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23 April 2013

TV Advertising Leads to Materialism Among Children

Keywords: advertising, survey, Western Europe, television, tweens,

Children who are frequently exposed to TV advertising become more materialistic over time. According to a study in Communication Research advertising increases children’s desires for heavily advertised products which, in turn, lead to an increased focus on consumption in general. 

Take aways

  • By promoting the ideology that possessions are important and that desirable qualities such as beauty, happiness, and success can be obtained through consumption, advertising stimulates materialism.
  • Advertising not only increases children’s desire for advertised products, this increased desire also leads to an increased focus on consumption in general.
  • Two intervention strategies could be applied to counter the effect of advertising: regulating children’s advertising exposure and teaching children how to deal with advertising critically.

Study information

  • The question?

    Does children’s advertising exposure lead to materialism, and if so, how?

  • Who?

    466 children, 8 to 11 years old, 55% girls

  • Where?

    The Netherlands

  • How?

    The children were part of a research panel that is representative for Dutch youth. They received the same questionnaire twice, with a one-year interval. Completing the survey took 15 to 20 minutes. Children answered questions about material possessions and advertising.

Facts and findings

  • Children’s advertising exposure leads to increased materialism, because…
    • advertising exposure leads to an increased desire for heavily advertised product types…
    • this increased desire for heavily advertised product types leads to increased materialism