NEWS: ITC children’s report reveals no need for tighter rules on toy ads

Calls for further restrictions on toy advertising are wide of the mark, according to new research from the Independent Television Commission.

Calls for further restrictions on toy advertising are wide of the mark,

according to new research from the Independent Television Commission.



Toy advertising is rarely misleading or confusing, and children are

generally more advertising-literate than their parents, the report

claims.



The ITC found that advertising is an accepted part of daily life for

children in the UK and older children in particular are unlikely to be

duped by advertising targeted at them.



However, mothers tended not to recognise their children’s sophistication

in terms of their awareness of ads and understanding messages.



The children were found to be quite skilled at discriminating between

the reality of a product and conventional forms of advertising fantasy.

They understood that smoke, lightning and other clearly theatrical

devices were just special effects to make the toy seem more appealing.



Older children accepted and easily understood a range of special effects

and devices used by the toy advertisers. However, there was a risk, the

report found, that younger children were less experienced at

interpreting commercials and this could lead to confusion and heightened

expectations.



The qualitative study was conducted among ten groups of children aged

four to nine years old and four groups of mothers. They watched

children’s TV on a daily basis, were regular viewers of independent

terrestrial stations and at least half had access to satellite or cable

TV.



Frank Willis, director of advertising and sponsorship at the ITC, said

that the findings did not suggest any immediate changes were necessary.



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