Consuming Kids Equips Parents for Marketing Battlefield

By Colleen Keefe

Did you know that our kids are exposed to nearly 3,000 ads per day or that marketers actually study and count on “The Nag Factor” to determine the just how many times a kid needs to nag for a parent to give in and buy?

CONSUMING KIDS, a Media Education Foundation film explores and exposes marketing weapons, tactics and practices used by the advertising industry to capture this demographic whose annual influence on adult spending reaches $700 billion.

On the battleground for market share, its no wonder marketer’s get to our kids “early and often” and exercise the “cradle to grave” philosophy in an effort to develop lifetime consumers. As a parent I was stunned to see just how pervasive, rather intrusive, this industry has become. The film vividly documents the exploits of advertising to our kids at play, in their schools, and even through marketing sleepovers.

Lucy Hughes, marketing vice president and co-creator of “The Nag Factor” was asked if this was ethical marketing. “I don’t know, but our role, initiative, is to move product and if we know you move product with a certain creative execution, placed in a certain media vehicle, then we’ve done our job,” she replied.

Our job as parents and educators is to protect our children from these predatory practices and the damage these practices may cause.

Child psychiatrist, Dr. Michael Brody compares the tactics of many marketers to those of pedophiles while Allen Kanner, PhD, child and family psychologist explains how not just products, but values are pushed on our young. He said this could result in a “profound remaking of their psyche.”

Make sure CONSUMING KIDS is at the top of your “must see” list.  It addresses social, psychological and medical deficits this generation of children can experience as a result of living in our media savvy world. This film gives responsible adults the information they need to combat the marketing enemy their kids face daily and gives them a fighting chance. The film, CONSUMING KIDS will be available from Sept. 19 -23, 2011 to members of the Summit Series for Families community.


Colleen Keefe is a freelance journalist and single mom to three daughters and a son with special needs. A head-on accident took her from the workforce to a stay-at-home mom where she discovered the severity of her son’s cognitive, behavioral, and mental-health needs. Her experiences seeking help for her son prompted her to educate and advocate for children and their families through her writing. Colleen resides with her family in Tucson, Arizona.

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