Children Hate Ads But Love Product Placements

New research evaluates how media impacts children; they see youtube celebrities as friends

Fernanda Wenzel
Porto Alegre

Francisco Machado Quevedo, 11, barely arrives home from school and already asks to watch Youtube. He spends two hours every day watching videos, especially about gaming. The small Porto Alegre resident dreams of becoming a Youtube celebrity and had once his own channel in the platform.

His mother, Ana Paula Machado, supported his aspirations. "I encouraged, filmed, edited, helped him along the way," she says.

Francisco wish is the same as many of the 40 children interviewed by Maria Clara Monteiro in her doctorate research at UFRGS (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul).

The goal was to assess how children related to advertisements on Youtube. She found out something that Francisco has known for ages: they hate the ads placed before or during the videos. "I skip them all," the boy says.

Ana Paula Machado watches Youtube videos together with her son Francisco, 11
Ana Paula Machado watches Youtube videos together with her son Francisco, 11 - Folhapress/Marcos Nagelstein

But the same solemnly ignored toy from the pre-roll ad is a lot more interesting when presented by a Youtube star, during a regular video.

"Children watch these Youtubers daily, they think of them as friends. So it's like someone close to them recommending something cool," says the researcher.

The interviews were done with boys and girls from 8 to 12 years of age in two stages. The first happened during three Youtuber events that gathered hundreds of fans in Porto Alegre.

The second happened in two public schools in the same city. This time, the children selected to be part of the study showed their favorite Youtube channels while Monteiro interviewed them.

Translated by NATASHA MADOV

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