Children’s Perception of YouTube Videos with Product Endorsements: An Exploratory Study
Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong
Research on children’s advertising literacy needs to keep pace with the emergence of different forms of marketing communication in the digital era. This paper reports on a qualitative study conducted among 30 children aged 10 to 12 to explore how children perceive and respond to YouTube videos that carry product and brand messages. Interviewees were asked to watch an unboxing YouTube video. Afterwards, they were asked about the purposes of this kind of video, similar videos they watched on YouTube, and the perceived influences of these messages on purchase decisions. Results show that interviewees varied tremendously in their understanding of the selling and persuasive intents of these messages. Some interviewees did not consider these videos to be advertisements because of their narrow way of defining advertising. Interviewees learned about brands for children as well as for adults from YouTube videos with product endorsements. They were aware of the persuasive effects of these videos on their brand knowledge and purchase behaviors. Theoretical and marketing implications of these results are discussed.
Keywords: Influencer Marketing; Advertising Literacy; Vlogger; Persuasive Knowledge; Qualitative Method