ABSTRACT: The research examined the impact of television advertisements on children with a particular focus on Kunike Nursery and Primary School Osogbo, Osun state as a case study. Television being an audiovisual medium that mirrors reality is capable of influencing the psychological perspective of children and adolescents because children tend to cultivate what they watch on television according to George Gerbner. Also, children are influenced by the advertiser’s promise that the product or service will benefit them. The study was grounded on Cultivation Theory and Uses and Gratifications Theory. A survey research method was adopted with 100 children as a sample size that is between the age of 5-15. The results revealed that advertisements played a vital role in introducing a new product to the family list and making a better choice during shopping. Similarly, a larger percentage of children who watched Nestle advert with Milo, Magi and Golden Morn are the common products that are frequently watched on television stations. The data were analysed using table, frequency and percentage method. The major factors that influence children in watching the advert on television are graphic/image or illustration. It was recommended that adverts should be structured in such a way that will not deceive children and it should perform the same functions as advertised to children while APCON should be mindful of the need to protect the public from deceitful and moral advertisements i.e advertisers should have respect for the minors by telling the truth in their message to avoid cheating underage.
1.1 Background to the Study
Television has become a significant social phenomenon in Nigeria and all over the world. Television viewing is believed to generate social forces of undeniable influence on both adults and children. Television is assumed to be the most entertaining medium for women and children. One might say television is able to inculcate certain behaviour and create stimulus in children through various music, films, advertisement, news and other shows which are televised every day. (Olayinka Saheed, 2012)
However, the most important agent of socialization for the development of the child is television because of its power and potential of sending signals in audiovisual which catches the eye and ear.
On the other hand, advertising is one of the ingredients in sustaining business whether the company is dealing with products or services. Scholars of marketing see advertising from different perspectives. Ewuola, P. O. (2002) says advertising can be defined as a form of communication through the media about products, services, ideas, personalities or organizations, paid for by an identified sponsor.
According to the understanding of Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) “advertising is a form of communication through the media about products, services or ideas, paid for by an identified sponsor”.
1.1.1 Evolution of Television Advertisements
A television advertisement or commercial is a form of advertisement in which goods, services, organizations, ideas etc. are promoted through the medium of television. Most advertisements are produced by an outside advertising agency.
Advertisers spread commercials across a number of programmes reaching many more viewers. Networks now own different „spot‟ commercials for many products in the same show. A spot has to stand out and be remembered and this brought about creativity in television advertising owing to a large number of advertisements, and many products with the same quality and cost. The unique selling point and brand awareness became ever more important.
The first television advertisement was broadcast in the United States at 14:29pm on July 1, 1941, when the Bolivia Watch Company paid $9 to New York City NBC affiliate WNBT(now WNBC) for a 20-second spot shown before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies.
Television advertisements have heralded an unprecedented increase in economic activities. For some, television advertisements are always one of the best things to look out for on television because of their highly captivating, dramatic, entertaining and humorous nature. For others, this form of advertisement is nothing but an interruption of a nice quiet evening at home, especially when the viewer is seriously engrossed in a highly informative news programme.
However, beyond these two extremes, the advertiser must gain access to the consumer’s mind in order to win his purchasing loyalty. This is why the advertiser capitalizes on the glamour and potency of television to reach out to a wide spectrum of consumers in order to market his wares. Ideally, television commercials are based on the same principle as the old-time medicine show where a medicine dealer uses a banjo player and magician to attract customers’ attention to his product and market his wares. In television commercials, the advertiser uses talents (for dramatic spectacle) and music to put the audience in good humour, so that the sponsor (manufacturer of the product) who corresponds to the medicine man will have a receptive audience when he peddles his wares.
The majority of television advertisements in Nigeria recently comprise brief advertising spots, ranging in length from a few seconds to several minutes. In the Nigerian media, advertisement of this sort has been used to sell every product imaginable over the years from household products to goods and services. Therefore, the research examines the impact of television advertising on children with a specific focus on Nestle products.
1.2 Statement of the Problems
Television stations ability to transmit audiovisual signal to receiving TV set at home thereby make children to associate and prefer watching one programme to the other (commercials and non-commercial) consciously or unconsciously to other activities at home.
However, most children in their earlier growing up days neither recognize nor differentiate television programmes from adverting messages. It is very obvious that children below 3-5 years are not likely to comprehend what advert messages mean. Yet children are enticed by the picture, animation, drama aspect of advertising and the use of children of their age.
To this end, the research aims to uncover the impact of television advertising on children with a specific focus on Nestle products.
1.3 Research Questions
- To what extent do children understand TV advertisements?
- Does television Nestle products advertising influence buying decisions of children?
- Does the gender of children influence their attitude towards Nestle products commercials?
1.4 Objectives of the study
- To determine the extent to which children understand TV advertisements.
- To ascertain whether Nestle products television advertising influence buying decision of children.
- To examine whether the gender of children influences their attitude towards Nestle products certain.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The research is significant in decent that, it will help to find the actual influence of the television advert on children. It will as well enable parents and guidance to determine their children exposure to television programme because watching television by children have both positive and negative effects.
Therefore, this study will show parents how to be responsible for the upbringing and training of their children instead of living such training to their peers, cinema, television, teachers and determine watching an hour and programme and advert exposure of their children.
Therefore, the findings of this research will serve as good literature for both scholars and students of mass communication who might want to carry out similar or related research in the future.
Nestle company, advertising agency and other companies will through the findings know what children like to watch and what attracted them in advertising messages and when to slot advertising messages for children.
Media houses will also be learning how to schedule their programmes and know the nature of the programmes to be televised.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study is limited in scope to the impact of television on children with a particular reference to Nestle products.
This study intends to cover the entire children in Nigeria but time, resources and found has made the researcher to limit its research coverage to only children Ebunoluwa Nursery and Primary, Ann International Nursery and primary school, Osogbo who are between the age of 2 to 15 years. This cannot be effectively talked about without considering the demographic factor of the pupils in terms of age, sex, class, social background e. t. c before the distribution of the research instruments (questionnaire).
1.7 Operational Definitions of Terms
Impact: It refers to the influence of television adverts on children.
Television station: It is an audiovisual medium for the transmission of advertising messages to the children who watch it through their receiving TV set.
Advertising: This is a paid form of the promotional message shared through television that is usually non-personal media for the purpose of persuading and influencing children towards buying Nestle products.
Children: This refers to the adolescent baby ranging from birth to twelve years old.