Project Ad Power

A project exploring techniques to increase children's advertising literacy.

Children's susceptibility to advertising has long been the subject of academic and public debate. It is generally assumed that advertising literacy (advertising-related knowledge, such as understanding advertising's commercial intent) functions as a defense against the effects of advertising. However, research shows that advertising literacy does not automatically lead to reduced advertising susceptibility in children. Even if they have the necessary advertising knowledge in place, untill age 12 children still have difficulty to enact this knowledge as a defense when confronted with advertising. 

To reduce children's advertising susceptibility, there is a need to investigate how children can be triggered to use their advertising knowledge as a critical defense. To this end, Bitescience initiator and researcher Dr. Esther Rozendaal received a grant from the Dutch Center for Expertise on Media Literacy to investigate what types of advertising interventions (e.g., online educational programs and ad warnings) are effective in activating children's defenses. The project was conducted in collaboration with the MediaRakkers Foundation, a media and advertising literacy initiative for elementary school children, and finished in the fall of 2012.