Children and Persuasive Advertising: Drawing the Line between Peripheral and Informative TV Commercials

  •  Gennadi Gevorgyan    
  •  Naira Manucharova    


With a goal of revealing the unique vulnerability of children in the face of advertisers’ targeting efforts, we revisit the philosophical and legal frameworks underlying the regulation of commercial speech that targets children. In doing so, we reexamine the rationale behind the constitutional protection of advertising within the context of children's information processing patterns and the manipulative nature of persuasive speech. We argue that some of the fundamental assumptions that underlie the protection of commercial speech lack validity when applied to children surrounded by today’s technologically advanced marketplace. We further argue that in regulating persuasive advertising, government should be given more leeway than it currently has under the Central Hudson test. Moreover, we believe that targeting children with persuasive messages should be proscribed on the grounds of being misleading under the Federal Trade Commission’s standard for deceptive commercial speech.

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