Cognition of advertisements, peer endorsement and tweens' propensity to consume.
Tweens are a new cohort of children who are not considered children, but have not developed into fully autonomous teenagers (Hulan, 2007: 31). Tweens are regarded as the “richest generation of children” (Lindstrom, 2004: 175). Their high disposable income and ability to influence consumption through endorsement makes tweens a potentially profitable niche market. In order to formulate an effective marketing campaign, marketing managers need to be aware of children’s advertising literacy, as well as the effect which peer endorsement has on consumption. Consequently, to determine the impact of these variables, a questionnaire was administered to 574 respondents and an empirical correlation experiment was conducted involving 202 participants. The primary research objective was to determine tweens advertising literacy at different ages and the concurrent affect which it had on their propensity to consume; advertising literacy is described by Priya, Baisya and Sharma (2010: 154) as the extent to which children are aware that advertisements have a selling intent, are persuasive, and are intrinsically biased. The effect which endorsement had on consumption was also assessed. Data was analysed utilising SPSS (Statistics Package for Social Sciences). Key findings were graphically represented, and compared to literature with a focus on Piaget’s Hierarchy of Cognitive development and Roedder’s information processing model (Roedder, 1981: 145; Piaget, 1960: 135). The research established that there was a strong positive correlation between advertising literacy and age. The research showed that this cognizance had a concurrent negative effect on tweens propensity to consume and consequently advertising literacy had a negative correlation with propensity to consume. The research also determined the extent which endorsement influenced consumption. In accordance with Childers and Rao (1993: 464) the degree of conspicuousness during consumption was assessed. The research established that respondents were more inclined to consume an endorsed product which had higher conspicuousness during consumption (i.e. a public good) than a good with lower consumption conspicuousness (i.e. a private good). Similarly, endorsed luxury goods exhibited a higher consumption propensity than necessity goods. The research also determined that the reference group construct affected the extent to which endorsement influenced consumption; familial endorsement had a stronger effect on consumption than peer endorsement. From these key findings, recommendations for South African managers were provided. The report culminated with recommendations for future research.