Why content marketing is dangerous for kids

Content marketing is a concept that in itself is nothing new and it was already practiced at the end of the 19th century. This is a type of advertising that is not clearly visible to the consumer. Concretely, it does not ask you to buy a product directly but comes in the form of positive, funny and pleasing content. The idea is to register in the unconscious of the targets to guide them during their future purchases.

A fragile public that is not armed to fight against these disguised ads

In an article published on The Conversation, Raffaello Rossi and and Agnes Nairn, two researchers from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, present this phenomenon. According to them, ” the combination of content marketing and social media creates something much more powerful. And when the product being sold is addictive or potentially dangerous, the impact on the most vulnerable audiences is alarming. »

Concretely, these publications are designed to generate as little cognitive engagement as possible. The idea is to produce a feeling of comfort, or to laugh at the Internet user. The authors cite the example of Aldi who offers a publication linked to Squid Game. Rather than foolishly trick consumers into buying cutlets at bargain prices, the franchise is slipping references to the Netflix series.

Thus, Internet users share this post without worrying too much about the issuer, to give the impression of being part of the group that understands the references and jokes related to South Korean fiction.

Content marketing can therefore be a problem when the product being sold carries the risk of addiction. This is particularly the case with online betting sites which often use these strategies.

The two British researchers have also conducted a very informative study on this subject. They analyzed over 888,000 Twitter gambling ads and found 40% of them to be content marketing.

They particularly target those under 25, including children who have not yet reached the legal age for playing. It is precisely this group which ” engages – likes, shares, follows – the most with gambling content marketing on Twitter. »

Scientists also explain that children are less able to recognize ads than adults. They specify on this subject: ” 17-24 year olds are more inclined to treat advertising emotionally because, as neuroscientific research confirms, their brain structure is drastically changing and the neocortex (where rational decisions are made) is in upheaval. . »

In France, this issue has become part of the public debate. UFC Que Chooser accused McDonald’s last October of using covert partnerships with child influencers to target underage audiences. This version is strongly contested by the American restaurant giant.


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