preschools are new advertising area


With nearly 4 million youngsters attending some sort of organized child care in the US the potential market is too great to pass up. Standard art supplies, blocks, trucks and dolls are being supplemented with Milton Bradley and Care Bears worksheets, Purell hand-cleaning activities, and Pizza Hut reading programs. Not to mention Oscar Mayer songs.

Paul Kurnit, president of KidShop, predicts the preschool market will grow largely because "the current generation of parents are voracious to know and learn everything to do that's right for their kids." And many parents will see this kind of program and think the school has endorsed it so the product must be good.

Susan Linn, a Harvard psychologist who co-founded the national coalition Stop Commercial Exploitation of Children said to the holland sentinel "Preschoolers are so much more susceptible to advertising because young children tend to believe everything they see. They can't distinguish easily between commercials and TV programs; they can't distinguish persuasive intent."
Besides teachers don't need corporate sponsors to show kids good hand-washing techniques: "All you need is a sink and water for kids to process good health habits. Kids love to play with soap and bubbles."

related stories: Washingtonpost: Nurturing Brand Loyalty

Dressed as pieces of bologna, ham and cheese, Maryland 3rd graders sing corporate jingle and dance in Oscar Meyer contest...for school equipment money.

MSNBC: Companies woo preschoolers

Holland Sentinel : Preschools the newest forum for advertising.

about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

Comments (4)

  • blabla's picture

    The old Bill Hicks joke was about men/women like Paul Kurnit.

    "If you work in advertising.. Kill yourself. Kill yourself now. I'm not joking."

    your motherland, dab, is pushing for bans on advertising aimed at children in all of the EU. Interesting article at

    "The Swedish laws and regulations that limit advertising aimed at children are the subject of great debate, particularly in the European Union (EU). The last time regulations governing advertising to children were debated hotly in the union was during Sweden

    Oct 19, 2003
  • Dabitch's picture

    yes I know.. Sweden has always been against ads aimed at children. Ads targeted to kids don't bother me as much as ads/sponsorships sneaking into schools and preschools - this is icky beyond!
    In school, kids shall sit and pay attention - and that attention we manage to squeeze out of a 6 year old should be used to teach them valuable knowledge such as spelling etc. To use this attention area to hammer home an Oscay Mayer song is just wrong. Thats all.

    anyone else have an opinion?

    Oct 21, 2003
  • AnonymousCoward's picture
    AnonymousCoward (not verified)

    When I was teenager, they introduced televisions into the classrooms and had somesort of programming pumped in from a private network. I do remember being slightly violated by the "This has been brought to you by.." message. It's not that I enjoy berating advertisers, I just feel everything has its time and place. And the classroom is not a place where clothiers can push their "uniforms"

    Oct 22, 2003
  • Sedate Me's picture
    Sedate Me (not verified)

    I completely agree with Bill Hicks. If you're in advertising, kill yourself.

    Like any invasive species, advertising keeps growing until it chokes out everything else. The never ending ad-creep is dangerous to everything, including advertising itself (the sheer volume of advertising makes it almost impossible for any one ad to get through). Unless advertising is actively resisted and laws are passed, it will continue to spread until marketing to fetuses becomes a multi-billion dollar industry.

    Imagine a world where products rose or sank based upon their quality & worth and not upon the lies & manipulations used to sell them.

    Jul 12, 2011

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