Environmental Center hosts marketing film

By Siobhan Murray

Writer

The Bucknell University Environmental Center showed “Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood”, a film about the rise of marketing towards children to conclude their “Green Screens” documentary series. The film was held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in the Campus Theatre.

“If we want to get to the bottom of the question of our campus climate, we can’t afford to leave aside the question of the role that our commercial media plays,” said David Kristjanson-Gural, associate professor of economics.

The documentary, directed by Adriana Barbaro and Jeremy Earp, debuted in 2008 and addresses the issues of modern marketing towards youth. The film uses extensive interviews and insights from medical professionals, child experts and marketers themselves. It attempts to show the ways that youth marketers have had both positive and negative affects on children’s lives only for the purpose of creating the most profit possible. The film shows the way in which industries increasingly see children solely as consumers.

“The consumer embryo begins to develop during the first year of existence,” said James U. McNeal, a Pioneering Youth Marketer featured in the documentary. “Children begin their consumer journey in infancy and they certainly deserve consideration as consumers at that time.”

The film reports that kids now influence $700 billion in spending. This number is equal to the combined economies of 115 of the world’s poorest countries. The film estimates that children are bombarded with over 3,000 commerical messages a day.

“What we have is the rise of 360-degree immersive marketing where they try to get around the child at every aspect and at every avenue,” said Nick Russell, a youth marketer also shown in the film.

The documentary showing was followed by a Q&A panel. It featured assistant professor of psychology Ruth Tincoff, associate professor of management Douglas Allen and Kristjanson-Gural, and was moderated by the Local Action Network’s Samantha Pearson. The panel discussed why this issue is so important to the public.

“Several good suggestions were made including how to engage young children in discussions of the messages they are being targeted with, what things parents are reasonably responsible for and what unreasonable expectations are laid on parents by the advertising and media industries,” Kristjanson-Gural said.

 

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