This Is Your Brain on Advertising: Why Kids Are So Vulnerable to Marketing

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It’s understandable why so many people are concerned about advertising directed at children — the average kid will see 25,000 TV ads a year before they turn 12, and that doesn’t even include internet ads or product placement. Companies spend about $17 billion a year on advertising directed at children, and they’re defenseless against these messages.

As Science of Us explains in this week’s “This Is Your Brain on Advertising,” it isn’t until kids are 11 or 12 that they can fully recognize that people trying to sell them something might not be telling them the truth, and kids younger than that often have trouble even distinguishing commercial from non-commercial messages. That can help explain research that has shown that young kids can develop brand preferences after viewing just one ad, and that they’ll rate food as tastier when it comes in branded packaging.

Make sure to check out the other marketing videos in our archive, including last week’s episode, which helps explain how marketers target all of your senses — not just the ones you’d expect.