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A Theory of Advertising to Children 10

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Why Online Marketing - Advertising 2Peers as Moderators of the Influence of Advertising on Children

Peers also serve as socialization agents and therefore are potential moderators of certain of the relations previously mentioned. In general, peers are a source of both positive and negative influence on children, particularly during adolescence (Mangleburg, Doney, & Bristol, 2004). For example, regarding the positive influences of peers on adolescents’ interactions with the marketplace, Mangleburg & Bristol (1998) found that adolescents’ susceptibility to various forms of peer influence is related to their skepticism of advertising. That is, adolescents’ susceptibility to “normative peer influence” (attempts at gaining approval from peers for consumption decisions) is negatively related to advertising skepticism while adolescents’ susceptibility to informational peer influence (obtaining information from peers regarding consumption decisions) is positively related to their skepticism of advertising (Mangleburg & Bristol, 1998).


Peers also appear to be a source for shopping information which then also contributes to teens’ level of persuasion knowledge (Mangleburg & Bristol, 1998). Teen friends may serve as shopping or “purchase pals” (Mangleburg et al., 2004) and therefore function as a source for assistance during purchase decisions made at retail outlets. Moschis and Churchill (1978) found that adolescents’ communication about consumption with their friends is positively correlated with the adolescents’ social motivations for consuming (i.e., consumption for conspicuous purposes) as well as their own materialistic tendencies. In addition, Moschis and Churchill (1978) found that adolescents’ communication with peers was related to social motivations for watching television programs and advertising. Thus, we expect that peers will also function in a moderation capacity.

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EG7: Peer influence will moderate the relation between children’s understanding of advertising and children’s age.

EG8: Peer influence will moderate the relation between children’s attitudes toward advertising and children’s age.

By Russell N. Laczniak and Les Carlson

Source: “Advertising Theory,” Ed. Shelly Rodgers and Esther Thorson, Routledge, New York, 2012

Les Carlson holds the Gold Distinguished Professorship at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is Past President of the American Academy of Advertising and former editor of Journal of Advertising. He received the AAA outstanding contribution to research and Kim Rotzoll Awards.

Russell N. Laczniak is Professor of marketing and John and connie Stafford Faculty Fellow at iowa State university. He was editor of Journal of Advertising and is Past President and treasurer of the American Academy of Advertising.

Republished by Why Online Marketing


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