put it in memory and recall it for using in the future (Mowen. parents play the prominent impressive role until the child reaches adolescence. 1993). perceive it. 2008).

through experience and interacting with materials in the world children can develop their reasoning abilities. The age group between 7 and 12 has the ability to apply oral cues for saving and retrieving of information. • Concrete operations (7 to 11 years): during this period the child's ability to utilize logical thought about concrete problems is developed. Children's understanding of advertisements is .g. the child does not think conceptually (Katherine Toland& Barbara.up individuals (Selman. 1973).e. 1980). The child's thinking about ideas and objects is poorly arranged and just prominent features of a stimulus are used to make judgments (Katherine Toland & Barbara. but they are restricted in several ways too. In other words. This period is identified by language development. 2003). The child has the ability to think conceptually and organize ideas in a meaningful way. • Formal operations (11 to 15 years): Piaget (1970) states that children's abstract reasoning is started at about 11 years as they move in to the formal operational stage of growth. Children's Perception of TV Advertisement Messages Originally children have a restricted concept of television advertising. rational reasoning of teenagers is not as sophisticated as adults' reasoning. 2005). It is called "formal" operational stage because it contains all aspects of abstract and theoretical reasoning that can be utilized for any task which is solved by rational thought.. these tasks are concrete because their components (e. Although the formal stage is developed from 11 years throughout adulthood. It's because children are able to see such tasks or experience them directly. since children can usually solve tasks like the liquid task. contrasting concrete operational children who do not admit perception as reality but are able to think about in a more logical way. since both of them combine in a montage of sounds and images. After the preoperational period children are able to reason rationally in problem solving tasks and they can consider two dimensions of the task simultaneously. According to Piaget. This period occurs between two and seven years old. 1988). Firstly. Though cognitive growth is observed. glasses and liquid) exist in the world physically (i. It is possible to classify children into three categories according to their processing skills: limited processors. cognitive abilities of children develop quickly during this period. This period is called "concrete". 2003). According to Piaget. Some researchers indicate lack of distinction between children's visual attention at the time of watching programs and advertisements (Ward & Wackman. It appears that preoperational children are "perceptually bound" to the easily observable aspects of their environment. Finance and Administrative Sciences . However. • Preoperational thought (2 to 7 years): second stage of cognitive development of Piaget is called "preoperational stage". it can't be distinguished from the surrounding programs. Piaget (1970) believes that cognitive development proceeds in four stages: • Sensory-motor intelligence (0-2 years of age): the first stage for development of children is "sensor motor" and involves period of children's growth from birth to the growth of early independent thought and simple problem solving about two years of age. think abstractly and apply all aspects of a stimulus to make judgments. Growing of children's symbolic thoughts is started at this stage but it is still concentrated much on perceptual properties of stimuli (Ginsburg et al. Then the child will be able to use logic for all types of problem.78 European Journal of Economics. Behavior is mainly motorized during this period (Gunter et al. 2003). Piaget suggests that ability of children in observing more than one dimension of a task shows their developing rational thought. Processing skills of children below 7 years is limited and those above 12 years use various strategies for saving and retrieving of information nearly similar to grown. In this period the cognitive structures of children reach to their highest level of growth. cued processors and strategic processors (Roedder.Issue 23 (2010) retrieval of information. beginning of the formal period shows children's potential to think about problems like adults and extend their reasoning from experience and instruction (see Smith et al. 1981). they are real or "concrete" components)..

Most researches confirm the conclusion that children's perception of advertising intent becomes increasingly advanced by age (Lisa Anne. With respect to learning about advertising in the form of critical watching. Gibson. a logo. to introduce new products to prospective customers and to offer details about existing products (Duff. From the above discussion.. (2) Teaching: the category of educational information arises from children’s perception that advertising often educate the view in some manner (Lawlor & Prothero. it had been adjacent with a cartoon program (Gunter. 2002). Duffy. (4) Selling: advertisements try to sell products. 2002). Roberts. cartoon advertisements may be generally more unforgettable than noncartoon ones. 1994).Issue 23 (2010) dependent on their realization that there is a source which creates television advertisements deliberately and also they should know that this source tries to convince its audience to buy (Young. determining of central and incidental issues in an advertisement is difficult. Christenson. 1988b). (3) Entertainment: almost all children are getting familiar with this element through advertisements that make them laugh. 1990). informativeness. In fact. Furthermore. 2008).2004). and irritation (Wang et al. Probably children are more affected by attractiveness of models or celebrities related to a brand.that both of them are related to products and services. the following hypothesis can be proposed: H1: Child’s perception of TV advertisement intent is affected by its age. Children are aware that media vehicles which carry advertisements gain financially from the advertisements (Panwar and Agnihotri. Lawlor and Prothero (2003) have found out that children consider celebrity endorsers as powerful factors in persuasiveness of an advertisement. & Furnham. 2005).79 European Journal of Economics. express either the sources’ goal to sell or the expectation of the receiver to purchase a featured product. making money is the aim of advertisements and indicates that the result of selling will lead to profit growth (Lisa Anne. advertising truthful and advertising likable. & Goldberg. a jingle. music. 1991. Moschis (1985) suggests three fundamental mechanisms in children's consumer learning: (a) purposive training (b) consideration of behaviors (c) positive reinforcement. but this impact is relied on whether advertisements are placed in a cartoon or non cartoon program. This suggests that advertising includes compulsion or manipulation. Blosser and Roberts (1985) believe that there are five categories of advertising intent including: (1) providing information: in age group between 7 and 11 children suppose that the primary role of advertising is to notify. By seven and eight years of age children become aware of advertising’s persuasive intent. All of the children spoke of having desired advertisements that they enjoyed while some children talked about discussing desired ads with their friends (Lawlor & Prothero. instruction is represented through schools or the media (Brown. namely its informative and persuasive aspects of it (Oates et al. endorser. 2008). Most studies that consider children's perception of advertising intent have overwhelmingly focused on intent in terms of commercial purpose of advertising. Finance and Administrative Sciences . Television advertisement includes many pictures. Instead. Advertising value was dependent on perceived levels of amusement. The information represented by advertising is placed in to two categories – commercial information and educational information. Mooser. For this reason. convinced or get to do something by advertisements. 2002). Likeability is a function of all these elements and individual properties of a child. . Information processing of TV advertisement message is affected by children’s perception of advertising intent. over and above its informational intent (Preston. 2006). (5) Persuasion: individuals are persuaded. words and sounds and all these are presented to increase attractiveness of products. Baluch. 1994). advertising will be successful when a child does not encode full details of an advertisement but remembers a picture. Using of celebrities in children's advertising has generally been studied with reference to cartoon characters and the danger related to obscure boundaries between advertisements and programs (Kunkel. or a motto. 1980). Using cartoon characters in TV advertisements can hinder the commercial message in children's memory only if.

The students were aged between 7 and 11 years-of-age with a mean of 9. 2005). Ten to twelve year old children paid more attention to the central message of advertisements and revealed greater knowledge about the product (Gunter et al. (3) Appeals: according to Kunkel and Gantz (1992) three pitches are usually used in advertising related to children including fun/happiness. 2003). (4) Celebrities: using celebrities is prevalent in advertising. (1990) children can understand metaphors if the meaning of the metaphor is within the child's experiences and additional information is given to facilitate interpretation The use of these misleading techniques makes a high level of suspicion about the trustworthiness of advertisement. & Sharp. Seven to nine year old children process advertisements through the peripheral route.. On the basis of this discussion. Older children are less likely to understand truthfulness of television commercials comparing to younger children. 2008). the following is proposed: H3: Child’s perception about truthfulness of TV advertisement is affected by its age Method Data Collection The aim of this study was to investigate children’s perception of television advertising. The sample was selected from elementary students in 40 schools in Isfahan during October. 2001). they gain more negative beliefs about the truthfulness (Chan. Information was obtained through survey questionnaires and individual interviews. 1998). Researchers assured participants that their responses were nameless. The sample consisted of 165 girls (43%) and 220 boys (57%). taste/flavor/smell and product performance. we propose that: H2: Child’s perception of TV advertisement likeability is affected by its age. A total of 385 students were recruited by random selection.80 European Journal of Economics. (5) Metaphor: it is commonly used as a linguistic tool in advertising in which properties of one object are transmitted to another (Pawlowski. Badzinski. 1994). Exaggeration is often used at the expense of brand information (Bandyopadhyay. & Mitchell. the "celebrities" are often animated figures from famous cartoons. (2) Fantasy: it is one of the most common methods in advertising that may cause to misleading of a young audience. Kindra. demonstrating memory for features like jingles and mottos but little understanding of the principal message is illustrated.January 2009. Finance and Administrative Sciences . Respondents in grades 3 to 5 answered to the questioners by themselves. There are important differences related to age in children while paying attention to advertising. has been found to improve tendency to the advertisement though not constantly for the advertised brand (Loughlin & Desmond. 157 of participants are in grades 1 and 2 and 225 of them are in grades 3 to 5. The researcher read out questions and possible answers for students of grades 1 and 2. however. 1981). In children's advertising. product category and brand status could be the factors that change children's confidence in accuracy of an advertisement (Duff. Such perceptual differences of advertisements in relation the age are the prime concerns about advertising for children (Katherine Toland& Barbara. 2004).Issue 23 (2010) Another feature that has been considered in relation to the attractiveness of brands to children is whether brands are promoted on screen by other children. According to Young. Based on the above discussion. So. This feature. As children get older. Cluster random sampling method was applied in this research. . Perceived truthfulness of advertising is different among various ages. in addition. Most advertisements apply emotional and indirect appeals to psychological states (Rajecki et al. Advertisers apply five misleading methods in order to improve their brands that are: Exaggeration: it is total concern about misleading methods which advertisers utilize.

It was measured with 11 items.001 Mean 2. we measured child’s age influence on its perception of the advertising intent by testing for the differences between the means using one way ANOVA. child’s age has a significant influence on its perception about advertisement intent to persuade children to buy products.80 % is obtained which shows that applied questionnaire enjoys the necessary reliability. financial source of the family and family status to describe the sample characteristic. The. Table I summarizes the results. class.263 0.843 1.81 Measures European Journal of Economics.891. child’s age could has significant effect on its perception of the intent to entertain (F= 3. A pilot sample of 30 was conducted to estimate the sample size. younger children were more likely to be persuaded to buy products.217 0. In this section. by parents). All items in this part were measured on a three point rating scale from ‘disagree” (1) to “agree” (3). But. children’s perception of TV advertisements likeability was examined. In other words.3870 To entertain To be bought by parents To be bought by child To persuade To inform To fill gaps between programs To earn money .319 0. we asked about the age. persuasion.120 0.05). Finance and Administrative Sciences .778 2. V16). The results indicate that there is a significant positive relationship between child’s age and its perception of the intent to earn money at the 0.5299 2. Results Data were analyzed by SPSS software (SPSS Inc.449 1. children’s perception about truthfulness of television advertising messages was measured by the question of “In your opinion.011 0. 7 items were used to evaluate children’s perception of intent.317 4. The first part included demographic and socio-economic questions.3688 1. In the second part. This means that within studied group.319. fill in the gaps between programs and earn money.891 Sig 0. gender. In other words. the effect of child’s age on its perception of other intents was not significant.4442 2. As shown in table II. how often TV advertisements tell the truth?” A three-point scale was used ranging from “never” (1) to “always” (3). To test the first hypothesis.05 confidence level (F=4. Table I: The ANOVA result of age and Child’s perception of TV advertisement intent df Between Groups within Groups 4 380 4 380 4 380 4 380 4 380 4 380 4 380 F 3.05).1558 2. Moreover. All variables in this section were measured by three-point scales ranging from (1) “disagree” to (3) “agree”.Issue 23 (2010) The questionnaire consisted of four parts. p< 0. buy (by children.540 0. At last.845 1. reliability of questionnaire was calculated by means of Cronbach's alpha for which 0. and information.4182 2. In the third part. There are seven categories of advertising intent including: entertainment.024 0. children of age between 10 and 11 in compared to those with 7 years of age are more likely be entertained by TV advertisements. p< 0.4208 2. elder children are more likely to perceive that TV advertisements meant to earn money.

5818 2.40458 -0.7922 2. As shown in table IV.049 0.042 0. This means that within studied group Younger children like beautiful person in TV advertisement more than elder children. In other words.05).019 0.001 0.2597 2. Moreover. child’s age could have significant effect on its perception about attractive beautiful person in advertisements (F=3.6691 -0. the effect of child’s age on its perception about other items that presented to enhance the advertisement attractiveness was not significant. children with 7 and 8 years of age like TV advertisements which present beautiful products more than 11 years old children.002 0. Finance and Administrative Sciences .002 0.2259 -0.46720 -0.6286 2.643 0.337 1.717 0.2662 To earn money Table III summarizes the result of age influence analysis on respondents’ perceptions likeability of TV advertisements. p< 0.0567 0.853 0. This means that within studied group younger children are more likely to perceive that products presented in likeable advertisements are good products.001 0.27169 -0.33671 0.511 0. Table III: The ANOVA result of age and Child’s perception about likeability of TV advertisement df Between Groups 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 within Groups 380 380 380 380 380 380 380 380 380 380 380 F Sig Mean Celebrity endorser Music Song Family Like advertised product Your friend Classmate cartoon characters Beautiful product Beautiful persons Famous company 0.251 0.628 0.6168 0.41723 -0.0567 0.6545 2.9636 2.6632 -0.6168 0. children of age between 7 and 8 in compared to those with 10 years of age are more likely to perceive attractive advertisements using beautiful persons.1654 -0.109 0.001 Mean Difference (i-j) -0.909 0.635 5.82 Table II: European Journal of Economics.Issue 23 (2010) The Multiple comparisons result of age and Child’s perception of TV advertisement intent Lower Bound -0.7801 sig 0.246.6564 -0.000 0.3610 .787 1. p< 0.28981 0.131 0.165 0.49165 -0. This clearly shows that effect of child’s age on its perception about likeability of advertisement is accepted only on two dimensions of using beautiful persons and presenting beautiful products for younger children.015 0.5427 -0.4987 2.581 2.1546 -0.485 0.336 1.40891 -0. the influence of child’s age on its perception about attractive products in likeable advertisements was significant (F=5. Moreover.865 0. As shown.000 0.05).256 0.5974 2.0006 -0.52318 Dependent variable To entertain To be bought by child age(i) 7 7 9 9 7 7 7 7 age(j) 10 11 9 10 11 8 9 10 11 Upper Bound -0.1527 -0.0106 -0.2597 1.5690 -0.4364 2.109.7572 -0.246 3.728 0.

000 Mean Difference(i-j) 0. results indicate that numerous children watch advertisements to be entertained.38153 0. Blosser and Roberts (1985). As children develop beyond early elementary school. Much research findings support that age is the major variable mediating children’s cognitive processing of commercial content (Doubleday & Droege.6656 0. does not necessarily always translates to change of its perception about truthfulness of TV advertisements Table V: The ANOVA result of age and Child’s perception about TV advertisement truthfulness df Between Groups To entertain within Groups 4 380 F Sig Mean 0.30154 0. the results show that most children know that media gain money from the advertisements.34244 0. According to Wartella (1980).014 0. Moreover. Second. Indeed. they have fuller perception of persuasive intent. celebrity endorser and slogans emerge as elements which create likeability towards .009 0.0126 0.736 1.2238 sig 0.9636 Discussion and Conclusion Advertising to children considered as an important marketing tactic and television is the predominant media for advertising to children. This means that change of child’s age. Our findings demonstrated that child’s age influence on its perception of the intent to persuade children to buy products. children perceive that basic intent of advertisements is to inform about the products and also to persuade them to buy such products. On the other hand. 1993). majority of children between the ages of about 5-9 find"selling" as advertisements intent.6882 0. This finding has been shown in numerous studies such as Randrup and Lac (2000) and Gunter et al.8463 0. Chan (2008) believe majority of children like TV advertisements.000 0. we believe the perceptions of Iranian children about TV advertisement intent are affected by their parent’s opinions.041 0. Results of this study indicate that there are not any differentiations on the basis of age in child’s perception of intent of advertisements in general. So.56937 0. song. One of the dimensions of present study was to investigate whether child’s age affect on its perception about TV advertisements intent. Research show that Music. Child’s perception of the advertisement’s intent to persuade children to buy products considered in some of the previous studies as.0683 0.40506 0. The goal of present study was to investigate the influence of child’s age on its perception about TV advertisements.6166 0. The results indicate that effect of child’s age on its perception of TV advertisement’s truthfulness is not significant (F= 0.005 0.05).83 European Journal of Economics.5905 0. Finance and Administrative Sciences . p> 0.7760 Lower Bound 0.0975 0.5. (2005). This result confirms research outcomes of Panwar & Agnihotry (2006). the influence of age on child’s perception about likeability of TV advertisement has been investigated.1219 0.2924 0.49991 Dependent variable Beautiful persons age (i) 7 8 8 7 7 8 age(j) 10 10 11 9 11 11 Beautiful product Table V summarizes the analysis of age influence on respondents’ perceptions about truthfulness of TV advertisements.5 0. Martin (1997) and Lawlor & Prothero (2008).Issue 23 (2010) Table IV: The Multiple comparisons result of age and Child’s perception about likeability of TV advertisement Upper Bound 0. The effect of child’s age on its perception of advertisements intent has been shown in numerous studies. In general. TV advertisements persuade younger children to buy things for themselves. marketers and ads makers should play important role to make parent’s judgments about TV advertisements intent more positive.

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