Saturday, September 5, 2009

Ad Break messages "sell you something"

If you haven't noticed "Ad Break" or similar notices on brand-related websites that attract kids (not to be confused with spyware AdBreak), take a moment to check these out:

From Postopia....and here's the warning in context, at bottom of the Postopia home page...and a warning at the bottom of the home page on Oreo from NabiscoWorld. To quote the NabiscoWorld Ad Break in its entirety:
Hi kids, when you see "Ad Break" it means you are viewing a commercial message designed to sell you something. Remember, if you are under 18 years old, you should get a parent's permission before you submit any information about yourself or try to buy anything online.
Research indicates that young children have difficulty distinguishing between "information" and "advertising" so this kind of warning is a start.

Still, the Postopia games seem very integrated with cereal brands and spokescharacters, and include special extras for kids who enter codes from cereal boxes; the entire experience therefore seems to be one big marketing message (well, we were warned).

I noticed the Ad Break warning on the bottom of every Oreo and ChipsAhoy page I happened to check on NabiscoWorld, including pages where TV ads are posted. Again, we were warned. But how much do kids understand about the reason for the warning and what the warning means?

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