Consumer socialisation in a marketer-sponsored edutainment centre

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International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management


© 2016, © Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate a marketer-sponsored edutainment centre as a consumer socialisation agent by examining effects on preference for the sponsor brands and the degree of socialisation children experience. Design/methodology/approach: Interviews were undertaken with 16 children in their analytical stage of development as well as one of their parents immediately prior, immediately after, and one week following a part-day visit to the heavily branded edutainment centre Kidzania. Findings: Results suggest that children did experience consumer socialisation. There was a movement in brand preferences towards the sponsored brands. The children also demonstrated advances in transaction knowledge. Specifically, significant increases were found in product and brand knowledge, shopping scripts and retail knowledge, with some children moving beyond perceptual and analytical thought and demonstrating reflective thought. In contrast, most children did not demonstrate an analytical level of advertising and persuasion knowledge. Research limitations/implications: Findings are constrained by the children’s specific experiences and the aptitude of both the children as interviewees and the parents as observers/interpreters. Although delayed measures were used this does not necessarily confirm permanency of the effects. Originality/value: This is the first study to date to examine a marketer-sponsored edutainment centre as a socialisation agent. Specifically, the study contributes to the understanding of this new, participatory form of marketing communications by demonstrating its value in achieving brand objectives while fostering the consumer socialisation of children.

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