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The main reason why a business operates is to maximize their profits. In order to attain that objective, the business must generate enough sales from its products to cover all costs and other expenses. For many businesses, before the production of their goods or services, they forecast their profit by estimated the number of sales. However, to predict future sales, are the most difficult tasks that business¿½ executives may face, as customers demand keep on changing.
Therefore, it is very important for the business to engage in programme that can influence customers¿½ decision to purchase the products. This is where advertising and brand management are relevant. Advertising is a subset of the promotion mix which is one of the 4ps in the marketing mix i.e., product, price, place and promotion. Briefly, advertising, is a tool in creating product awareness and persuade to buy the product.
Advertisement is one among of the effective tools of integrated marketing communication to emotionally and psychologically motivate consumers to buy either goods or services. It is considered to have strong linkage with entertainment and the proliferation of media has blurred the distinguishing lines between advertisements and entertainment (Moore 2004). Advertisements featuring products like snacks, toys, cookies, confectionaries and fast food are specifically targeted at children of all ages, in order to motivate them to try new brands and buy more. One of the new techniques of marketing of the 20th century has been the introduction and diffusion of television (Mc Luhan, 1964). Television is the most preferred means of communication for fast food retailers because of the effect on viewer. This medium of advertisement has allowed major food companies like KFC and MC Donald to plant influential images and themes within children¿½s collective consciousness (Donahoe, 2005)
1.1 Evolution of Advertising in Mauritius
In Mauritius, Advertising existed since the mid- nineteenth century. At that time announcements were made in only the two mediums available i.e., newspapers and posters, regarding arrival of certain products from abroad. There was no advertising agency until 1924 when ¿½Maurice Publicit¿½ Lte¿½ was established which is now one of the largest agencies in Mauritius.
Today, Advertising is taking the form of a major industry; it is becoming an essential activity in our economy. The role it plays continues to increase in significance year after year. As Mauritius is becoming more and more industrialised, its productive capacity and output are rising. There is a need to find customers for this output, and advertising plays a vital role in the process of moving the goods from the producer the consumer. It helps to achieve mass marketing while helping the consumer choose among the almost infinite variety of products offered for his selection.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Researchers all over the world are still trying to find out ways and means to evaluate the impact of their food¿½s advertisements on children and adolescents. Research establishes that
children start understanding the selling intent of the advertisement before they attain
the age of eight (Donohue et al., 1980; Wartella, 1982; Kline, 1995; Ward and Wackman,
1987). At the age of eight, indeed, children are attractive customer, Hence, it is crucial to find out whether television advertisement are continuing influencing their choice when they grow up.
Moreover, Companies are using all type of marketing strategies to reach children and adolescents. 11 of the 12 major fast food restaurant companies maintain at least one facebook account, nine of which had more than a million fans in 2009; maintained twitter accounts; and had at least one You Tube channel between 2009 to 2010. (Harris JL , et al, 2010). For some fast food companies, foods is not advertised, they show only the toy available in the latest collecting offer to attract children and adolescents But, is it necessary for such type of companies to spend so much time on marketing techniques? Therefore, it is necessary to find out what power that television¿½s advertisement has, that children persuade their parent to buying an advertised fast food for them.
1.3 Background to the Research Problem
Blosser and Roberts 1985; Halan, (2003) observed that there is a relationship between children and television advertisement. Advertising can influence children behaviour in various ways. Not a single day passed by without children interacting with advertising of a variety of goods and services.
Earlier before, more precisely, in the mid- nineteenth century, advertising was only to give information about the product that is available to the general public. Gradually with new competitors entering the market, the role of advertising has changed completely. Today, the main objective of any advertiser is to persuade mainly the young people as they are considered to have a strong influence in their parent¿½s spending.
1.4 Rationale of the study
The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of food advertising and marketing channels used to target children and adolescents and how they react to them. Brief, this study will determine whether television advertisement affect adolescents buying behaviour. The study also measures the impact of peer group pressure on choice among other factors.
Fast food companies can use information from this study so as to have an idea on the likes and dislikes of young people in a fast food televised advertisement and whether their advertisement has an impact on choice. Nowadays, the business environment is very dynamic with customer taste and preferences constantly changing, same type of advertisement should not be used throughout the life time of a product. It is important for organizations to keep on innovating.
1.5 Research Objectives
The objectives of this research were:
1. To identify the impact of television advertising on the buying behaviour of adolescents.
2. To identify factors that encourages adolescents to buy the fast food from a television advertisement.
3. To investigate on factors affecting adolescents¿½ choice when buying fast food.
4. To determine the consequences of fast food advertisement on adolescents.
5. To find out how much of the family income goes on fast food.
1.6 Research Questions
1. To what extent are adolescents remembering and buying from advertisement saw on television?
2. Is advertisement an important variable in the pre purchasing decision of adolescents?
3. What are those marketing techniques in television¿½s advertisement that attract adolescents¿½ attention
4. What are the factors that are affecting adolescents¿½ choice when buying fast food?
5. Will adolescents buy more if a fast food is being advertised frequently on television?
1.7 Layout of the Project
The project is presented as follows:
Chapter 1: Introduction
This chapter was mostly an overview of the topic being researched. The research problem, the background of the research problem, the rationale, the objectives and the research questions were presented in this chapter.
Chapter 2: Literature review
This chapter provides information on some study that has already been carried out by some researchers on the topic. The chapter is divided into several parts such as different reaction of young people to television advertisement, marketing techniques, children as decision makers and finally the eating habits of children.
Chapter 3: Research Methodology
This part of the project includes the method used in collecting and analyzing data. The marketing research process was used to carry out research on the research topic.
Chapter 4: Analysis and Findings
In this chapter, data that were collected were analysed in line with the research questions and objectives. It also includes the hypotheses testing.
Chapter 5: Recommendations and suggestions
This chapter includes some recommendations and suggestions of the study.
Chapter 6: Conclusion
This chapter includes a summary of all the main elements of the study.
A copy of the questionnaire used for the survey is included in the appendix section.
2.0 Literature review
2.1 Definition of adolescent
The term adolescence is commonly used to describe the transition stage between childhood and adulthood. Adolescent is also equated to both the terms ¿½teenage years ¿½and ¿½puberty¿½. Puberty refers to the hormonal changes that occur in early youth; and the period of adolescent can extend well beyond the teenage years (Kaplan 2004). In fact, there is no clear scientific definition of adolescence or set age boundary. But, Mintel international group (2001) argued that ¿½tweenagers are aged between 10 and 14 years of age while Clarke (2003) classifies them as 8-12 year olds.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on the other hand, went further and defines ¿½adolescents¿½ as a person between 10-19 years age and ¿½youth¿½ as individual in the 15-24 years age group. Based on their report, there are about 1.2 billion adolescents worldwide and one in every five people in the world is an adolescent. These two overlapping age groups are combined in the group ¿½young people¿½ covering the age range 10- 24 years.
2.2 The fast food industry
The fast food industry has infiltrated every nook and cranny in most developed and developing countries around the world. According to the Institute of Medicine, (2006) fast foods can be defined as ¿½foods designed for ready availability, use or consumption that is sold at eating
establishments focusing on quick availability or ¿½take away¿½.¿½ It refers to food cooked in
advance, kept warm in oven and reheated when ordered. These foods tend to be high in saturated fat, sodium and low in fibre. Most fast food outlets are part of a restaurant chain or franchised operations that provide the same foodstuffs in every branch. (Anon,2007). Fast food usually includes foods such as fish and chips, hamburgers, sandwiches, pitas, fried chicken, French fries, pizza, ice-cream and chicken nuggets. These foods are often highly processed and prepared on a scale with standard ingredients and standardized cooking.
Since the last decades, teenagers were regarded as a major market force in the food and beverage industry. Several techniques and channel of distributions were used to reach them in the beginning when they are still very young to create brand recognition at later stage. (Story & French, 2004).As a result, huge amount of money is being invested in advertising companies so as to influence choice.
Yet, marketers still believe that brand preference begins before purchase behavior does (MC Neal, 1999). This is why they focus on building brand awareness or recognition, brand preference and brand loyalty. Children¿½s brand preference appears to be related to two major factors namely; children’s positive experiences with a brand, and parents liking the brand. For this reason, marketers double their efforts in developing brand relationships with young consumers during the early childhood development stage. Marketers know that preschool children have considerable purchase power. They can successfully negotiate purchases through what marketers term the “nag factor” or “pester power” (Story & French, 2004). The food advertisers invest huge amounts of money targeting children, so as to build brand loyalty when they are toddlers and persuade them to desire a particular food product (Story &French, 2004). In 2009, the fast food industry spent more than 4.2 billion dollars- nearly half a million dollars every hour- on marketing their food to children and adults through TV, digital ,mobile, outdoor, radio advertising among other media. (Harris JL , et al, 2010)
2.3 The Fast food industry versus television adverting.
Nowadays, the fast food industry has become the main actor in the field of advertising (Hastings et al 2003, Young, Paliwoda & Crawford, 2003). Researches show that food advertising on television is being dominated by breakfast cereals, confectionary, savory snacks and soft drinks, with fast food restaurants taking up an increasing proportion of advertising on television (TV). This is because television is regarded as a combination of both audio and video features and viewers can have an idea how the product appear in 3-dimensions ( Kavitha, 2006). This is why reactions to TV ads are considered to be stronger than the reaction to print advertisements. Also, Due to low literacy rate in some countries, advertisers are more effective to use TV rather than print media (Ciochetto, 2004) as TV is a way to reach the whole population.
Food advertisements have a positive effect, particularly on children¿½s preferences, purchase behaviour and consumption. This effect does depend on other factors and operates at both a brand and category level¿½ (Hastings et al, 2003).Lewis and Hill (1998) has conducted a research and concluding that food is the most advertised product televise on teenagers¿½ television, and that, fast food, cereals, savory snacks and confectionary are the most advertised. Hence, based on that study, 60% of food adverts to children are for convenience foods, 6% for fast food outlets, and the remainder for cereals and confectionery
Further, over the last 20 years, the impact of TV advertisements on the behaviour and memory of children and adolescents is still a debatable topic in some countries.(Boddewyn, 1984). Children of all ages are responding to what they see on TV. Watching too much television can influence the behaviour of children and adolescents (Voojis and Van der Voort¿½s 1993). They do not have sufficient experience and knowledge to be able to distinguish with what is good and wrong. They simply, copy ads or anything that they watch on TV. Atkin (1981) , Galst and White (1976) have also confirmed these findings in their research and found that these children recalled and asked for those brands saw on TV while shopping to the market with their parents.
A more recent experiment by Institute of Medicine(IOM), examined that children that were exposed to TV content with food advertising were found to consumed 45 percent more food than children exposed to content with non- food advertising. (Harris JL , et al, 2010) . Barr-Anderson DJ, et al, (2009) have also agreed on the above facts. They shown that after the adolescent has been exposed to promotions of fast food, it is found they purchased fewer fruits, vegetable but increase their consumption of fast foods.
Children from 6 to 11 years of age watch advert on TV 3 hours a day which is estimated to 20,000 advertisements a year (Adler et al, 1980) and spent about $25 billion of their own money in 1998 (Geary, 1999). In South Africa, the disposal income of secondary¿½s children is approximately R4 billion per/year (Mulrooney, 1999). Another research proved that these children spent another R20 billion/ year of their parents to satisfy their needs and wants.(Koenderman, 2001). A more recent survey went further and reveled that young people consume more media than ever before, spending 7.5 hours per day online, watching TV, using mobile devices, listening to music, playing video games and reading print materials. Moreover, youths often multitask so their consumption of various media totals nearly 11 hours daily. (Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation; 2010).
For youth ages 8 to 18 , the total media exposure increased from eight hours and 33 minutes in 2004 to ten hours and 45 minutes in 2009.( Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation; 2010).
As far as fast food advertisements are concerned, in 2009, researchers estimate that children were exposed to an average of 7.6 food and beverage advertisements per hour, a decrease from 10.6 advertisements in 2005. (Harris JL , et al, 2010).Nevertheless, other studies show that exposure to fast food advertisements on TV have been increasing significantly among children and adolescents.( Kunkel D et al 2009)
Between 2003 to 2007,the exposure to fast food advertisements increased by 4.7 percent, 12.2 percent and 20.4 percent among children ages 2 to 5, 6 to 11 and 12 to 17 , respectively. But in 2009 it is observed that children ages 2 to 5 years viewed more than 21 percent fast food advertisements, children ages 6 to 11 viewed 34 percent more advertisements and teenagers ages 12 to 17 viewed 39 percent more advertisements. (Harris JL , et al, 2010)
2.4 Different reaction of children toward television advertising.
Ward et al (1972) argued that children with different age react differently to advertisement.
Age determines the effectiveness and persuasiveness of television advertisement in children. Younger children find it difficult to differentiate between TV programs and commercials. They pay more attention and respond to TV advertisements as compared to older one. (Blatt, Spencer, and Ward 1972; Robertson and Rossiter 1974; Ward, Levinson, and Wackman 1972; Ward, Reale, and Levinson 1972; Ward, Wackman, and Wartella 1977).
Robertson and Rossiter (1974) and Preston (2000) discovered a model after carrying out a non- experimental study on children and advertising. They claimed that trust, liking and the desire to buy the food advertised product depend upon the cognitive factors (e.g programme discrimination) and developmental factors ( e.g age). However, the impact of the television advertising on children¿½s preference for advertised products was proven beyond doubt (Paulos, 1975; Goldberg et al, 1978) but discerning capability of the young people with increase in age was still a debatable issue.
In a further research, Donohue et al. (1980) stated that children understand advertisements at the age of three. They are most influential when they are primary customer although Park and Young (1986) indicated that, they tend to understand at a much higher age. Kline (1995), moreover, is of the opinion that only half of the population of children by the age of five can understand the real purpose of advertising but their attitude changes together with their age. Rossiter (1977), Roedder (1981, 1999) and Moore (2004) further analyzed that children become mature when they grow up. They know that all advertisements that they see on TV is not supposed to be true.
Up till now, in a recent survey carries out in the United Kingdom for the national family and parenting institute (2004) proves that parents feel their children are ¿½bombarded¿½ by advertising to a greater range of media Platforms. They claim to be anxious and pressurized, not least because of the considerable domestic conflicts they claim that consumer demands from children result in within the family. Young (2003) in his study he concluded that a child understand the purpose of advertising from eight to nine years old and that they play a major role in families¿½ food buying. Food preferences of children are said to be established by about five years old, prior to advertising is understood. The author further argues that marketers are trying their best to advertise more of their product using television as compare to other media platforms, as television viewing is considered to be the only one that influence the eating patterns of children.
In their study, Stratton & Bromley (1999) stated through a series of interviews that, the main preoccupation of parents is to get their children to eat enough. In a certain way, parents try to adjust the food to the preferences of family members so that children can eat. But in the British families interviewed, there was a notable lack of reference to health and nutrition when talking about food choices for children. There have been many researches determinant of children¿½s diets, while schools and peers are also influential in determining preferences and habits.
2.5 Marketing Techniques used to influence Teens.
The prior literature indicated how food advertising leads to greater preferences on children¿½s choice but none of the above studies indicated what encourage them in the ads to buy and why they are more likely to choose an advertised brand than a non-advertised brand of the same product. Effective marketing techniques are used by marketers to encourage children buying the product. Familiar examples of such marketing include the use of collectable toys, games and contests, advertising and packaging featuring cartoon characters, food shaped and coloured to be especially appealing to children. According to Barry and Hansen(1973), Children are more attracted to respond to ads where the character resembled them and they get free toys with their meal. In the advertisement of McDonald¿½s foods is not advertised, they show only the toy available in the latest collecting offer to attract children and adolescents. (Dalmeny, 2003). A rigorous review by an independent committee of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) 2006 found licensed characters (e.g., Dora the Explorer, Shrek) affect children¿½s food choice. It is because; children trust the characters they are exposed to during TV program.Almost three-quarter (74 percent) of advertisements during Saturday morning TV programming used licensed characters to promote food products.(Batada et , al 2008)
Panwar and Agnihotri (2005) stated that children like TV advertisement. This means that, the element of advertisements like good music and slogans play an important role in attracting children, but most of the young people, are attracted toward some TV ads featuring celebrities, children or jingles (Dubey & Patel, 2004) It is indicated that approximately 25 percent of American commercials use celebrity endorsers (Shimp, 2000). Based on this observation, research indicates that using celebrities in ads can have a huge impact on the financial returns of those companies (Erdogan, 2001), as they bring consumer recognition and image awareness of the representing brand (Keller, 1998).
Celebrities are particularly effective endorsers as they are considered to be highly trustworthy, believable, likeable and persuasive (Freiden 1984). Although, these results clearly indicates that the use of celebrities in ads can influence buyers, other research suggests that celebrity endorsements might vary in effectiveness depending on other factors like the ¿½fit¿½ between the celebrity and the advertised product (Till and Shimp, 1998). They must have values that match with the company or the brand they are endorsing (Cimoroni, 2004).Other studies argued that there is a relationship between heroes and celebrities (North et al.,2005). Shuart (2007) agreed on the facts that athletes who meet the definition of both celebrity and sports hero, like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan would certainly influence purchasing behaviour.
Other research went further to prove that not all audiences are influenced by celebrity endorsement. For instance, Tripp et al. (1994) argued that celebrities who advertised several products are viewed as less credible endorsers as compared to those who endorse only one product.
2.6 Children as decision makers
The main reason why the marketers aimed at teens is because they have a huge influence on their parents¿½ purchasing decision and often they determine what to buy on their own. The food industry in America has shown that children between ages 5 and 14 have significant influence over $30 billion spent on food and beverages each year. This trend has been supported due to change in the traditional family structures. (Emerson, 2004)
According to Labrecque & Ricard (2001) since the early 1980¿½s the structure of the family has undergone radical transformations. First, the change includes; a decrease in family size, second women are also participated in labour force and finally, a proliferation of single-parent families and reconstituted families. All the said factors have resulted increased decision making power of children.
Guneri B, Yury O, Kaplan M.D and Delen M. (2010) in their research stated that the influence of children in the family decision making is limited to products of direct use to children. Teenager¿½s influence varies by a number of variables, including type of product, decision- making stages; peers-influence parental attitudes and characteristics of the child and the family unit. The result of the studies was published in the 1970s and 1980s making the accumulated knowledge of child purchase influence patterns heavily depended on studies conducted over two decades ago. Consequently, little attention has been given to determine how current changes in the social environment and psychological characteristics¿½ may have affected these findings (Flurry, 2007).
Another study by North, Birkenbach and Slimmon (2007) found that teenagers can influence their parents¿½ decision on four different product categories namely, minor products for the child, major products for the child, minor products for the family and major products for the family. They further discuss on by stating that children¿½s relative influence varies by product user which suggest that children tend to have greater influence involving products for their own use.
Both Karur and Singh (2006) approved the above study. They stated that adolescents have the power to influence the decision of parents in routine buying and pestering their parents to buy products desired by them. Furthermore the amount of influence exerted by adolescents varied by stage of decision making process and the product category. For certain products some children are instrumental in initiating a purchase whilst for others they make the final selection themselves. But in Hong Kong, this is not the case. As showed in the research of Wut Tai Ming Chou Ting-Jui(2009), children were found to have an influence of the choice of the product but the final decision is decided by parents.
Nowadays, in the modern family, children encounter decision¿½making at an earlier age and are taking on greater responsibilities and roles in family purchases. Today¿½s trends indicate that parents are spending more time at the workplace than with their children and they always listen to the children orders. This change in socialization in turn implies that children may have more control over their own market place decision and the freedom to exercise their preferences in purchase decision making. Recent study shows that a child¿½s influence extends far beyond what is traditionally thought to only include areas where they were primary product consumers. It has also been found that children have strong influence on non traditional areas such as home decor, automobiles and home electronics (Flurry, 2001)
Over the past 25 years, the percentage of children living in homes where both parents are working has doubled. Nearly all Children around the world are faced with an unprecedented technological environment. Due to globalization the marked pace of technological change and educational development has left many children more knowledgeable than their parents (Flurry, 2001) .With the working parents, the population of children is steadily declining but their importance as consumers is not. Apart from the direct purchases of things that children desire, they definitely influence decision making to a large extent (Blythe, 2008).
Blythe elaborates on this by giving one major reason for the increased decision making power of children. He said that, children watch more TV, so they are more influenced and more knowledgeable about products.
A study carried out by Tilley (2000) concluded that children can determine parental spending in two ways i.e., directly and indirectly. Directly, refers to the child¿½s demands. It might also refer to joint decisions where the child actively participates with other members in the family decision making process. In directly, also known as passive influence means parents are aware of the products and brands that their children prefer without having being asked or told. Children may also display indirect influences when they make suggestions on their preferred outlet
2.7 The eating Habits of children.
A study in New Zealand, Hill, Casswell, Maskill, Jones & Wyllie (1998) proved that Even if teenagers had good knowledge of what was healthy and what not, what they ate was determined by how desirable foods were. Gracey et al (1996) in their study ¿½Nutritional knowledge, beliefs and behaviours in teenage school students¿½ illustrated that one of the most important factor of enhancing and balancing eating habits is simply to increase the awareness amongst the children to control their diet; ¿½this needs to be accompanied by provision of nutrition education, and parents and schools need to be involved in making healthy foods more available¿½.
It is worth to develop good eating habits at the earlier stage of the life since if this pattern of eating habits would be continued in mature life, it is hard to change at a later stage of the life (Hill, Casswell, Maskill, Jones & Wyllie, 1998; Kelder, Perry & Klepp, 1994; Sweeting et al, 1994). Numerous studies described the fact that, those who eat with the family have healthier balance diet. As children get older, the family meals become less frequent and the frequency of those meals differ for different ethnic groups and socio economical status (Neumark& Sztainer, Hannan, Story, Croll & Perry, 2003). The influence of family eating patterns on foods consumption stays strong even after controlling for other variables such as television viewing and physical activity. Eating away from home also increases the consumption of soft drinks and fast food which is related to problems with weight (French, Lin et al, 2003).
¿½The foods we should eat least are the most advertised, while the foods we should eat most are the least advertised¿½. (Hastings et al 2003).Television are advertising those foods products which have higher level of fats, above standard calories and salt such as confectionery, soft drinks, crisps and savory snacks, fast food (Ofcom,2004) and pre-sugared breakfast cereals are included in the daily lives of the children. These type advertising, are encouraging children to eat which in turn, lead towards heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and obesity in later stage of the life
Television is suspected to be one potential contributor to childhood overweight through several possible ways. First, television viewing reduces the metabolic rates and also prevent from doing physical exercise. The sedentary nature of watching television encourages children to consume unhealthy foods. Furthermore, being exposed to fast food advertisements on television, children are more likely to develop unhealthy dietary habits in the future. Some studies have found a significant correlation between obesity prevalence and television viewing (Dietz and Gortmaker 1985; Gortmaker et al. 1996; Crespo et al. 2001; Andersen et al. 1998), but others have not (Robinson et al. 1993). The results from a random selection of school children aimed at reducing television viewing have provided strong evidence to support the role of limiting television time in the prevention of childhood obesity (Robinson 1999).Two longitudinal studies have also found the persistent effect of television viewing on body fat over time (Hancox et al. 2004; Proctor et al. 2003). Hancox et al. (2004) have indicated in his study that television viewing during younger ages is associated with an increased possibility of being overweight in early adulthood. Proctor et al. (2003) also found that pre primary school children who spent most of their time watching television had the greatest possibility of becoming overweight adolescents.
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