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Kids Don't Skip Ads As Much as Adults


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January 06, 2006

Kids Don't Skip Ads As Much as Adults

David Kiley

Much is being researched about who is skipping TV ads, and how often. Let’s face it, even before DVRs came along, the remote-control was putting that power into our hands. One of the great inventions of all time is the “last” button on my remote. That allows me to toggle between a show and a Yankee game. Yes, even though I write about marketing, I don’t watch that many ads at home. Who has the time?

I came across this bit of research, though, that is not at all surprising to me given my observations of my 4 year old son.

A survey of 5,400 children ages 6- through 11-years-old by firm MRI asked what the kids do when a commercial comes on. Nearly 60% said they watch the spot. Besides that, more than half said they listen to music on CD players more than MP3 players, and that most (74%) listened to music most often on car radios. Surprising to me, only 4.1% said they listen on an MP3 player, though I’m sure this number is going up as MP3 players get cheaper and cheaper.

Now, this next bit is awful. The survey found that more than half of those children surveyed have a TV in their bedrooms and that their top online activity is gaming.

Sorry, but no how no way is my son getting a TV in his bedroom while he is under my roof. It will be tough to govern a PC that way, because he’ll need a laptop for school, and I’m sure we will have wireless Internet wherever we live. But you can be sure that I’ll be monitoring his computer and keeping the blockers and filters up to date. Show me a parent that allows a kid under 11 to have a TV in his room hooked up to cable, and—I’m sorry, I know this is harsh—I’ll show you a parent who simply wants their kids out of

MRI plans to track these trends over time with regular updates of the survey. Good. I’ll be paying attention.

03:23 PM

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Thank you for not putting a TV in your kid's room. I have 4 (kids) and TV is our constant battle. As for ad effectiveness, I must say that my kids pick up on ads much more efficiently than me. They are much more honest and reflective about advertising. I was shocked (and a little impressed) that "McDonalds" was the first brand my kids knew and loved. And they knew the brand before they knew Dr. Seuess.

As for tracking brand effectiveness, I daresay that kids are likely more honest in their analysis of brands. They will actually tell you that advertising has an effect on them. Whereas adults tend to tell you that advertising has "0" effect on them. (But numbers often tell us different.)

My point...be careful of research telling us that advertising has no effect. Often, it depends on how, and who, you ask.

Posted by: chris at January 15, 2006 03:24 AM


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