Friday, October 9, 2009

Educating Kids (and Moms) About Advertising

Holy government intervention, Batman! Two things happened this week that caused me to smile:

1.The FTC finally issued a crackdown on mommy bloggers who write product endorsements without disclosing their relationships with those products (i.e. they got the products for free or—even better—they are getting paid to write the review) and
2. The FTC is also reviewing standards and practices around advertising to kids.

As David Vladeck, the new director of the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection is quoted in this week's MediaPost article "The distinction between ads and other content is often blurred to the point that even older kids may not get when they are being pitched," he said. "The goals are to teach kids to be aware of ads, analyze and understand them, and the benefits of being an informed consumer."

The FTC actions include a new educational campaign aimed at tweens next year that will teach kids how to recognize and analyze advertising.

That's all fine and good, but what about the advertisers? As Meredith from YPulse points out in her update from this week's CARU conference, the discussions centered around "reconciling the unilateral marketing standards of the past with the ubiquitous connectivity and multiple platforms of the new media landscape. As the regulatory processes continue to be fine tuned and consumers of all ages become more active players (whether as Facebook fans, content creators, bloggers, etc.), we see a shift from messaging as a one-way broadcast to an ongoing dialogue with youth."

It's an interesting issue and one that is going to be mighty tough to regulate when the lines between advertising, editorial, social media, wireless communications and even mommy’s blog are blurred.

Marketers love tweens and moms right now. And why wouldn't they? Collectively tweens have a spending power of over $30 billion and they influence about 70% of household purchases. And their mothers, who influence 85 percent of their household purchases, collectively spend about $2.1 trillion per year.

Women and children of America, unite! The advertising issue is one that by and large, will be solved by you. Education begins at home.

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