What are the most successful routes for advertising to children?
While advertising is often targeted at 6- to 12-year-olds, there are wide differences in cognitive and emotional development between children across this age spectrum. For advertising communication to be comprehensible, the elements of the message must be modulated to fit the needs and skills of children at various developmental phases.
Research has shown that kids go through four basic stages of emotional needs. These overlap because different children progress at different rates.
The Nursery stage (up to 4 years) is characterized by a safe, cozy, warm, nurturing environment. Parental guidance is essential at this stage. Toward the end of this stage kids learn to shift their play style from playing side by side to sharing playtime activities with friends.
The Playground stage (ages 3–10) is where pleasure, excitement, exploration (with mom and dad) and discovery take place. It is also a time where kids become aware of advertising. Initially, when kids first understand that advertising is something that shows you things you can have, or ask mom to buy, they take everything at face value, but within six months they learn that sometimes advertising doesn't tell the truth.