Are Kids Ready For Advertising Essay

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Are kids ready for ads in virtual worlds? By Stefanie Olsen Staff Writer, CNET Published: October 16, 2007 4:00 a.m. PDT Virtual worlds for kids are enjoying a growth spurt in interest and advertising. But that begs the question: are kids ready for such a grown-up reality online? At a recent conference on virtual worlds in San Jose, Calif., executives from some of the industry's biggest sites touted growing audiences of kids, who spend hours a month playing games and socializing. Some of those communities boasted of successful experiments with marketing. For example, preteens are driving virtual Toyota Scions on sites such as and Gaia Online, and they're wearing the latest digital fashions from DKNY at Nickelodeon also talked about coming plans to run "immersive" ads in its 3D environment for kids ages 7 to 14.…show more content…
But in a nascent industry with relatively no standards for advertising, media watchdogs, educators and even some gamemakers are worried. "This kind of marketing is designed to operate at a subconscious level. And kids don't know how to think critically about how someone's trying to get them to be loyal to a brand or buy their products," said Kathryn Montgomery, a professor in the School of Communication at American University and author of Generation Digital: Politics, Commerce and Childhood in the Age of the Internet. Montgomery said the purpose of ads in 3D worlds is often to blur the lines between content and product marketing, and that that's not a new concept. Product companies creating branded content to appeal to kids is as old as the first days of television. But Montgomery and others say virtual worlds and related games change the equation for brand marketers because a child's interaction and emotional engagement is so
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