Children and “branded” media literacy

Costa, C. (2011). Children and “branded” media literacy. Zagreb conference: "New challenges and methodological innovations in European media audience research". 7-9 April 2011.

Abstract: The discovery of children as an important market segment is not a new thing but the last two decades showed an unprecedented growing of commercial brand strategies at an earlier childhood stage. In the 50’s (1950) children used to be targeted by commercial companies as “consumers”, and adults as decision makers and buyers. More recently children become to be considered as “buyers” and “influencers” of adults and peers decision making. Several studies show evidences that TV and online spaces (Internet) are the most important media in children everyday life. Furthermore, new subliminal forms of marketing content, such as immersed advertisements in online communities aimed to children are a factor of branded content engagement without precedents. Two emergent trends in contemporary society, such as, the continuous search for markets and the growing efficiency of the global distributing of brand content online, contribute to the easy targeting of children. But, there is no evidence of European policies (in practice) for the regulation of the massive branded online content distribution. To develop or adopt methodologies in order to improve the design and evaluation of media literacy programs is in the best interest of what kind of society we aim to be. This paper presents the results of a “media literacy” program designed specifically to children of the 4th grade of a private elementary school . First the concept of “new” literacies is discussed. Second the complete program and evaluation is presented as it has been designed. Finally the partial results of that initiative with focus on brand literacy will be presented.