Barrie Gunter
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Branding potential of online social media
in Kids and branding in a digital world
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The 21st century has witnessed the rapid rise of online social media. At the forefront of these developments have been popular sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Young adults and then children adopted these sites first before moving on to other even newer and more fashionable locations such as Instagram, SnapChat and others once their parents made the initial social media less trendy places to hang out. Marketing professionals have not been slow to recognise the popularity of these platforms with children and the centrality they have in young people’s lives. Marketers have quickly adopted these sites as branding locations and have even gone as far as developing their own sites. The use of online social media to promote brands to children has raised concerns about whether they are necessarily aware of the marketing use of these sites when in their outward appearance they seem like other social media sites. This chapter examines the way brands have co-opted social media technologies for branding purposes. Sometimes this activity takes the form of brands utilising established independent social media sites and on other occasions brand owners have created their own social media sites. Evidence is reviewed about how these sites can influence children’s brand awareness and opinions and even their brand choices.

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