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