Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood, is a 2008 documentary written and directed by Adriana Barbaro and Jeremy Earp that gives insight to American marketing and advertising that targets children. We see advertisements daily without even realizing it. Companies promote their products on billboards, television, Facebook, cereal boxes. The only way we can escape these marketing strategies to live in the mountains, never venturing into the real world. This film shows the strategies companies are taking to advertise to children specifically; conveniently for billion-dollar corporations, there are no governmental laws preventing them from doing this in America (yet almost every other developed country in the world has laws restricting this).
This film shows the intensive psychological studies companies do in order to target their marketing to what children will want. Their methods are creepy and borderline-stalking behavior. Yet these companies are doing anything they can to make billions of dollars. And it works. They take years planning every detail of their advertisements to cater to what will make them money.
Over the last 50 years with the advancements in technology, the way companies view the children they are marketing products to has changed. Companies are now realizing how significant and powerful children are in the success of a product, and thus develop strategies that revolve around targeting children directly. In the past, the parents bought inexpensive toys for their children because toys were age-appropriate in the past. Now, companies create products advertised for younger children when the product is designed for older children. This explains the creation of the term “tween.” Companies created this term as a sneaky way to market teenage products to younger children, thus making more money.
Consuming Kids shows that there are no limits to what companies will do. They have studied infants and have discovered that we begin to recognize and distinguish brands at six months of age. This discovery has led to thousands of new products designed for babies, and the products themselves are expensive and have never been scientifically proven to work. The Baby Einstein movies, for example, are movies for infants. Research shows that children who grew up watching these movies show no more intelligence than children who never watched them. Also, further research has shown that children watching television before the age of two can be damaging to their attention span.
This documentary is asking the viewer to peel back the layers of what is just beneath the surface, and realize that not everything is as it seems. This is a deceptive world, and asking questions is crucial.