'Consuming Kids' has much to absorb

While adults can more easily maneuver through the marketplace, kids are made to feel that toys or foods will make their lives better. But Linn wonders if an 8-year-old can really grasp that, no matter what Ronald McDonald says, a trip to McDonald's won't make life more fun long-term.

While adults can more easily maneuver through the marketplace, kids are made to feel that toys or foods will make their lives better. But Linn wonders if an 8-year-old can really grasp that, no matter what Ronald McDonald says, a trip to McDonald's won't make life more fun long-term.

Linn takes corporations and marketers to task for exploiting kids' limited capacity to separate promotional and actual facts by encroaching on schools through ad-laced "educational" TV programs and pouring-rights contracts for soda companies. She laments that TV shows are nothing but program-length ads, offering few lessons other than that certain items are must-haves.

Linn offers suggestions for un-doing the negative effects of TV shows, including calling for a ban on child marketing altogether.

Consuming Kids is not only a must-read for parents, but also for marketers who need to realize that there are consequences to every client program. If placing a snack brand in a child-friendly environment could en- courage obesity, is that really a success? Food for thought.

Title Consuming Kids
Author Susan Linn
Publisher Anchor Books (August 2005), 304 pages

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