Kid Ad Appeal

Honey, can you tell me what a commercial is?” I asked my 4-year-old daughter recently between the end of a “Barney” episode and the beginning of “Dora the Explorer.”

“Oh, Mommy,” she sighed. “A commercial is a picture of something cool that they put on before the show starts.”

If it’s on TV, it’s cool, at least to kids under the age of six. Advertising’s pull on consumers of all ages is strong, but it is perhaps strongest with kids. Not a day goes by that I’m not summoned to the TV set to see what advertisers are trying to sell to my daughter. “Please, Mommy, can we get that?” she exclaims.

“Ask Santa,” I say. But it wasn’t Santa who took us to Disney On Ice (a radio ad suggested it), or to “Ice Age” (a billboard en route to church). And who spent $74.99 on the Barbie castle that seemed so much more interesting on TV than it turned out to be at home?

Even my 1-year-old is not immune. Why else does she scream when she sees Charmin at the store, or get excited when she sees someone tickle Elmo?

It’s called advertising — and it certainly seems to be working.
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