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Is Television advertising the right channel to promote targeting children in rural China?

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ContentsContents........................................................................................................................2 Introduction...................................................................................................................3 Hypothesis....................................................................................................................3 Literature Review..........................................................................................................3 Importance of Chinese Children Market..............................................................3 Television and Chinese Children..........................................................................4 Media and childrens consumer socialization.....................................................4 Challenges to Television advertisements in rural China...................................5 Methodology.................................................................................................................5 Findings........................................................................................................................6 Discussion and Analysis...............................................................................................8 Limitations and Conclusion...........................................................................................9 References..................................................................................................................11 Appendix 1..................................................................................................................13 Appendix 2..................................................................................................................16

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IntroductionChina is the third-largest advertising market in the world, after only the USA and Japan. In the year 2006, there were 262 million children under age 15 in China with approximately 40 percent urban and 60 percent rural. (Chan, 2008) Hence the majority of the children in modern China live in rural areas. Therefore there is a need for studying the influence of television advertising in their lives and the following paper would look into whether television advertising is the right communication tool to reach to the masses of rural children in China. Recently, China has been shifting the focus of its proactive fiscal policy from stimulating investment to strengthening low-income earners purchasing power. It reflects the governments goal of relying more on domestic consumption in maintaining stable economic growth. (Chan, 2008) This makes my investigation into the lucrative rural children market a critical area to look at for advertisers. Knowledge about childrens perceptions of advertising and brands are important to marketers and policy markers. Most of the research literature on advertising and children is based on research conducted in Western societies, and there are very few comparable studies about China. (Chan, 2008) Hence there is a need for research in this area.

HypothesisThere are two areas when we want to study the effectiveness of television advertising to communicate amongst the children in rural China, firstly the availability and reach of the television as a medium for communication and secondly, the perception of television advertisements amongst the children in rural China. Hence in the following sections of the paper I would be looking into aspects which justify the following hypothesis: Television advertising is the best choice for communication to reach out to rural Chinese children

Literature ReviewImportance of Chinese Children MarketChina, the country with the largest population of children in the world, adopted a Single-Child Policy in 1979 and it is the current rule in urban China (Zhang and Yang, 1992). These only children have a substantial amount of their own money to spend and exert a great influence on their household spending (McNeal and Yeh, 1997). The children have enormous market potential, since they have their own 3

money to spend. They also determine perhaps 67 percent of their parents spending, and they have all of their purchases ahead of them (McNeal and Yeh, 1997). Two most important reasons to study media usage of children in rural China are: First, owing to the social and economic reforms are leading to a rapid increase in household incomes and demand for products and services in China (Batra, 1997). Second, Chinas enormous population and growth in consumer demand are resulting in several new market segments with distinctive profiles including its children (Schmitt, 1999).

Television and Chinese ChildrenThe fast development of television broadcasting has been most notable. The household penetration rate for television in 2002 was 99.5%. Television has become the major medium in China. Television audience reached 1.1 billion in 2003. (Chan & McNeal, 2004). China has more than 3,000 channels and hundreds of markets, most of them based in small cities with limited audiences. There are also 1,800 radio stations, more than 1,000 newspapers, some 7,000 magazines, and numerous internet portals (Simons, 2003). Regional variations are found in China and different dialects are spoken in different regions. All advertisements also have to deal with state censors and have to be approved by the official China Advertising Association, with regulations varying according to region. For instance, the use of the terms the best or No. 1 is allowed in advertising in Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou, but may not in some provinces (Simons, 2003).

Media and childrens consumer socializationThe process of learning about products, their brands, and the retail outlets where they can be bought is called consumer socialization (Ward, 1974). This is of utmost importance in studying any medium of communication, in this case the television. The extent to which the consumer socialisation is affected by television advertisement is a major factor to justify my hypothesis. Theory says that children learn consumer behaviour patterns from parents first and foremost, but also from other socialization agents; namely, peers, schools, stores, media, and the products themselves and their packages (Moschis 1987). Medias influence on children is mainly due to two dimensions advertising and editorial/programming content (OGuinn & Shrum 1997) with advertising specifically intended to inform young consumers about products and encourage their purchase. Advertising media have probably received more attention in the research literature than any other consumer socialization agent (Moschis, 1987).

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Another factor that makes media important as influencers is their ubiquity. They are everywhere in the home, in the childs room, at school, on the computer, on the way to school, in the car, on the bus. Finally, the amount of interaction with the media appears to be positively related to learning consumer behaviour. That is, the more that children interact with the mass media, the more consumer socialization takes place (Moschis & Churchill 1978).

Challenges to Television advertisements in rural ChinaHowever there are some strong challenges to advertising over the television, some of which are highlighted below: Although television is the best platform to reach a large amount of people in the fastest way, the cost of a television commercial is still expensive for many advertisers (Yanlin, 2004) especially in a big country like China. It is not easy to attract consumers in China. Shoppers in China are also spoiled for choice, especially in the first-tier cities of Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai, where in most consumer categories they have at least 20 brands to choose from. In the rural areas the choice is less. Advertisements from Western marketers that target children are beginning to appear, but still constitute only a small portion of the money spent by advertisers to reach children. In the past, there was always a choice between using global or local appeal in advertising for multinationals. However in recent times, foreign brands are losing their appeal as Chinese brands become more attractive

(Zhou and Belk, 2004).

MethodologyMy research in this paper is based on data collected through surveys and other means by other researchers in the past for academic works related to mass media in rural and urban children of China. For the purpose of this academic work we would take into account the rural statistics and sample. Details of the data used are provided in the Appendices. As it is completely based on secondary data and therefore has a lot of limitations which are highlighted below and this paper only provides a broad overview on the way to justify the selected hypothesis.

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FindingsIn a survey conducted by Chan & McNeal in 2003, showed that television played a central part in the rural Chinese families. Television ownership reached nearly 100 percent while the penetration of all other broadcast media was less than 50 percent. Nearly all children reported that they watched television in the past month. (Chan & McNeal, 2006) Even families in remote parts of China experience television advertising as a new form of cultural authority in instilling the idea that consumption leads to a happy childhood (Jing, 2000). Advertisements tend to be more prevalent in broadcast media. There is usually a 15second commercial before and after each radio program and each television program that targets children. These ads are directed at parents and children, and those to children in around 88 percent of cases, present messages about foods and beverages, such as Wahaha, a Chinese soft drink, while the remainder consists of messa

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