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Your views on children as peer-to-peer marketers

(67 Posts)
KatieMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 31-May-12 10:21:03

Agnes Nairn, a Business School Professor and co-author of Consumer Kids, will be responding to a review on marketing practices using children and would love to hear your views and of any experiences you've had.

Last July the Bailey Review, Letting Children be Children recommended to government that "the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and other advertising and marketing bodies should urgently explore whether, as many parents believe, the advertising self-regulatory codes should prohibit the employment of children under the age of 16 as brand ambassadors or in peer-to-peer marketing - where people are paid, or paid in kind, to promote products, brands and services."

An example of this would be when Mattel recruited 7 year old girls online to promote Barbie Girls MP3 players to their friends and gave them rewards based on the intensity of their marketing activity. Or the 7 year old twins recently employed by Weetabix to promote the cereal ?on their most active days.? These recruitment activities are sometimes online where children are given incentives to 'like'? products on Facebook or write positive blogs and comments about a brand.

In response to the Bailey Review, some parts of the advertising industry have created a voluntary best practice code but CAP has just launched a review to find out if the ban should be formally put into its self-regulatory code along with the other advertising rules and regulations.

· Should this ban be part of the advertising self-regulatory code (which means industry, including the Advertising Standards Authority) imposes sanctions on companies who break the ban)?

· Should it be completely illegal?

· Should there just be a voluntary code which promotes a ban but does not enforce it?

· Or should there be no ban at all?

· What do you think about under 16s promoting products in this way?

Crumblemum Thu 31-May-12 10:57:23

I would not like my kids to promote products to their friends, but I'm always very happy when they're given a free sample of yoghurt etc in the supermarket as it eases the passage. Don't think the latter is peer to peer though so long may that continue! As to who should monitor, I'd say ASA best placed.

SeventhEverything Thu 31-May-12 11:04:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

maples Thu 31-May-12 11:08:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CMOTDibbler Thu 31-May-12 11:09:52

I really don't like it, and think it places children in a very vunerable situation

Pascha Thu 31-May-12 11:26:04

I don't like the thought of any child doing this at all, even 14 and 15 year olds. I find it distasteful and exploitative. I would support a complete ban under 16 enforceable in law.

KatieMiddleton Thu 31-May-12 11:27:59

It's horrible. Ban it.

iseenodust Thu 31-May-12 11:29:27

The problem is that on one hand kids are too easily influenced by peers so this is playing on an inherent weakness and on the other I would doubt the ability of the 'marketeer' child to give an introductory spiel explaining the ethics of what they are doing.

The code should be made made formal and the activity illegal.

Flaneuse Thu 31-May-12 11:42:23

Hate the idea of children being used as unpaid servants of capitalism. They are already bombarded by too much advertising and marketing info. I think it should be completely illegal - the industry certainly cannot be relied on to self-regulate.

RamblingRosa Thu 31-May-12 11:43:41

It's absolutely vile.

choccyp1g Thu 31-May-12 11:48:52

Totally out of order. It's exploitation of the child marketeers and the other children.

klaxon Thu 31-May-12 12:05:17

I think it depends on the product. Let's say for example the product is 'chess club'. Kids encouraging others is fine. Eating carrots, fine.

Anything you can buy in a supermarket, not fine IMHO.

However I think kids do this anyway in terms of 'I have this toy, it's so cool you should get one.' and creating collections.

coppertop Thu 31-May-12 12:50:01

I think it should be illegal.

We already have laws about companies not being allowed to employ children. I don't think the greed of companies is reason enough to overturn this.

When an adult markets a product, there are rules about what they are allowed to say. If the marketing is misleading there is at least some comeback for this. What happens when Child A says "But I only bought it because Child B told me that I could do XYZ with it and it's turned out to be a complete lie"?

Parents already spend time and effort encouraging their children to resist peer pressure. Peer-to-peer marketing is yet another way to increase that pressure.

Companies who want more marketing should be paying adults the going rate for that work, not giving children trinkets.

It's also not fair on the children employed to do this. How long before other parents start steering their own children towards other friendships because they're fed up with them coming home and saying "X says I should buy one of these"?

MyNameIsInigoMontoya Thu 31-May-12 13:53:22

Absolutely wrong. In so many ways.

I don't even like the idea of this when it's adults involved, but it should never be legal by, or to, children.

EauRouge Thu 31-May-12 15:14:07

Of course it should be completely illegal. Not only would I not want my children anywhere near this method of advertising, I would boycott any companies that use it.

PineCones Thu 31-May-12 15:24:33

It should be completely illegal. For all the reasons mentioned above.
The cheek angry

ContinentalKat Thu 31-May-12 16:43:22

Absolutely unacceptable and needs to be banned. See reasons above.

PestoPenguin Thu 31-May-12 16:52:25

· Should it be completely illegal?

YES, absolutely no doubt about it.

· What do you think about under 16s promoting products in this way?

It is totally unacceptable. Vile practice.

PestoPenguin Thu 31-May-12 16:58:34

How bizarre that there seems to be nothing about this review on the CAP website, nor is the subject listed as an open consultation. How can we have our say directly? hmm

Mind you, the CAP does seem to be funded by the advertising industry... I wonder why the Government isn't formally consulting and responding to the Bailey Review itself rather than allowing an industry-funded body to decide whether self regulation should continue?

gazzalw Thu 31-May-12 17:27:06

Personally I think that unless someone understands what underpins a brand they shouldn't be advertising it and so children can never be used to promote such activities to other children - the blind leading the blind!

Lastofthepodpeople Thu 31-May-12 18:39:57

It should be completely illegal for under sixteens, and limited up.to eighteen.

KatieMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 31-May-12 19:09:52

Hi there

Thanks for all your comments so far. Here is the information on the CAP consultation, I'll also include in the OP.

MmeLindor. Thu 31-May-12 19:25:00

It should be illegal for under 16yo and limited for under 18yo, as Lastofthepodpeople said.

Children are too vulnerable to peer-pressure and to abuse this to sell products is seriously wrong. I would boycott any company who used peer-to-peer advertising with children.

2to3 Thu 31-May-12 19:33:39

It should be illegal. Crazy stuff.

TheMightyMojoceratops Thu 31-May-12 21:54:39

Should this ban be part of the advertising self-regulatory code (which means industry, including the Advertising Standards Authority) imposes sanctions on companies who break the ban)? Yes

· Should it be completely illegal? Yes

· Should there just be a voluntary code which promotes a ban but does not enforce it? No

· Or should there be no ban at all? No

· What do you think about under 16s promoting products in this way? It's unethical for a number of reasons and I would think very badly of any company that wanted to promote their product in this way.

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