Advertisers cast wide net for kids’ attention

It’s the time of year when children make long holiday wish lists.

Advertisers have always been eager to help with that task. Now, in addition to the traditional funnel of TV, companies are now targeting children through games on websites, said Daniel Cook, an associate professor of childhood studies at Rutgers-Camden.

“Something like WebKinz, and many other companies and websites, will often have games and role-playing games and activities where children earn money–fake money value–that then turns into the ability to purchase dolls and things like that,” he said. “Much of it is part of role playing or fantasy worlds within the brand world that’s being created.”

Cook said part of society’s response to the 24/7 marketing campaign needs to include increased awareness by parents, and maybe even kids, about the many forms advertising can take.

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