Is there an age below which marketers ought not to target commercial products? Is every person, regardless of age, a potential consumer? The market potential of young people is huge. According to one 2001 report, children's spending tripled in the 1990s. Children between the ages of 4 and 12 spent $2.2 billion in 1968, $4.2 billion in 1984, $17.1 billion in 1994, and more than $40 billion by 2002. Estimates are that direct buying by children is expected to exceed $51.8 billion by 2006. This makes young people an attractive target for marketers, and where better to target marketing than in schools? Commercials in schools occur in many forms. Products are directly advertised in a variety of formats and circumstances, including on school buses and through Channel One, a for-profit media company that produces news programming shown daily in thousands of middle and high school classrooms. Indirect advertising occurs with sponsorships of school activities and supplies. Many products are sold in and by schools and many schools participate in a variety of marketing research studies. In every case, schools provide the occasion for students to learn about some commercial product.
Problem 1. Discuss the ethics of allowing advertising in schools. Is there an appropriate age in which advertising could be considered?
Problem 2. What are the benefits and drawbacks to advertising products within schools?
Problem 3. What other facts would you need to make a decision and how might your decision affect the stakeholders?
Problem 4. Discuss alternative marketing practices which could be ethical and help the schools to raise money.
Evaluate each assumption you make within your reasoning, and identify and evaluate the evidence.