The influence of model age on children's reactions to advertising stimuli

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Abstract

Two studies are reported that explore the role of age of model as a nonverbal cue in advertising directed to children. Conventional advertising wisdom holds “older is better” when casting for commercials directed to children. The purpose of the current work is to focus on the merits of this wisdom. Three different age ranges of models were paired with either toys (Study 1) or foods (Study 2). Preschoolers' attitudinal (affective, evaluative, and behavioral intent) responses to the products were measured. Study 1 (n = 36) with toys suggested support for the conventional wisdom. Study 2 (n = 36) was a replication of procedures from the first study with substitution of food items for toys. Study 2 resulted in no statistical differences at the traditional .05 level, but a trend appeared on behalf of the older- and younger-age models outperforming the same-age ones. The second study's results suggested that the nature of the product may moderate the effects of the adage, “older is better.”

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