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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Young Consumers, Volume 10, Issue 3
Welcome to the third issue of Young Consumers for 2009. I want to lead in with a description of a practitioner paper, largely because as they are usually left until the end of my editorial one might get the impression that they do not matter. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Paul Kurnit is an internationally renowned marketing, advertising and entertainment expert and contributes some valuable insights. His article on kids today gives a unique perspective from one of the most successful and longstanding practitioners in the business and is the lead article in our Executive Insight section. We also have our regular column on legal regulations on advertising and marketing to children with a look at the situation in Canada.
Turning now to the academic papers, we have our usual international mix of research drawn from the varied traditions of enquiry that characterize consumption practices of children and youth. There are two papers that look at intra-familial research. Ruppal Sharma and Pinaki Dasgupta have provided us with an interesting model that takes the literature on children’s influence within families (including ideas such as “pester power”) and develops it into a planning framework suitable for marketing to children. Examples are drawn both from India and the international brand scene and it is a good example of how practitioner interests can be informed by academic research. Last quarter’s excellent edition on young consumers in China has not yet exhausted the market for papers from this emerging economy and Tao Sun tells us about parental mediation of children’s TV viewing in both rural and urban locations in that vast country. Parental mediation plays a vital role in how much TV the child sees and also how he or she understands it. Urban parents do restrict their children’s viewing more than rural children and also instruct them more.
Goods and services are not consumed solely for functional reasons and we have a couple of papers that look at aspects of symbolic consumption in youth. Kazim Develioglu and his colleagues in Turkey are interested in conspicuous consumption, mediated by status seeking, and look at one of the most ubiquitous examples – cell phones for young people. This research is again valuable for both practitioners and academics and also timely given negotiations between Turkey and the EU. We have another paper on status consumption from Ian Phau and Edith Cheung in Australia. This time the brands are known as diffusion brands – where the quality and status associated with the original brand can diffuse down to a cheaper sub-brand targeted at the youth market for example. Another example of research that has value for practitioners as well as academics, especially in these times of recession when consumption patterns become more thrifty and frugal.
Dwane Dean looked at video game playing in college students in the US. He took a measure of his participants’ ability to visualize spatially – to imagine how objects might look after rotation. Although this ability was significantly correlated with videogame interest, causality could not be inferred as both variables were influenced by gender. This interesting paper sets the stage for future programs of research on the involvement of young consumers in video games. Pascale Ezan and Joelle Lazier are interested in how children develop their aesthetic sensibilities and have written a novel paper on the subject using qualitative techniques. This French research also has a valuable theoretical grounding.
Finally Jenniina Halkoaho and Pirjo Laaksonen have done a qualitative analysis of the features and styles of the letters that British children wrote to Santa Claus. Appropriately these authors come from Finland where, of course, that icon of Christmas lives. Their conclusions might shatter a few myths however as they conclude that “… for children Christmas seems to be a rather unspiritual festival involving having things rather than about dreams coming true”. Read and enjoy!