Commercials in iCarly

In the current increasing world of mass media and advertising, adults and especially Children are being bombarded with countless advertisements that have one goal in mind, and that goal is to sell you their products to make a profit. With all this constant advertisement in our faces, a problem has been has been brewing in relation to advertisement and children. In shows like iCarly and many other programs, children as young as two or three are being exposed to commercials that have the intensions of manipulating children and parents to purchase their product (Banet-Weiser 75).
Adults do get advertisement just as much as children, but Adults have the cognitive ability to decipher what is being advertised to them (Social Science and Medicine). In a scholarly article entitled “Social Science and Medicine,” children eight and younger are not fully able to cognitively developed enough to distinguish the techniques used to them in the advertising process. Children seem to have difficult in knowing the two techniques used to get their attention, which are selling and persuasive advertising. “Selling advertisement,” is any product or service an advertiser is trying to sell to a child. “Persuasive advertising,” tries to get a child to think and feel a certain way, an example of this would be a commercial that depicts children saying a catchy phrase or wearing a new style or fad. So when an advertiser pushes its agenda in selling junk food to children, their cognitive reasoning is not yet developed enough to understand what they are seeing on the television screen (Social Science and Medicine).


In an era of rapid consumption, businesses and advertisers are going so far to use product placement. This embedded advertising is used on shows such as iCarly to get younger kids with less cognitive developed reasoning skills to subconsciously desire the embedded advertisement (Social Science and Medicine). An example of product placement would be a certain phone used by a cast member that has its logo in clear site of the audience viewing. Even things we would not think about like coke a cola and other sweet drink are embedded in shows like iCarly and others. The advertisers in anyway are trying to sell their products to children, and the effects it could have are being seen with the obesity problem in young children in America.

Upon reviewing commercials run during iCarly, I noticed some interesting patterns and ideas. The first pattern I noticed is that the show is always promoting the next weeks brand new show, and by showing funny clips and having a voice saying you cant miss this; the producers and Nick are trying to have the audience see preferable lines and jokes to get the audience to return. The commercial following the promo for iCarly was for a Barbie doll and is strictly targeted toward young girls age group 6 to 9, and like the show it has a catchy female voice swinging over a rock and roll tune. I believe the advertisers are trying to draw young girls in on the whole “assertive girl power theme”, and to correlate with the message of “girl power” in the show.


The next commercial was a promotion for a movie, and the target audience seems to be all kids ages 6 to 12, and like the commercial before it, the commercial has a catchy tune to draw kids in. The commercial comes off being neutral, in that it neither preferred boys to girls or likewise, and is a stark contrast from the previous girl power commercial. The next commercial was an advertisement for a new game of sorry, but unlike the two before this one, it seemed to be more targeted to young boys then girls, even though it does have a young girl and her mom in the commercial. The song used in the commercial and the narrators voice comes off intense sounding, and words like “take revenge,” suggest it is more targeted towards young boys ages 6 to 12.
The next commercial is advertising honey nut cheerios and shows an animated cartoon bee fighting off a villain who stole his honey. The commercial seems to be neutral and another catchy tune is present. The next two commercial were about McDonalds, and came off with a soothing melody. What was interesting was that in one of the commercials three little birds drop an apple into a child’s happy meal box, suggesting to children but mainly their parents that McDonald’s is a healthy place for their child to eat. Though they now offer fruits with a happy meal, it still does not show the other junk food McDonald’s has to offer. Even though McDonald’s is trying to come off healthy by adding fruit to their menu, by having two heart warming McDonald’s commercials and offering a toy with the meal, I feel kids will develop a unhealthy understanding that fast food is healthy because they happened to offer some types of fruits.
The next commercial is another promotion for the show, but this time it is about Miranda Crossgroves new tour. I noticed while watching a commercial segment from iCarly, some patterns in advertising and promoting. The first is that the show in some ways is always promoting something from the show; whither it is a new episode or Miranda Crossgroves tour. The second is that ever commercial is only around fifth teen minutes long, which makes me think that advertisers know that a child’s attention span is very short, and by cramming as many scenes in a fifth teen second commercial and using flashy colors, they are trying to embed the image of their product in the back of kids minds. The third thing I noticed was that after the promotion the commercials went from girl targeted, to neutral, to boy targeted, to neutral, then the rest were food commercials and finishing it up was another promotion for the show. The last thing I noticed was that most commercials had a catchy them involved, which suggest that kids attentions are susceptible to catchy tunes.


In a way Nickelodeon is trying to create a “brand loyalty,” that encompasses children to feel empowered and important. Sarah Banet-Weiser explains this by saying “empowerment becomes not only a kind of product that Nickelodeon markets for its audience but the meaning of the concept is also redefined within an economic framework, so that an “empowered kid” is not necessarily an active agent capable of political action but rather signifies a savvy consumer” (Banet-Weiser). Without offering details about a product or junk food Nick shows, kids and parents forget or do not even realize that the product being advertised to them is not for their empowerment, but the empowerment of the company that makes a profit. In the end Nickelodeon uses their power of brand loyalty to make a profit from children, that think anything involved in Nickelodeon is cool and a must have.


Banet-Weiser, S. (2007). Kids rule!: nickelodeon and consumer citizenship. Duke University Press Books.

Social Science & Medicine, Volume 65, Issue 7, October 2007, Pages 1311-1323
Helen G. Dixon, Maree L. Scully, Melanie A. Wakefield, Victoria M. White and David A. Crawford