By Pam Hanley, etc.
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Extra resources for CopyCat Kids?: The Influence of Television Advertising on Children and Teenagers
This advertisement was familiar to many children through recognition of the popular football star. However, the execution was generally unappealing being described as boring because it was black and white, drab, very long and slow. Older teenagers picked up on the slur on education, but considered it acceptable as Alan Shearer was already a proven success, though not academically. Parents and many of the other adults recognised that it was a long-winded treatment unlikely to appeal to children, and few were concerned about its influence: “I think by the time they actually … you know, ‘I wasn’t much interested at school’ they would have turned it over, cos it was so boring …’” LEISURE WORKERS But some, in the leisure workers group in particular, were worried about the implied denigration of school and felt it encouraged anti-school attitudes, especially as a celebrity was involved: “The MacDonald’s one where you’re having Shearer saying, ‘I wasn’t much interested at school’, you know, he’s basically promoting that if you want to be a footballer, just forget about school … “Alan Shearer says it’s all right not bothering to go to school ...
LEISURE WORKERS COPYCAT KIDS? 44 SCALEXTRIC In a maternity ward, a new father is seen holding a baby boy and enthusing about the prospect of having Scalextric racing cars to play with. His bubble is burst when a nurse tells him to give that baby back to its family and pay attention to his own new baby daughter. Few made many comments about this advertisement. Some respondents identified the element of sexism, but it was thought to be largely inoffensive and uninteresting to children. There were a few professionals for whom the risk of endorsing sexism remained an issue, even though they realised it was being joked about.
But overall, most had limited engagement with it. They felt no empathy for the main character ‘Ray Gardner’ (the office environment did not appeal and he was described as a “disgusting man”). The storyline was based on aggression, and was not seen as humorous or funny. Older teenagers also picked up on the racism. For younger respondents, it was too long and boring. Several adults considered the advertisement too long-winded and subtle in humour to engage a child’s attention sufficiently to identify or even understand the ‘subversive’ messages it contained: “… Stupid … “I don’t think they’d understand that … “No and it was just boring … “I think it went on too long as well …” LEISURE WORKERS 41 COPYCAT KIDS?
CopyCat Kids?: The Influence of Television Advertising on Children and Teenagers by Pam Hanley, etc.