Emotion is not an issue here

Sean Brierley must live in a world where you wrap your children up in cotton wool to protect them from anything that may damage or offend their sensitive little souls (MW May 16).

Marketing to children is always an emotive subject, but let’s cut the emotion for a minute and look at the facts.

Children spend 88 per cent of their waking time either at school, playing, reading or doing homework. Only 11 per cent is spent watching TV and of that only 1.5 per cent is spent watching TV advertising! Surprising but, as much publicised research shows: true.

Children are independent and increasingly wealthy. They spend their money across a wide range of brands and a number of categories. Over 50 per cent of parents consult their children on the purchase of major products – which shows the influence youngsters have as consumers.

We allow brands the right to sell things to children and should therefore allow them to market to them. Children are not as naive as we like to think and by the age of six they have learnt to differentiate between advertising and programming. At seven, only 20 per cent say they believe what is said in an ad and this drops to just 9.8 per cent by the age of ten.

It is imperative that as an industry we stick to the codes of practice, not just because they are there but because we are in the business of building long-term profitable relationships between brands and children – after all, they are the future.

Sensible debate is welcome, but can we please have it from an informed viewpoint and move away from the emotional blackmail that raises its head every time children are mentioned?

Jane Asscher

Managing partner


London W1B

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