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Chinese children's perceptions of advertising and brands: an urban rural comparison

Kara Chan (Department of Communication Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 21 March 2008




The purpose of this paper is to examine how perceptions of truthfulness of television advertising and perceptions of brands vary among urban and rural children in Mainland China and also to collect information about the basis of judgment children used to determine whether commercials are true.


Descriptive statistics were compiled to give the perceptions of television advertising and brands of the overall sample, as well as the urban and rural sub‐samples. Chi‐square tests and independent sample t‐tests were conducted to examine the urban‐rural difference in perceptions of television advertising and brands. The sample was divided into two groups that were of similar size (age six to nine and age ten‐15). Chi‐square tests were conducted to examine the age difference in advertising perceptions.


The urban‐rural difference in consumer perceptions of advertising and brands indicates that children's development in consumer socialization depends on the environment. Urban respondents were more skeptical towards advertising than rural children. Urban and rural children shared two similarities: older children were less likely to perceive television commercials truthful than younger children. Younger children liked television commercials more than older children.

Research limitations/implications

The three surveyed urban cities were highly advanced in terms of their economies and advertising development compared with all other Chinese cities. The seven surveyed rural counties cannot be generalized to the very poor rural provinces in China.

Practical implications

The study should serve as an advertising guideline for marketers and advertisers that target urban and rural children in China.


This paper offers insights for employing different advertising message strategies to disseminate market information to urban as well as rural children in China.



Chan, K. (2008), "Chinese children's perceptions of advertising and brands: an urban rural comparison", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 74-84.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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