Rationale

At this current day and age, children are occupied by media technology and media content. The use of the internet, television, cellphones and other media technology is growing at an astonishing rate. Todays generation of children spend more hours in front of type of screen whether it be a computer screen, a TV screen, or a cell phone screen rather spending time reading books or engaging in physical activity. Even in today's learning environment consists of some type screen involved in order to incorporate media content into the learning process. The internet and television are the two most dominant forms of online media advertising used as a tool for teaching young children. So with much of the content children and their parents view on both television and the internet being media-related to different brands, companies, products etc. The issue of commercialism dealing with children's media has become a major concern. So researching internet sites and television networks where advertisers target children the most would be the most effective way gathering information on this growing issue. Furthermore, exploring today's most popular children's television shows such as iCarly would be the best place see directly how the consumer advertising market attracts young consumer citizens.

Making the Connection


Chapter one of Sarah Banet-Weiser’s book Kids Rule! Nickelodeon and Consumer Citizenship subsection “Children and Advertising” on pages 74-80 speaks on the two different types of advertising Nickelodeon broadcasts on its channel. The first kind of advertising is corporate advertising for products and services, which is one outlet of revenue for Nickelodeon. Secondly, is Nickelodeons own brand advertising, which further promotes Nickelodeon as a channel and also encourages families to be loyal to the station. Children and their viewing responses to advertising has been closely studied by scholars for more than sixty years. Research studies imply that majority of children are unable to differentiate between programming and advertising. Children’s exposure to ads also raises issues of protection because their level of maturity prevents them from distinguishing the message intended in advertising. Based off of economic configuration with in children media, children represent a major demographic portion in the world of marketing and advertising. Typically, ad products mainly correspond to conceptual ideology such as amusement and mockery. For example, if a child was watching Sponge Bob, advertisers will air commercials persuading kids to play a Sponge Bob video game in order to get kids to use that brand product. As far as Nickelodeon is concerned, the generational division of adults and children if embedded in the concept of “ respect.” In detail, Nickelodeon as a children’s network, situated itself as a fighting force that supports children and is capable of rising them above the complicated advertising spectrum of adults. Tag words such as- respect, power, cool, and oppression are words that are part of the counterculture advertising brand, which Nickelodeon clearly represents. In all, Nickelodeon’s ideas of rhetoric are equally important to advertisers when advertising brands to children.

Research Questions

1. Can children tell the difference between network content and commercial ads?
2. What kind of ads are show on Nick and during iCarly?
3. How are the ads effective corresponding to iCarly and Nick?
4. How does advertisers view children and their parents.

Gathering Data


Context Analysis. I watched multiple episodes of iCarly and documented the commercial advertising being shown during each episode and noted how and who each ad was targeted towards. In addition, I also navigated through the iCarly and Nickelodeon website and researched how the ads are being directed to young viewers. Lastly, I read Sarah Banet-Weiser's book Kids Rule! for most of my information.

My Results

My results from watching a number different iCarly episodes show that the majority of the commercials shown are targeted towards young viewers and a small number of the commercials shown are directed to parents and adults figures. As far as the show iCarly, each episode is about 22 minutes long. So therefore, that leaves about eight minutes for commercials to run. Young viewers are exposed to about 8 to 10 commercials throughout a single iCarly episode. Each commercials can contain content varying network related media (iCarly other Nick shows promotion, Disney movies, Nick identity branding "Nick Kids," and internet games), (boy and girls) toys, to food products like cereal.

Key Findings


Nickelodeon as a network broadcast two different types of commercial advertising. One is corporate advertising and the other is brand advertising. The major concern dealing with children’s media is the issue of a child’s viewing response to advertising. This is such an important concern due to the fact that it’s a difficult task for a child to differentiate between what’s media content and media advertising. Therefore, Nickelodeons way of dealing with this major issue of kids being consumer citizens was creating a branding identity corresponding to the network for its young viewers. So the idea of “Nick Kids” was used as a means of separating children to be part of the network instead of just being consumers of the network. Nickelodeon’s respect and appreciation for its young viewers gives way to sense of empowerment for children. Overall, this empowerment is what prevents children form being taken advantage of by commercial advertising. As far as iCarly, the commercials shown throughout each episode are not hard for children to distinguish between ads and network content because the majority of ads played directly correspond to things not connected to Nick or iCarly. But most the ads portray a fun and playful notion which i believe is one the aspects of the their sales pitch which draws a child's attention. On the other hand, ads directed that are shown which are directed towards parents and adult figures are more straight forward with the sales pitch in getting them to purchase certain products and toys for their children.

Sources
Schneider, D. (Producer), & Hoefer, S., Weissman, A., Kendall, D., Reinsel, R., Christiansen, R., & Goldstein, J. (Directors). (2008-2010). iCarly
[Televisionseries].Hollywood, California:Viacom International Inc.
Banet-Weiser, S. (2007). Kids Rule! Nickelodeon and Consumer Citizenship. United States: Duke University Press.
Nickelodeon kids and teen website. http://www.nick.com/shows/icarly. © 2011 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved