Major mistakes when advertising to kids

kids watching If you have children, you are probably already well aware the impact that advertising can have on them. How many times have you heard them say that they want a specific toy, meal, or place to visit after hearing about it on TV in an ad? Nowadays, kids are even more influenced by ads because many have frequent access to smartphones and tablets, where they are introduced to online ads. This is a market that many advertisers are starting to explore. However, when serving ads to kids, there are some serious mistakes that can be very harmful to your business. Listed below are 5 no-no’s that you must avoid when advertising to kids.

Inappropriate content

If you are going to be running ads on a site catered to kids, you must ensure that the ads being shown are appropriate for the target audience. The last thing you need are ads for casinos or some other forms of adult content that are not suitable for the little ones. The content really needs to be G-rated in order to be considered appropriate, as even pushing it to PG-13 can run the risk of being inappropriate to a portion of the audience. Screening the ads carefully is therefore a very important task.

No educational benefit

One thing that advertisers might forget when they have kids as the target audience is that it will not be the little ones who make the final decision on the purchase. That task will often fall to the parents as the important gate keeper. They will more than likely want to see what the ad and the product are all about before they pull the trigger on the purchase. A fun ad or product will appeal to kids, but if it has zero educational benefit, parents will likely veto the purchase. Thus, it important to provide values and benefits to both the parents and the kids.

Social responsibility

There are times when the thing you are advertising seems fine, but which may actually not be that great of an idea. The perfect example are foods and snacks that are certainly tasty to kids, but which are packed full of sugar and totally unhealthy. Yes, kids will snap these up with their allowance money, but at what cost? Misleading tag lines and wasteful packaging might feel like no harm but it should be avoided. Be ethical and social responsible with your ads and your products to kids.


Speaking of allowance money, parents will often try to teach their kids the value of a dollar by telling them that if they want something so badly, they need to buy it with their savings. While this is certainly a fine parenting skill, it’s one that can backfire on an advertiser if they are selling products that are well out of the price range of what the average kid has in his/her piggy bank.

Privacy issues

There are still a lot of people out there who are uncomfortable with sharing their personal data online, so just imagine how they will feel if they come across a site that is asking their kids for a whole lot of personal information. Asking kids for a ton of personal data is going to throw up a lot of red flags with the parents, so it’s best that you keep that stuff to the bare minimum or legally required fields.


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