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Hey Kids, This is Advertising: Metaphors and Promotional Appeals in Online Advertisements for Children

Communication and Information Technologies Annual

ISBN: 978-1-78350-629-3, eISBN: 978-1-78350-582-1

Publication date: 27 November 2014



Interactive media strategies and digital tools have enabled advertisers to target children with promotional offers and creative appeals.


Based on theories related to metaphors in advertisements, cognitive comprehension by children, promotional appeals, and presentation techniques, the research for this study comprised a content analysis of 1,980 online banner advertisements with reference to use of metaphors, promotional appeals, creative content, and selling techniques.


The research study concludes that online advertising to children, in contrast to traditional advertising vehicles, is characterized by (a) a vibrant visual metaphor, (b) surfeit of animated content, (c) interactive features, (d) myriad product types, and (e) creative content for a mixed audience of adults and children.


This study argues that the impact and content of the Internet as a new advertising medium are distinctly different from traditional characteristics of television and print.




The author gratefully acknowledges his debt to Dr. Laura Robinson, Dr. Shelia Cotten, and Dr. Jeremy Schulz for leading this Emerald Studies in Media and Communications book project and thanks five anonymous reviewers and Ms. Jacqueline Yvonne Borrett for their critiques to earlier versions of this research project. The author also thanks Ms. Divya Aikat and Mr. Vikram Aikat for research help and Dr. Jay Aikat for research feedback and ideas to enhance this study.


Aikat, D.‘. (2014), "Hey Kids, This is Advertising: Metaphors and Promotional Appeals in Online Advertisements for Children", Communication and Information Technologies Annual (Studies in Media and Communications, Vol. 8), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 159-194.



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