To what extent are children being influenced? Learn more from a study conducted with Portuguese children. Researcher: Luisa Agante
Sponsoring is a global phenomenon in today’s world and it is difficult to find an event without some sort of sponsoring activity. Most companies worldwide are spending more and more on this marketing technique, being especially efficient in the case of children. Professor Luísa Agante and masters student Isabel Simões conducted a study with 344 Portuguese children aged 7-11. Their research main findings pertain to proving the effectiveness of event sponsoring on changing brand’s image or to increasing the purchase intention of the product.
However, the use of marketing activities in children is considered ethical only if the child is capable of identifying the marketing activity as commercial and understands its persuasive intent. This research also concluded that children this age are not capable of understanding the final aim of the sponsor.
Among the findings:
• Event sponsoring seems to be more effective in changing the brand image of non-familiar brands, and therefore can be an interesting tool for new brands to enter the market and position themselves in the minds of consumers.
• Researchers also found that it is more effective in boosting the purchase intention for low involvement products, and therefore on obtaining short-term results on sales. In the case of high involvement products it has better results on changing brand image.
Co-author Luísa Agante comments:
Our findings suggest that this technique is very effective for brands under certain circumstances. However, we also highlight the importance of the ethical implications to using event sponsoring.
In fact, although most of the children (68,5%) identified the brand as the source of the sponsoring, only a few of them (12,4%) were aware of the persuasive intent of the brand. Moreover, the vast majority (66,5%) selected the option ‘go to the concert’ as the correct answer, which reveals the belief that the companies’ objective is to support the event.
Thus we strongly recommend that companies only use this technique for products that can contribute to the child’s well being, such as healthy food products or educational toys, and we also recommend the introduction of a stronger legislation in this type of marketing activities.
This article is based on the paper ‘The impact of event sponsorship on Portuguese children’s brand image and purchase intentions: the moderator effects of product involvement and brand familiarity’ authored by Isabel Simões (former masters student at Nova SBE) and Luísa Agante (Adjunct Assistant Professor at Nova SBE) and published in the August 2014 issue of the International Journal of Advertising.