Channel is a medium through which a message is transmitted to its intended audience, such as broadcast (electronic) media or the print media. Hence a television channel refers to a television station and its programs. Advertisement (ad) is a public promotion of some product or a service. These advertisements can be given through the means like television channels, newspapers, announcements, radio, direct mail, telephone, print and internet. Most of the advertising is done by the broadcast networks. Kunkel and Gantz (1992) point out that “The topic of television advertising to children first emerged as an important public policy issue early in the 1970s”. Here we throughout this paper we will consider Lego Bricks as a product. There are many ads relating to this Lego Bricks. These are advertised on the front page of the magazines portraying children playing with LEGO with a basic set and a parts pack in foreground. There are also ads showing building of castles with Lego bricks. Some of the ads come up with the logo “Kids build Lego. Lego builds kids”.
The motto of LEGO is “Only the best is good enough” which was formulated by its founder Ole Krik Kristiansen (LEGO, 2010). Their determination is to give best and fun experience to children. Lego Bricks helps in improving the skills like creative problem solving, teamwork, motor skills and creativity (LEGO, 2010). But this is not confined only to children. In this developing and technological world we need best employers, best business partners and best suppliers which can be also be accomplished by using these Lego Bricks. For example we can build some prototype models before starting a real time project. According to analysis about five percent of the LEGO sales are from the adults who buy the bricks for themselves and not as gifts for their children. Although maximum number of Lego Brick users is children but they are not at all confined to them alone. And thus this product is designed for all irrespective of their age groups.
Advertisements (ads) in the television channels are broadcasted in between the programs. And most of the children’s ads come in the kids channels. On a whole there are about sixty four (64) categories of products. There are nearly 10,000 advertisements for each of these categories (Kunkel & Gantz, 1992). For an easy analysis these are reduced to top 4 categories. Category 1 which includes variety of toys, board games, mind games, activity related games and computer games for various age groups. Category 2 includes Cereals and breakfasts which are various varieties of cereal bars, flakes, waffles, syrups etc. Category 3 are Sugared Snacks/ drinks which include sweet candies, biscuits, chocolates, sodas, energy drinks, cookies and various other sugar drinks. Category 4 on the other hand is fast foods which are unhealthy yet most liked take off restaurant foods.
Now coming back to our product Lego Bricks, these come under the first category of toys. The Lego product that succeeded till date is Lego Star Wars. About 314 various mini figures are produced for these series (LEGO, 2010).
A theme or an appeal is assigned to each and every advertisement (ad) for the promotional description of the strategy. According to the studies, as a whole there are about 20 appeals/ themes (Kunkel & Gantz, 1992). The top four appeals are described include Appeal 1 which relies on the fun or the happiness to promote the desired product and this avoids significant product description. Appeal 2: Taste/Flavor/Smell which includes the appeals such as yummy, chocolaty, delicious etc, Appeal 3 emphasizes on the main features of the product and its capability and Appeal 4 is Product in social context. This appeal gives much importance to the surrounding situations than the actual product itself.
Fun/Happiness appeal appears in this Lego Bricks advertisement. Here there is not much and literally nothing to describe the product. It is only a set of bricks through which children have fun and feel happy.
When people are more exposed to the advertisements they start to get more information related to disclaimers. There is no standard or proper format for generating the disclaimers. There are one or two disclaimers for a product that is advertised on television (Kunkel & Gantz, 1992). For the mobile toy bricks with parts included to have some movement, sometimes there is a need to change the battery. In this case a disclaimer is needed. The children of very young age are only given the basic Lego Bricks to play and there is no need for them to understand the disclaimer. A child who knows to play with Lego Bricks associated with some motion will obviously have some knowledge to change the batteries when required. So, according to the type of the product the disclaimer varies.
A 5 year old child and 10 year old child see the product advertisements in different perspectives. The product which is produced some years back will not remain the same today. By reviewing the older products, the manufacturers implement new features in the products that need to be upgraded. So there will be some differences in the developmental theory of the products produced. A five year old child product and a ten year old child product will definitely have the variations both in performance wise and look wise (Moore, 2004). Advertisement shown on television channel attracts a 5 year old child to use these bricks to have fun and entertainment. This age group children view these advertisements in line with the ongoing television programs. Whereas as a 10 year old child tries to do something better with these bricks and they start to improve their skill set. The child of this age group slowly understands the intent of the advertisement.
Children have poor memory than the adults and they do not grasp/understand the product advertisements more quickly (Moore, 2004). So they need to be exposed to these advertisements repeatedly. But research has shown that additional exposure to the advertisements increases the comprehension levels in children. To recall all the information and to understand the product completely repeated advertising is required. This has the positive impact on children to improve their recalling skills.
Pediatricians and Psychologists relate that activities through Lego bricks enhance imaginative development of children through a realm of imaginations. Childhood is regarded to be early phase where children begin to inculcate thoughts from the surrounding atmosphere. In this line, the Lego bricks are educational toys which are open source of learning and allow skills of imaginations in early age which act as seeds to reap harvest when they grow old (Resnick et al., 1996). The skills as future scientists, writers and planners would initiate in this activity through play and fun.
The advertisement further enhances to build relationship between siblings and parents through appreciation, communication and encouragement. The positive impact of advert is both on the children and parents. Children associate themselves with older and younger siblings to draw the lines of creativity and imagination. On the other hand, parents get an opportunity to encourage children as they try to foster their skills of imagination in play to build up (Resnick et al., 1996).
Lego bricks have been successful in drawing the attention of consumers by great skills of marketing with a new advert on every product and construct they introduce. Their adverts when observed focus more on constructing active brain in children through means of play. Brain of children grows though constant learning and the pediatric experts believe that Lego bricks are one such tool in the environment which sparks development of brain through observation, imagination and learning (Moore, 2004).
Kunkel, Dale & Gantz, Walter (1992). Children’s Television Advertising in the Multichannel Environment. Journal of communication. 42(3) pg 134.
LEGO Annual Magazine (2010). The Brick. Retrieved from http://cache.lego.com/downloads/aboutus/TheBrick2009GB.pdf
Moore, E. S. (2004). Children and the changing world of advertising. Journal of Business Ethics, 52(2), 161-167.
Resnick, M., Martin, F., Sargent, R., & Silverman, B. (1996). Programmable bricks: Toys to think with. IBM Systems journal, 35(3.4), 443-452.