Annotated Bibliography: Ethical Issues in Marketing to Children 

  1. Cheyne, A. D., Dorfman, L., Bukofzer, E., & Harris, J. L. (2013). Marketing sugary cereals to children in the digital age: a content analysis of 17 child-targeted websites. Journal of health communication, 18(5), 563-582.

This article is based on findings from analyzing 17 websites that use different strategies to engage children and influence them to buy cereals with high sugar that may not be good for the health of these children. The authors has analyzed the role of marketing campaign run on the websites of cereals. These cereals companies have developed websites keeping child psychology in mind and designing graphics according to it. The authors have drawn the inference that these marketing strategies work. This article is important to my research because the focus of my research is to find the different strategies by internet marketers to influence children to buy food product or any other products that may not be good for their health and which is against corporate ethics.

  1. Harris, J. L., & Graff, S. K. (2011). Protecting children from harmful food marketing: options for local government to make a difference. Prev Chronic Dis, 8(5), A92.

This article has based the research on finding out the ways governments can make a difference in saving children from marketing of calorie-dense food. Companies may take advantage of the children vulnerability to persuasive messages according to the findings of the article research. These companies market junk food which contributes to the obesity epidemic. The marketers also target children in the local communities with billboards etc. This article would help in my research in finding out the ways to prevent children from unethical marketing efforts targeting these children with different strategies.

  1. Harris, J. L., Schwartz, M. B., & Brownell, K. D. (2010). Marketing foods to children and adolescents: licensed characters and other promotions on packaged foods in the Public health nutrition, 13(03), 409-417.

This article collects data on how marketer use cross-promotion on product packaging. The article is specific to food products in large supermarkets but in my research I will relate this research to marketing to children on the packages of all the products that are for children. The researchers practically visited the supermarkets and collected packaging with cross promotion messages between 2006 and 2008. The research suggest that cross promotion strategies may have contributed to a deteriorating status of food market and industries need to self-regulate.

  1. McGinnis, J. M., Gootman, J. A., & Kraak, V. I. (Eds.). (2006). Food marketing to children and youth: threat or opportunity?. National Academies Press.

This research is focused on finding out the ethical response of different companies to marketing to children and youth. The research suggests that the companies have missed an opportunity to represent a positive face to children with the help of meaningful marketing. Instead, the research suggests that marketing to children and youth has become more of a threat to them. This article would contribute to my research in a way that I will be able to find out the negative implications of unethical marketing to children.

  1. Milne, G. R. (2000). Privacy and ethical issues in database/interactive marketing and public policy: A research framework and overview of the special issue. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 19(1), 1-6.

This article is not specific to marketing to children. But still I am able to relate it to my research by looking at the broader issues touched by this research that could be faced by consumers of all ages. The research is focused on how companies might violate the consumer’s privacy with their database/interactive marketing. These companies might not have the permission to market in a certain way to certain consumers but still they do. This may also be the case in marketing to children where their privacy may be compromised willingly or unwillingly.

  1. Monaghan, S., Derevensky, J., & Sklar, A. (2008). Impact of gambling advertisements and marketing on children and adolescents: Policy recommendations to minimize harm. Journal of gambling issues, 252-274.

This is an important research in my opinion. Gambling advertisement is not targeted at children but their presence around a place where gambling advertisement is going on is also not a healthy practice. The increasing involvement of children and adolescents in gambling practices is a concern and it needs to be addressed by targeting the ways these children learn about gambling according to the researcher of the article. The research paper has analyzed gambling promotion by sports sponsorships, celebrity endorsements, internet and electronic media advertisement. This article will help me in understanding the impacts of indirect advertisement on children social habits.

  1. Jill Austin, M., & Lynn Reed, M. (1999). Targeting children online: Internet advertising ethics issues. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 16(6), 590-602.

Children or all ages are engaged in online activities. This has been termed as an opportunity by marketers and hence they target children with different online marketing strategies. This research paper has focused on the ethical boundaries these marketers cross when they are marketing to children. The article also discusses different governmental regulation like Federal Trade Commission regulations and guidelines developed by Direct Marketing Association that regulate marketing to children. The article will be helpful in understanding different forms of online marketing targeted at children and how they are regularized by the legal and ethical authorities.


This research article explains the marketing ethics in general and specifically to children. The research has studied different forms of marketing targeting children and the ethical lapses that are present there. The researchers suggest different reasons that could be causing the unethical advertising behavior of marketers including an effort to enhance consumer materialism, lack of sincerity and raising sales. The research further suggests that these marketer create unrealistic expectations in the minds of the consumers and then pose themselves with the solutions to meet these expectations. This article would help us in unethical advertisement and the mental processes these advertisement target to influence children.