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From 1992 to 1997, the amount of money spent on marketing to children doubled, from  $6.2 billion to $12.7 billion.[i]  Today they are spending at least $15 billion.

Children influence purchases totaling over $600 billion a year.[ii] 

Children spend almost forty hours a week outside of school consuming media, most of which is commercially driven.[iii]

The average child sees about 40,000 commercials each on television alone.[iv]

65% of children eight to eighteen have a television in their bedroom as do 32% of children two to seven[v] and 26% of children under two.[vi]

The marketing industry has found that babies are requesting brands as soon as they speak.[vii]

In 2002, McDonald’s spent over $1.3 billion on advertising in the United States.[viii]

Children are more vulnerable to marketing than adults. Very young children are not able to distinguish between commercials and television programs.[ix]  

Until the age about eight children can’t understand persuasive intent–that the purpose of commercials is to entice them into buying the product being advertised.[x]

In 2000, a federal report from the General Accounting Office called marketing in schools a growth industry.[xi]

More children recognize the Budweiser Frogs than Smokey the Bear.[xii]

85% of American parents would like to see children’s television programs commercial free.[xiii]

[i]. Lauro, PW (1999) Coaxing the smile that sells: Baby wranglers in demand in marketing for children. New York Times, November 1, C1+.

[ii]. Packaged Facts. “The Kids Market.” New York: MarketResearch.com, March 2000.

[iii]. Roberts, DF et al (1999) Kids & Media @ the New Millennium. Menlo Park, CA: The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.


[iv]. Kunkel, D. (2001) Children and television advertising.  In D.G. Singer & J.L. Singer (Eds.), The handbook of children and media. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 375-394.


5. Roberts, 1999.


6. Rideout, V.; Vandewater, E.;and Wartella, E. Zero to Six:  Electronic Media in the Lives of Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers (Melnlo Park: CA: The Henry F. Kaiser Family Foundation, 2003) pg. 5.

[vii].  Paul Kurnit quoted in Duncan Hood, “Is Advertising to Kids Wrong?  Marketers Respond,” KidScreen, November 2000, 16.

[viii].  “100 Leading National Advertisers,” Advertising Age, 74 (25) 23 June 2003, 2.

[ix]. Atkin, C. (1982) Television  Advertising and Socialization Consumer Roles. In  D. Pearl (Ed.), Television and Behavior: Ten Years of Scientific Progress and Implications for the Eighties. Rockland, MD: National Institute of Mental Health, 191-200.

[x].  Kunkel, D. (2001) Children and Television Advertising. In D.G. Singer & J.L. Singer (Eds.), The handbook of children and media. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 375-393.

[xi].  Shaul, MS. Public Education: Commercial Activities in Schools. Report to Congressional Requesters. Washington, D.C.: United States General Accounting Office, 2000.

[xii]. Lieber (1996) Commercial and character slogan recall by children aged 9 to 11years: Budweiser frogs versus Bugs Bunny.  Berkeley, CA: Center on Alcohol Advertising.

[xiii].  Lake, Snell, Perry, and Associates. Television in the digital age:  A report to the Project on Media Ownership and the Benton Foundation, December, 1998.