Childrens’ Well-Being


The Impact of Marketing on Children's Well-Being in a Digital Age, Special section European Journal of Marketing; Deadline 1 Jul 2015

The impact of marketing on children’s well-being in a digital age
Special Section Call for Papers from European Journal of Marketing

In 2016 the European Journal of Marketing (EJM) aims to publish a special section on the impact of marketing on children.

Submission deadline: 1 July 2015

Guest Editors:

  • Caroline Oates, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
  • Leah Watkins, University of Otago, New Zealand
  • Maree Thyne, University of Otago, New Zealand

Focus of the special section topic

The increase in digital technologies provides more opportunities for marketers to target children, contributing to a growing commercial media within which children are positioned as consumers. While our knowledge of children’s inherent limitations in understanding advertising and their unique susceptibility to commercial persuasion has been well established in prior work, there is little discussion in the academic literature around understanding the impact on children’s well-being of the various forms of new media which now permeate their lives (Clarke and Svanaes 2012).

Children tend to be regarded as sophisticated in adopting and using new media, however their cognitive limitations in recognising the distinction between editorial content and advertising persuasion renders them particularly vulnerable in this new media environment. Given the appeal of new technologies to children and the integrated and interactive nature of the commercial messages in them, it is imperative to re-consider children’s vulnerabilities in this changing environment. Important areas of research include any impact that marketing has on children’s health such as obesity or anorexia rates, their body image stereotypes, the materialistic values that they hold, their general happiness and self-concept and any links with relational aggression (Nairn 2014). Such research can be used to inform public policy, which in many countries already incorporates a protective element in relation to traditional media e.g. television (Calvert 2008) yet falls behind when it comes to newer media considerations.

Given the novelty and growth of the commercial media environment and the absence of systematic research, empirical investigation into the effect of marketing on children’s well-being should be a priority. It is proposed that this special section devoted to the above topic will identify any areas for specific concern which can be addressed now, before the unquestioned acceptance of such marketing becomes the norm in our rapidly changing media environment.

Example areas include (but are not limited to):

  • New media advertising which targets children
  • Convergence of advertising messages across different forms of media
  • Public policy and regulation of advertising aimed at children
  • Theorising children’s understanding of marketing
  • Parental mediation of advertising
  • Social media, advertising and children
  • Children and brands
  • Marketing across contexts e.g. home /school
  • Children and consumer culture
  • Advertising and the sexualisation of childhood
  • Integrated Marketing Communication strategies and children
  • Children’s media exposure and well-being
  • The ethics of advertising to children
  • Methodologies for researching with children
  • Health impacts of marketing to children
  • Stealth marketing techniques aimed at children
  • Demographic differences in children’s exposure and/or vulnerability to marketing

Submission procedure

Please follow EJM formatting guidelines (available on the journal’s web site: The manuscripts submitted to the EJM special section should be between 6,000 – 8,000 words in length (including references). Manuscripts should be submitted by 1st July 2015.

We look forward to your participation in this special section.

Guest Editors

Caroline Oates
Leah Watkins
Maree Thyne