Tag Archives: Children’s TV

I Want It Now! Targeting Kids with Internet Ads

Veruca Salt’s catch phrase “I want it now…” from the 1971 film “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” has been uttered countless times by children, and this is the very phrase that advertising companies want to hear.   The buying power of children is greater than ever before and companies marketing to kids are reaping the benefits.

Television advertisements geared toward children have been criticized for years but the industry boasts $15 billion in annual profits.  With that type of cash coming in, advertising executives have expanded the industry to the Internet.

Sites such as cartoonnetwork.com and neopets.com are designed to be kid-friendly but companies are customizing their advertisements to be a fully integrated part of these websites using a tactic known as immersive advertising.  Immersive advertising integrates the ad into content rather than it being placed alongside the page.

Cartoonnetwork.com When you log onto cartoonnetwork.com, you first notice the flashy graphics, and loud sound effects.  Looking more closely, you can start to see the emergence of advertising at its sneakiest.  The background of the website had been changed to advertise Universal Pictures new film The Lorax.  In addition to the background, there were also banner ads promoting the release of the movie.  As you began to explore the website, you start to notice how advertising companies had utilized the concept of immersive advertising.  There is a newsfeed in the gaming tab that was sponsored by McDonald’s Happy Meals.  There are banner ads for Lego, as well as Cartoon Network shows that are sponsored by the toy company.  It is plain to see that cartoonnetwork.com relies heavily on advertising dollars to ensure their continued success.

Neopets.com utilizes the same tactic of immersive advertising.  When you arrive at the website, a toolbar pops up that provides advertising for Nickelodeon.  The Lorax film is again incorporated into a “showcase game” to promote the release of the film.  It is clear that this form of advertising is effective and companies today are utilizing it to their full advantage.

The monetary benefit from this specific type of advertising is unlimited, but is it worth the possible damage to our children’s physical and mental well being?  Children today are statistically more overweight, teen violence and teen pregnancy continue to rise, and studies seem to indicate that advertising geared toward children has impacted these statistics.  It would be conducive to our youth if companies would be more responsible with how they utilize the Internet and the messages that they are conveying.  Social responsibility should be considered more in today’s industry because its impact will be felt for years to come.

Katie Foley

Producing with Integrity

Most of us have seen the lower case or capital “e i” on the upper right hand side of the television screen for select children’s shows. I have learned that ensuring that a show is both educational and informative is only the beginning when producing programming for children. In fact, it is necessary to have integrity as well, and to be extremely meticulous in all three of these aspects of production.

In fact, I have seen this best demonstrated by the children’s television programs produced by the independent television company I am interning with. These programs promote education and literacy by featuring them in different segments throughout each episode. In one program, children from all over the country and world are invited to submit their original writing. The producers of the program make sure to read all stories submitted. Once a story is selected, a script is written for it. The scriptwriter is very careful to maintain the structural integrity of each story and anything written by the child is attributed to them. They also ensure that proper and inoffensive language is used and maintained throughout the script. The family of each child is then informed that their child’s story has been selected. After the producer has approved the final script, the costuming and sets are designed.

The producers of this program make sure to dot every “I” and cross every “T,” even down to the correct pronunciation and gender of the selected story’s author.  Although, this takes a lot of time, I have seen how extremely valuable these extra steps are to the child and their family.  During the production of the show, correct grammar and pronunciation are also checked and changed if needed.  In the production phase of the show, the child’s story is brought to life by the talented skills of professional actors. Finally, in post-production, the show is edited, special effects and all of the final touches are made to perfect the show. After the final cut of the show has been made, the child’s family is mailed a DVD of the show and receives a call to inform them when the show will be broadcast. This has been done for over 1500 children.

Although, this is just one case study, I have learned through observation—more than anything, integrity and responsibility are vital as a producer/media manager. In this case, not only is the producer responsible for including educational elements in each show while maintaining the story’s integrity; but they are also responsible for making each subsequent season as valuable to the child and audience as the first.

– Tamara John