Research Proposal: The effect of Advertising on children in West Midlands, UK. 2000 words degree level






The effect of Advertising on children in West Midlands, UK.


TABLE OF CONTENTS                                                                            PAGES



2.1 The Nature of the Problem… 4

2.2 The Research Questions. 5

2.3 The Research Objectives. 5

2..4 Sub-objectives. 5

2.5 information needs. 6


3.1 Secondary Data. 7

3.2 Primary Data. 7

3.3 Interviewing Procedures. 7

3.4 Sample Selection. 8

3.5 Sample Size. 8

3.6 Questionnaire Design. 9

3.7 Approach to Data analysis. 9

3.8 Validity and reliability. 10

3.9 Limitation of the Design. 10


Appendix 1. 12

Sample Questionnaire. 12





















Advertising is a form of communication whose purpose is to inform potential customers about the products and services and how to obtain and use them. This can be done through television, radio, movies, magazines, newspapers, video games, and internet as well as on the billboards. Recently, advertising targeted on children has become a big issue especially those advertisements which has negative impact on children in different age groups. This was immoral behaviour back in 1750 and it was punished by death if a trader did not obtain authorized legislation, but in 2001, advertising to children has become trade (Strasburger, 2001:1).

Children represent a valuable demographic to marketers because they have their own purchasing power, they do influence their parents in making “buying decisions”. Many people believe that advertisements have a negative and positive effect on children’s health as well as the well being. The school of thought in favour is based on the belief that children need to be encouraged to decode information they are exposed to (Jackson, 2003). But the ‘ethical’ argument suggests that children below eight years old are unable to decode advertising intent and are therefore vulnerable to improper manipulation by marketers. Also knowing that advertising appeals to our emotions not our intellect (Wilcox et al 2004) and adults can make rational distinction between the two, it is widely assumed that children can not do this.

Children are not only as primary consumers but also as influencers of secondary consumption. Here the theory of conspicuous and the subsequent rise of consumerism will be applied to understand the influence of advertising on children and in particular the creation of ‘ pester power’. Pester power can take on a number of forms depending on the age and sophistication of the child. Although it has been argued that marketers are aiming to plant a seed of recognition within the mind of a child of a child in the hope that the initial brand awareness will be create a life long-long relationship between the consumer and the brand (Klein 1999).

From commercial perspective, marketing to children is a profitable business activity, although certain pressure groups have argued that this manipulation of children at such a young and influential age is wrong. The questions are; is it necessary to ban all advertisements to children???

Is advertising to children harmful or exploitative??

How can a child learn about advertising??

And lastly what is wrong with advertisers trying to influence how children spend their money and their parent’s money?

So this research will provide an answer to the above questions.



2.1 The Nature of the Problem

Children have their own purchasing power of influencing their parent’s buying decisions, but the fact is that this phenomenon was not significant to be given consideration until the late 20th century when it was found that through parent/child relationship in Western societies, marketers have got a loophole so sell their products to children. Based on this, it has been the opinion that this problem if remain undressed will lead to false needs and encourages the nature of consumerism to the children.

So the above information has lead to the identification of the following research problem:

 The effect of advertising to children in West Midlands, UK


2.2 The Research Questions

-What are advertisements?

What is the effect of advertisements?

What impact does advertisements has on children?

What is the correlation between advertisements products and their purchasing to the children?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of advertisements?


2.3 The Research Objectives

To critically analyse the concepts and theories of advertisements.

To look on the implication of advertisements in children

To look at risk involved in advertisements on children


2.4 Sub-objectives

-The advantages and disadvantages of advertising to children

How can a teacher/parents or government be a primary consumer educator


2.5 information needs

In order to answer the research questions, there is a need to have information about advertising particularly in children. This will be found in advertising standards in UK, commercial alerts, journals of adverting, research on market to children etc

There is also need to have information on how children have influenced their parents to spend money unwillingly.



Research design is a framework for conducting the research project, it enables researcher together useful and valid data for the issue in question (Hussey, J & Hussey, R 1997, p.114). Here research ethics should be considered as well at this stage; well (1994:284) defines ethics in terms of a code of behaviour appropriate to academics and the conduct of research. Research design also details the procedures necessary for obtaining the information needed to structure or solve the research objectives


Data Collection Methods

Data can be obtained from primary sources as well as secondary sources.


3.1 Secondary Data

Secondary data can be obtained from several sources including books and periodicals, government publications of economic indicators, census data, statistical abstracts, data base, the media, annual reports of companies, financial databases and others (Sekaran 2003). In this report, I will use several secondary data sources such as articles in journals and research reports, books, electronic databases, and internet documents.


3.2 Primary Data

Primary data can be obtained by using three main data collection methods in survey research; interviewing, administering questionnaires as well as observing people. In this research I will use questionnaires to collect the information of advertising to children. The sample of questionnaire is included in Appendix 1.  During the process of data collection the ethical issues will be taken into consideration during the research; the permission will be taken from the respondents as well as confidentiality will be taken into special care.


3.3 Interviewing Procedures

Interviews are an attractive proposition for the project researcher. They involve a set of assumptions and understandings about the situation which are not normally associated with a casual conversation (Denscombe M, 2003).

This research will be using structured interviews where a standard format of interview will be set with an emphasis on fixed response categories and systematic sampling procedures combined with quantitative measures and statistical methods. An advantage of structured interview lies in the uniformity in the behaviour of interviewers.


3.4 Sample Selection

A sample is a small part selected from a large population of goods or people. The sample is a replica of the bigger part from which it was taken.

In this research, I will use stratified sampling because I will chose people with children or have responsibility over the children as well as the children themselves.


3.5 Sample Size

Sekaran (2003) defines sampling as the process of selecting a sufficient number of elements from the population, so that a study of the sample and an understanding of its characteristics would make it possible for the researcher to generalize such characteristics to the population elements.

Due to lack of time and resources, sample size for this purpose of this study would be250 to 350 children, parents and carers. These people will be randomly picked around different areas of Midlands. These targeted groups (Parents and careers) are relevant for this research since they have to make the purchasing decision for their children as well as the children themselves who are the influencer.


3.6 Questionnaire Design

According to saunder (2000), questionnaire is defined as a general term to include all techniques of data collection in which each person is asked to respond to the same set of questions in a predetermined order. It consists of written list of questions where by interviewer physically meet respondents and asks the question face to face.

A questionnaire will be constructed by looking at the specific type of information required and to whom this questionnaire is to be sent and how to be answered.

With this research, there will be multiple choices questions, simple and short in order to encourage the respondents to return them fully completed. (Ghauri P 2002)


3.7 Approach to Data analysis

Data collected from the surveys will be analyzed and presented to generate the objectives of this research. The descriptive statistics   methods will be used to analyze and present data derived from the surveys using questionnaires. Analysis will be done using Statistical Packaged for Social Science (SPSS), and from here the theories will be generated.

Generating a theory from the data means that most hypothesis and concepts not only come from the data, but are systematically worked out in relation to the data during the course of the research. (Denscombe, 2003 pg 111)


3.8 Validity and reliability

Validity is the extent to which both research data and methods used to obtain data are accurate, honest and on target and cover matters in questions. Reliability is when research instruments produce the same results when applied in several occasions, (Denscombe, M. 2007)

To ensure the validity of the data the test-retest method and split half method will be used to check the data if they produce similar results. On ensuring reliability, check questions will be used which will deliberately be placed within a questionnaire to see whether people responses are the same to a very similar question. (Denscombe M, 2007).


3.9 Limitation of the Design

Although this research will provide useful information for understanding the effect of advertising on children, there are some limitations of this research as follow;

Due to time constrain, all the questionnaire can not be collected beyond the respond the respondent rate in time. So the number of questionnaire might have an impact on the final results of this research.

Unequal weighting of age of the respondents, in this case there will be children and adults involved. So unequally distribution of age might have an affect of this research.



The time table below shows the timeline for the major tasks of the study

Month    Target


21st AprilReview of Literature8  Days
30th AprilDraft Literature review14 Days
15th MayReview research methods literature and agree research objectives and get formal access for collection of primary data/begin to write draft project25 Days
10th JuneFinish the Questionnaires deliver them to 350 respondents across the West Midlands34 Days
15 JulyFinish Background and Literature review 4 days
20th JulyFinish Research  Methodology11 Days
1st AugustCollection of questionnaires and analysis of data, finish analysis9 Days
10th AugustFinal Writing of project report24 Days
5th SeptemberSubmission of report




Appendix 1

Sample Questionnaire

Title: The influence of adverting in children in UK

Dear Sir or Madam:

Please be informed that I am a student of Birmingham City University. I am currently conducting a study to investigate the influence of advertising on Children in UK, to fulfil the requirement for my Master of Business Administration Degree. Therefore, your opinion and cooperation in answering the enclosed questionnaire will contribute towards the completion of this research. Your response will be kept strictly confidential.

Thank you for your time and cooperation.

Yours sincerely,

Jackline Jema Ntinanigwa

Birmingham City University.

Section A


Please tick (   ) that corresponds to your response.

  1. Sex:
  2. a) Male (b) Female
  3. Marital status:

(a) Single (b) Married (c) Divorce (d) Widow

  1. Highest Education Qualification:

(a) Primary/Secondary School (b)  Diploma  (c) Degree (d) Master  (e)  PHD

  1. Annual Income:

(a) Below £10,000 (b) £10,000 – £ 15,000

(c)  £15,000- 20,000 (d) Above 20,000

Section B

Please circle the number that best represents your choice.

  1. has buying behaviour increase with the increase of disposable income in the family?




DisagreeNeutralAgreeStrongly Agree


  1. Although it is important to see advertisements, how important is it to you? (Rate in order of importance. 4 being most important, 1 being least.)


Please tick (   ) that corresponds to your response

  1. How often do your children buy advertised items/products?

(a) Weekly (b) Monthly (c) Yearly

  1. What factors would you consider when buying a product to your child?

(a) Seen being advertised (b) Financial situation (c) Fear of being nagged

  1. How often do you go for shopping??

(a) Every day (b) Weekly (c) Monthly

10 What area of the market do you think Adverting should aim at?

(a)Adults (b) Children (c) Both

  1. How much are you willing to pay for the advertised products/Items?

Thank you again for your participation






















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