25 July 2008

Aww, puh-leeeeeeeeeze?

The following information is taken from Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser, from a chapter which talks about the marketing of fast food to children.

James U. McNeal, a professor of marketing at Texas A&M University, is considered America’s leading authority on marketing to children. In his book Kids as Customers (1992), McNeal provides marketers with a thorough analysis of “children’s requesting styles and appeals.” He classifies juvenile nagging tactics into seven major categories.

  1. A pleading nag is one accompanied by repetitions of words like “please” or “mom, mom, mom.”
  2. A persistent nag involves constant requests for the coveted product and may include the phrase “I’m gonna ask just one more time.”
  3. Forceful nags are extremely pushy and may include subtle threats, like “Well, then, I’ll go and ask Dad.”
  4. Demonstrative nags are the most high-risk, often characterized by full-blown tantrums in public places, breath-holding, tears, a refusal to leave the store.
  5. Sugar-coated nags promise affection in return for purchase and may rely on seemingly heartfelt declarations like “You’re the best dad in the world.”
  6. Threatening nags are youthful forms of blackmail, vows of eternal hatred and of running away if something isn’t bought.
  7. Pity nags claim the child will be heartbroken, teased, or socially stunted if the parent refuses to buy a certain item.

“All of these appeals and styles may be used in combination,” McNeal’s research has discovered, “but kids tend to stick to one or two of each that prove most effective… for their own parents.”

I don’t recall which methods I found most effective as a child.

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