Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Business and Management.

Publication Details

European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 42 Iss: 11/12, pp.1203 - 1223.


Abstract Purpose - The aim of this article is to explore children's understanding of television advertising intent. Methodology- A different perspective on advertising intent is offered in this paper, as evidenced in an interpretive study of Irish children, aged between seven and nine years. A qualitative approach was employed, involving a series of focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with fifty-two children. Findings - The findings indicate that the participating children view advertising as serving interests including, but not limited to the advertiser. The existence of other interested parties is suggested by the children, namely the agendas of viewers and television channels. The authors assert that these children view advertising as being larger and more complex than the advertiser’s perspective, which has been the traditional focus in the extant research. Originality/value of paper –Adopting an advertising literacy perspective, the authors seek to explore children’s ‘reading’ and understanding of advertising. Advertising literacy is an approach to understanding advertising that has not received substantial attention in the child-advertising literature. The literature to date has tended to focus on the following question – do children understand the persuasive intent of advertising? This question is suggestive of a ‘yes/no’ answer. In contrast, the authors view the concept of understanding as being more complex and multi-faceted, and accordingly, seek to develop this concept by way of a classification that suggests four different levels of understanding that children may exhibit towards advertising.