Marketing genius: the impact of educational claims and cues on parents' reactions to infant/toddler DVDs.
In October of 2011 the American Academy of Pediatrics reissued their policy statement discouraging screen media use with children younger than age two (AAP 2011). In their statement, the AAP states "Although infant/toddler programming might be entertaining, it should not be marketed as or presumed by parents to be educational" (AAP 2011, 4). Yet, survey research indicates that many parents do believe these products to be of educational value for young children, and that this belief is associated with higher rates of viewing among their babies and toddlers (Rideout and Hamel 2006; Vandewater et al. 2007; Zimmerman, Christakis, and Meltzoff 2007a). Many researchers, clinicians, and child advocates have grown concerned by the extent of daily viewing among babies and toddlers, which is over 2 hours on average among children three years old and younger (2.23 hours) (Vaala, Bleakley, and Jordan 2013).
The Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC) filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the spring of 2006, alleging that two media production companies were marketing baby media products to parents under false pretenses (CCFC 2006). The complaint named Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby as the offending companies. These production companies, relative giants in their field, each produce many "educational" media products designed for use with infants and toddlers. The CCFC contended that claims made by producers in reference to their products indicate that the videos can educate very young children, though such claims are devoid of any publicly available empirical support. In fact, organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and US Department of Health and Human Services advocate no television or video viewing among children under the age of two years (AAP 2011; USDHHS 2010). Hence, according to the CCFC, the companies producing these media should face legal consequences for misleading consumers.
Notably, this issue extends beyond these two baby media production companies. In a 2010 content analysis of 58 commercially available DVDs for infants and toddlers, Fenstermacher and colleagues found that each DVD carried an average of nearly 12 different statements implying educational benefits on packaging and associated websites and marketing materials. These statements ranged considerably in the extent to which they specified particular, measurable learning outcomes associated with viewing the video (e.g., learn "vocabulary vs. language skills"), as well as the extent to which statements used particular, measurable behavioral learning verbs (e.g., "learn" vocabulary vs. "promote" vocabulary development) (Fenstermacher et al. 2010).
Following the complaints made by CCFC, Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby changed the claims associated with their products on websites and DVD packaging. Instead of using words that conveyed verifiable behavioral learning verbs and outcomes in their claims (e.g., this product will teach your child), the production companies switched to more indeterminate wording in their claims (e.g., this product will inspire learning in your child; this product will introduce your child to educational content). It seems these alterations appeased the regulators at the FTC, as they ruled in December of 2007 that the marketing practices used by Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby did not unduly prey on unwitting parents. From the FTC's letter to CCFC:
The substantiation required for claims about specific educational or cognitive development benefits that children will receive from using a particular product, however, differs from that required for claims that merely describe the product's content. The latter type of claims--e.g., claims that the product "exposes" or "introduces" children to particular content--are unlikely, by themselves, to convey an educational or developmental benefit claim that would require reliable scientific substantiation. (Engle 2007a, 2)
Notably, the FTC's ruling does not cite any research on how parents respond to different claims on infant/toddler DVD packaging, nor has any known research of this type been conducted to date. As such, the assertion that the latter type of claim is not problematic should be empirically tested. Of further concern is the possibility that certain parents might be particularly vulnerable to vague educational claims on DVD packaging. In particular, parents who have a stronger focus on pursuing possible rewards in the face of uncertainty (i.e., "promotion-focused") may be more likely to interpret vague educational cues as implying learning benefits for their children, and thus may be more likely to buy DVDs carrying such claims, compared to parents who are more vigilant in uncertain contexts (i.e., "prevention focused"). Evaluating the influence of educational marketing cues on parents' reactions to infant/toddler DVDs is particularly important in light of the vast number of infant/toddler media products that contain these features (Fenstermacher et al. 2010; Garrison and Christakis 2005).
Given the timely, weighty, and currently unresolved questions regarding how parents evaluate educational cues associated with infant/toddler media, this study examines the extent to which factors regarding the educational cues on DVD packaging and factors of consumers themselves impact parents' reactions to DVDs produced for infants and toddlers. Using an experimental design with a national sample of parents with infants and toddlers, researchers created packaging for a "new" infant/toddler DVD for parents to evaluate. By altering certain elements of the packaging, the present research sought to determine whether parents evaluate products more favorably if the claim offers specific educational behavioral verbs and learning outcomes compared to more ambiguous statements. Further, this study investigates whether parents evaluate products more favorably if the brand name suggests significant intellectual or educational gains for their child compared to a brand name that does not. Finally, this research examines the extent to which certain parents (i.e., promotion-focused) may be more persuaded by each of these educational cues than others.
KEY FACTORS OF INTEREST
Factors of the Product
Specificity of Claims
While no known empirical research has examined parents' interpretations of varying educational cues on infant/toddler DVD packaging, it is clear that educational claims used on these products range in the specificity of both the stated extent of learning and the specificity of skills or knowledge that will be learned from viewing (Fenstermacher et al. 2010; Garrison and Christakis 2005). For example, statements on the original Baby Da Vinci video included, "Your child will learn to identify her different body parts, and also discover each of her five senses." In contrast, this claim was altered to the less definite statement: "Encourages baby to identify their eyes, ears, hands, feet and more. Exposes little ones to words in English, Spanish and French." While such softening of educational claims by baby media producers seems to have appeased the FTC (Engle 2007a), it is not clear that parents would in fact interpret more ambiguous educational statements differently from more explicitly worded educational claims. (1)
Although research has not directly investigated parents' reactions to these different types of claims, broader literature regarding consumers' processing of advertising claims can offer some insights. This body of work indicates that there may not be differences in consumers' interpretations of claims ranging in specificity. Consumers often interpret vague and ambiguous claims about products--even those which are illogical--to be true (Andrews, Netemeyer, and Burton 1998; Maronick and Andrews 1999; Oliver 1979). In one study, participants' ratings of the environmental safety of aerosol products with vague, unverifiable claims (i.e., "environmentally friendly") did not differ from the ratings of those who saw more specific claims (i.e., "No CFCs") (Maronick and Andrews 1999). Thus, less definite claims, as defined by the FTC, are potentially just as misleading to parents as those which state a definitive outcome.
From a cognitive standpoint, such findings likely reflect the fact that "people naturally and typically make inferences that go beyond the material directly present in the text" (Harris et al. 1993, 83). For example, if a marketing statement says, "Exposes little ones to Spanish," parents may go beyond that statement to draw the conclusion that their children will learn Spanish, even though that conclusion is not directly stated. Also disconcerting are findings that indicate that consumers' positive attitudes resulting from vague claims can persist despite nonconfirmatory, unfavorable experiences with the product (Oliver 1979). Thus, when parents form inferences from vague claims that baby DVDs are educational, these reactions can have long-lasting impact on their beliefs and behavior, regardless of the actual nature of the DVD.
In fact, existing literature suggests that parents of young children may be particularly likely to interpret ambiguous statements on infant/toddler DVDs as definitive educational claims, as these products are most personally relevant to them, as is the realm of early childhood education more generally. Available research suggests that consumers for whom a product and/or implied outcomes in claims are more personally relevant are particularly motivated to process ambiguous claims as more definitive statements (Johar 1995; Kardes 1988). One experiment conducted by Kardes and colleagues (1994) tested the influence of prior knowledge about a product class (CD players) and claim specificity (implicit or explicit) on participants' beliefs about a CD player as well as their confidence in those beliefs. They found no differences in participants' beliefs derived from the implicit and explicit claims among those with low prior knowledge or high prior knowledge about CD players. However, those with low prior knowledge about CD players put greater confidence in their beliefs drawn from explicitly worded claims, though participants with high prior knowledge about CD players had equivalent confidence in beliefs drawn from implicit and explicit claims. It is reasonable to expect that personal relevance would operate in much the same fashion, as prior knowledge about a product class likely reflects personal relevance to a great extent (i.e., those for whom a product is most relevant will seek out more information). The authors reasoned that knowledgeable consumers were more motivated than unknowledgeable consumers to draw definitive inferences from implicit claims, while those with less knowledge do not make the cognitive effort to draw a definitive conclusion from an implicit statement (Kardes, Kim, and Lim 1994). Similarly, consumers for whom a product is personally relevant should be more motivated to draw definitive conclusions from vague marketing claims (see also Kardes 1988).
Furthermore, the desirability of the inferred outcome--children's learning--may prompt parents to interpret vague claims as definitive claims of educational value. Consumers often exhibit biased processing of preference-consistent information, while parsing preference-inconsistent information more carefully; a concept known as "motivated reasoning" (Ditto and Lopez 1992; Jain and Maheswaran 2000). For example, Jain and Maheswaran (2000) found that participants in an experiment were less likely to generate counterarguments and more likely to generate supportive cognitions about product information consistent with their prior preferences for that product--regardless of whether the information contained strong or weak arguments, compared to those who encountered information inconsistent with their preferences. Furthermore, participants recalled less of the information presented about the product when that information was inconsistent with their prior preference. Together, the findings indicate that consumers are "motivated to respond to preference-consistent (vs. preference-inconsistent) information less analytically because it is consistent with their evaluative-cognitive structure" (Jain and Maheswaran 2000, 358).
On the basis of these findings it seems that parents with young children may be particularly likely to process even ambiguous educational cues as suggesting educational benefit from infant/toddler DVDs, since these products suggest intellectual benefit for their children--a subject that is both attractive and of high personal relevance to them. As noted by Thomas (2007), parents are extremely eager to provide their children with educational experiences when they are young, in the hopes that these experiences will pay dividends in the future. Educational videos offer these precise types of experiences at little apparent cost to either the parent or the child. For example, in a national survey of parents with young children, respondents were eight times more likely to believe that educational videos, like Baby Einstein, were important for a child's intellectual development than to believe that these videos were unimportant (Rideout, Vandewater, and Wartella 2003). In another survey of parents with young children, the vast majority of respondents (94%) did not know that a panel of experts (the AAP) advised against exposing children under two to screen media (Rideout 2004). It seems then that many parents perceive baby videos as providing great rewards with minimal risk.
Considering these findings from consumer research and what is known about parents' perceptions of infant/toddler video products, it is reasonable to expect that parents will not distinguish between explicit and ambiguous educational cues on infant/toddler DVD packaging. In this study we were interested in possible differences based on the specificity of the learning verb used in educational cues, as well as the specificity of the learning outcome. We propose the following hypotheses:
Hypothesis 1a: There will be no difference in the perceived educational value of the DVD among participants who view DVD packaging with a specific learning verb (i.e., "teaches") compared to those who view packaging with an ambiguous learning verb (i.e., "inspires").
Hypothesis 1b: There will be no difference in the desire to purchase the DVD among participants who view DVD packaging with a specific learning verb (i.e., "teaches") compared to those who view packaging with an ambiguous learning verb (i.e., "inspires").
Hypothesis 2a: There will be no difference in perceptions of the educational value of the DVD among participants who view DVD packaging with a specific learning outcome (i.e., "letter identification and 20 vocabulary words") compared to those who view packaging with an ambiguous learning verb (i.e., "verbal exploration and symbolic language concepts").
Hypothesis 2b: There will be no difference in the desire to purchase the DVD among participants who view DVD packaging with a specific learning outcome (i.e., "letter identification and 20 vocabulary words") compared to those who view packaging with an ambiguous learning verb (i.e., "verbal exploration and symbolic language concepts").
Many infant/toddler DVDs also convey educational cues through their titles alone (e.g., Brainy Baby, Baby Einstein). Logically, it is reasonable to expect that brand names with such powerful references to intellect and brain development might have an impact on consumers (Garrison and Christakis 2005). Yet, perhaps because this connection between brand name and product qualities is so intuitive, there have been very few empirical tests of the relationship between brand name and preference toward the product (Bao, Shao, and Rivers 2008). The studies that have investigated the influence of brand names on product preference show a clear pattern: the more a brand name connotes beneficial attributes of the product's content, the more likely consumers are to purchase the product (Bao, Shao, and Rivers 2008; Lutz and Lutz 1977; Mehrabian and de Wetter 1987). Furthermore, the more positive a brand name's connotation is the more likely a consumer is to purchase the product (Bao, Shao, and Rivers 2008; Mehrabian and de Wetter 1987). For example, participants in one study preferred a fictional health care organization with a name that had a positive connotation (i.e., Kindred) compared to one with a more neutral name (i.e., Merritan). As such, we expect that a stronger educational cue in the brand name of an infant/toddler DVD will result in higher perceptions of educational value and purchase intentions among parents.
Hypothesis 3a: Participants who view the DVD with a strong educational cue in the title (i.e., "Lil Genius") will rate videos to be more educational than those who view the DVD packaging with no educational cue in the title (i.e., "Lil Munchkins").
Hypothesis 3b: Participants who view the DVD with a strong educational cue in the title (i.e., "Lil Genius") will have a higher intent to purchase the DVD than those who view the DVD packaging with no educational cue in the title (i.e., "Lil Munchkins").
Factor of the Parent
Promotion Focus Orientation
One personality dimension that may impact parents' reactions to marketing features on infant/toddler DVDs is their chronic regulatory focus orientation. This dimension, studied frequently in health and consumer behavior research, is predicated on the premise that an individual has two distinct internal self-regulation systems for satisfying different classes of goals that arise (Higgins 1997; Higgins et al. 2001). One class of goals includes those pertaining to the individual's growth, reward, and nurturance needs. The promotion self-regulation system works to satisfy these types of goals by spurring the individual to pursue his or her desires (Camacho, Higgins, and Luger 2003). The second class includes goals regarding protection, safety, and security. A person's prevention self-regulation system is activated to fulfill security needs by prompting him or her to perform obligations and responsibilities (Camacho et al. 2003).
Studies have found that while prevention and promotion self-regulation systems exist within each individual and can be activated situationally based on the needs and goals that arise at a given time, individuals also have a chronic orientation toward a particular focus. Specifically, some individuals have a greater sensitivity and motivation to pursue the possibility of rewards (i.e., "promotion" regulatory focus orientation). These individuals are generally more eager to pursue possible desirable outcomes, even when the certainty of obtaining those rewards is unknown. Conversely, other people are more driven to avoid failures or negative outcomes. In the face of uncertain outcomes, these "prevention focused" people are generally more likely to be more cautious and on-guard against erring and encountering undesirable results, and thus tend to pursue outcomes that have a low perceived risk of unfavorable results (Camacho et al. 2003).
Additional research has shown that message-wording often interacts with regulatory focus to influence individuals' responses. "Gain-framed" messages present information in terms of the probability that some action will result in favorable outcomes or rewards (e.g., that watching a video will boost a child's brain development). Conversely, messages that are "loss-framed" pitch persuasive information in terms of the likelihood of avoiding undesirable outcomes or failures (e.g., that watching a video will keep a child from missing out on brain development opportunities). Studies regarding the "regulatory fit" between individuals' personalities and message frames have found that those with a chronic promotion focus are more readily persuaded by information presented in a gain-framed message due to the "fit" between their tendency to seek out positive outcomes and the frame of the message (e.g., Florack and Scarabis 2006; Lee and Aaker 2004; Yi and Baumgartner 2009). Conversely, individuals who have a prevention-oriented regulatory focus experience "fit" with loss-framed messages because these messages correspond with their inclination to act to avoid undesirable outcomes.
For example, Lee and Aaker (2004) found that a gain-framed claim for grape juice (i.e., the juice may "lead to higher energy levels") was more effective among promotion-focused participants, while a loss-framed claim (i.e., the juice may "reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease") was more persuasive among prevention-focused participants. Similarly, a series of experiments by Pham and Avnet (2004) indicated that those with a promotion focus orientation formed more positive beliefs about products with positive affective qualities but weak substantive claims, compared to those who were more prevention focused. The authors reasoned that consumers that are more motivated to pursue desirable rewards have thoughts about their "ideals" or goals that are more accessible in their minds, causing these people to be persuaded by their subjective affective experience of the product, rather than by the objective substantive information available.
On the basis of the evidence of varying "fit" between promotion regulatory focus orientation and gained-frame messages and the greater accessibility of ideals in the minds of promotion-focused consumers, parents' "promotion" regulatory focus orientation likely impacts their beliefs about the value of television and videos for young children. Specifically, those who have primarily a promotion focus should experience greater "fit" with gain-framed marketing messages about infant/toddler TV/video use and have more accessible thoughts of the "ideals" addressed in those messages. Thus, they should be more likely than those who are not promotion-focused to be persuaded by them. In this study, we expect promotion-focused parents to be more readily persuaded by both direct and ambiguous educational cues (i.e., in claim statements; brand names) on infant/toddler DVDs given the gain-frame of these cues.
Hypothesis 4a: Parents with a high promotion focus will rate the DVD as more educational for children, compared to less promotion-oriented parents, across claim specificity and product title conditions.
Hypothesis 4b: Parents with a high promotion focus will have a higher intention to purchase the DVD, compared to less promotion-oriented parents, across claim specificity and product title conditions.
Lastly, while there is little available research to support hypotheses regarding potential interactions between any of our manipulations, analyses will also examine whether combinations of these manipulations will generate differential assessments of the product's educational value and purchase intentions among parents.
The present study was a survey experiment consisting of a 2 (Claim specificity: teaches, inspires) x 2 (Learning outcome: "letter identification and 20 vocabulary words," "verbal exploration and symbolic language concepts") x 2 (Brand name: Lil' Munchkin, Lil' Genius) x 2 (Promotion focus: high, low) between-subjects design.
The experiment was conducted in partnership with Time Sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences (TESS), a research project funded by the National Science Foundation. Researchers submit research proposals to TESS, which then undergo peer review. Successful proposals are fielded as survey experiments conducted with national samples provided by GfK (formerly Knowledge Networks) a polling/research firm specializing in consumer research, media research, and public policy polling with over 17,000 potential research participants. The TESS survey experiments are embedded within several other surveys that are released to GfK participants a few times per month (the other surveys conducted by GfK might explore political polling or market research). Unless approved by the researchers, GfK does not field surveys that are connected in any significant way to the subject matter contained in the survey experiment. (2)
A total of 831 parents/legal guardians participated in this experiment. Of the sample, there were more women (N = 458, 55.1%) than men (N = 373, 44.9%). Participants ranged in age from 18 to 70 years of age (M = 31.4, SD = 7.35), and were from predominantly middle class households (median household income = $50,000-$59,999) and White/Non-Hispanic (68.7%) households. Lastly, participants had an average of 14.5 years of education (approximately an Associate's degree; SD = 2.60) and came from households consisting of 4.2 people on average (SD = 1.44).
Participants were first asked if they were the parent or legal guardian to a child under the age of 36 months. Participants who answered in the affirmative were then directed on to the main study. Participants were then told that their opinions were being sought about a new video for infants and toddlers. They were informed that this product was designed for use with children aged birth to three, and they were being asked to evaluate the video for use with their own child who was under the age of three.
After randomly assigning participants to a condition, parents were shown an image of the DVD packaging (created specifically for this study). The front and back DVD covers served as the experimental manipulation. Designed to resemble other popular videos intended for use with very young children, the DVD cover was professionally produced by a graphic designer and pre-tested with parents to ensure that the DVD covers looked realistic and matched other baby videos available for purchase. The DVD was titled "A-B-C Safari" and featured a cartoon lion and giraffe on the front cover, along with some colorful block letters. The back cover included a short description about the video and included an image of a monkey and picture of children. Except for the experimental manipulations (claim verb, learning outcome and brand name; described below), the images shown to participants were identical and contained no other educational cues (see Figure 1 for one example of the experimental stimuli). Parents were asked to evaluate the product for its potential educational benefit for young children and then were asked if they would be interested in buying it for their own child (see "dependent measures" below). (3)
Once finished evaluating the product, participants filled out a brief survey that addressed their opinions about educational media, the extent of their promotion focus orientation, and ownership of infant/toddler DVDs for their own children's use.
Claim Verb Specificity
The written claims displayed on the back DVD cover were modeled off of a collection of claims obtained through searching product websites for popular educational products (e.g., Baby Einstein, Brainy Baby, Leap Frog). In this study, each participant viewed a DVD cover containing a claim with either (1) an explicit learning verb, or (2) an ambiguous learning verb. The verbs used in the manipulations were (1) "teach"--which suggested an explicit outcome and (2) "inspire"--which suggested an ambiguous outcome. These verbs were chosen based on their popularity on baby media packaging and websites and the ease with which they could be interchangeably used in the larger claim statement.
Claim Learning Outcome
We also examined the learning outcomes referenced in claims on existing infant/toddler media packaging. On the basis of the results of this review of claims, we chose outcomes for the present that were (1) empirically verifiable (i.e., specific) and (2) unverifiable (i.e., ambiguous). Half of the participants viewed a DVD containing the following learning outcome: "letter identification and 20 vocabulary words" (i.e., specific outcome). The other half viewed a DVD cover on which the learning outcome was "verbal exploration and symbolic language concepts" (i.e., ambiguous outcome). The phrasing for the ambiguous outcome was chosen for two reasons. First, we wanted to match the number of words found in the specific outcome. Second, we wanted to use phrasing that sounded educational but was sufficiently vague so as not to refer to any identifiable educational construct.
The brand names used on the front covers of the DVD were also modeled after existing brand names used for infant and toddler media products, though none of the names used for this manipulation were currently in use by other media products. (4) Again, there were two between-subjects conditions: (1) a brand name containing an educational cue, and (2) a brand name not containing an educational cue. For half of the participants the DVD brand name was "LiF Genius" (i.e., contains educational cue), while for the other half the brand name was "Lil' Munchkin" (i.e., no educational cue).
Participants filled out a 5-item subscale from the Behavioral Inhibition System/Behavioral Activation System (BIS/BAS) questionnaire (Carver and White 1994). Specifically, the subscale was the BAS "Reward Responsiveness Subscale" ([alpha] = .84), and included questions like, "When I'm doing well at something I love to keep at it," and, "When I get something I want, I feel excited and energized." Responses to questions were recorded on a 4-point Likert scale (1 = very untrue for me, 4 = very true for me; M = 3.46, SD = 0.49). (5) Participants were then split into two groups with either high promotion focus (M = 3.86; SD = 0.16) or low promotion focus (M = 3.05; SD = 0.36) based on a median split.
Perceived Educational Value
Respondents were asked two questions regarding the product's perceived educational value for infants and toddlers: "How likely do you think it is that a child (under the age of three) would learn from watching our video?," "How likely is it that watching this video will help children (under the age of three) develop language skills?" (r = .66). Their responses to these questions were recorded on a 5-point Likert scale (1 = very unlikely, 5 = very likely) and then averaged together to form a "perceived educational value of product" scale (1 = very unlikely, 5 = very likely, M = 3.71, SD = 0.90).
Parents were asked how likely it is that they would purchase this product for their child if it were available to them. We also reminded the parent that this product was intended for use with children from the age of birth to three. Their responses to this item were recorded on a 5-point Likert scale (1 = very unlikely, 5 = very likely; M = 3.15, SD = 1.21; see Table 1 for means and standard deviations for all dependent variables).
Previous Experience with Videos
Parents were asked how many videos/DVDs directed for use with infants/toddlers they owned (e.g., Baby Einstein, Brainy Baby; 1 = none, 2 = 1-3 videos, 3 = 4-6 videos, 4 = 7-9 videos, 5 = 10-12 videos, 6 = 13+ videos; M = 2.44, 577 = 1.36). In total, 73.8% (N = 613) of participants reported that they purchased or owned at least one of these videos.
We first tested relationships using zero-order correlations to determine whether any of our dependent variables were linked to select demographic variables (see Table 2). The results of this test revealed that both age of respondent and education of respondent were significantly linked to the perceived educational value of the video and purchase desire. As such, these two variables were entered as additional covariates in subsequent hypothesis tests.
To test our hypotheses we used a 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 analysis of covariance (ANCOVA). In each test, the independent variables were the experimental manipulations and the median split on participant's promotion focus. For all tests of main effects we used a Bonferroni adjustment to reduce incidences of Type I error and considered all tests with directional hypotheses to be significant with a one-tailed test (Hypotheses 3a-b, 4a-b). For nondirectional hypotheses (1a-b, 2a-b) and interactions we considered p [less than or equal to] .05 as significant. We included the number of videos owned, participant's age, and participant's years of education as covariates in the model. All analyses were conducted with SPSS 15.0.
Table 2 contains the zero-order correlations for all variables of interest in our study. As noted in the table, there were significant relationships found between participant age, participant education, and number of videos owned with each of our dependent variables. (6) Lastly, older parents were more likely to have had more years of formal education r (831) = .37.
Perceived Educational Value of DVD
The first ANCOVA analysis assessed differences in parents' perceived educational value of the DVD. The results, displayed in Table 3, revealed two significant main effects and one significant interaction. First, there was a significant main effect of parents' promotion focus, F(1, 810) = 25.70, p < .001, [[eta].sub.p.sup.2] = .031. In line with hypothesis 4a, parents with a greater promotion focus rated the DVD of higher educational value for infants and toddlers (M = 3.87, SE = 0.04), compared to parents with a lower promotion focus (M = 3.56, SE = 0.04).
Our test examining parent's assessment of the product's educational value based on the video's brand name was also significant, F(1, 810) = 2.88, p < .05, [[eta].sub.p.sup.2] = .004. As predicted (hypothesis 3a), parents in the Lil' Genius condition were more likely to believe that the DVD had educational value (M = 3.76, SE = 0.04) when compared to parents in the Lil' Munchkins condition (M = 3.66, SE = 0.04).
We also found support for our two null hypotheses testing main effects (i.e., hypotheses 1a and 2a). With regard to claim verb specificity, we found no significant differences in parents' assessments of the product based on the specificity of the verb used in the claim, F(1, 810) = 0.77, p = .38, [[eta].sub.p.sup.2] = 0.001. Parents presented with a claim containing the verb "teaches" (M = 3.69, SE = 0.04) rated the DVD as of the same educational value as the parents presented with verb "inspires" in the claim (M = 3.74, SE = 0.04). Further, there was also no difference in parent ratings of educational value based on differences in the specificity of learning outcomes within the claim, F(1, 810) = 0.25, p = .62, [[eta].sub.p.sup.2] = 0. The product carrying the ambiguous outcome (i.e., "verbal exploration and symbolic language concepts"; M =3.70, SE = 0.04) was rated the same as the one with the claim containing the specific outcome (i.e., "letter identification and 20 vocabulary words"; M = 3.73, SE = 0.04).
Finally, there was a significant interaction effect for claim verb specificity and outcome specificity, F(1, 810) = 3.85, p = .05, [[eta].sub.p.sup.2] = 0.005. As shown in Figure 2, assessments of the video's educational worth were higher when the verb claim was "inspires" and the claims outcome was the specific (M = 3.81, SE = 0.06) vs. the vague outcome (M = 3.67, SE = 0.06). However, when the verb claim was "teaches," parents gave a higher assessment of the video when the claim was vague (M = 3.73, SE = 0.06) than when it was specific (M = 3.64, SE = 0.06).
The next ANCOVA examined the impact of parent and DVD factors on participants' stated purchase intentions. This analysis, shown in Table 4, revealed one significant main effect. Mirroring the results reported above, there was a significant main effect of parents' promotion focus, F(1, 809) = 26.06, p < .001, [[eta].sub.p.sup.2] = .031. Supporting hypothesis 4b, the results indicated that parents with a greater promotion focus were more likely to say that they would purchase the video (M = 3.34, SE = 0.06) in comparison to parents with a lower promotion focus (M = 2.94 SE = 0.06).
Again the results supported our two null hypotheses testing the influence of claim verb and outcome specificity levels (i.e., hypotheses 1b and 2b). Specifically, parents presented with the specific verb "teaches" (M = 3.18, SE = 0.05) were just as likely to say that they would purchase the video when compared to parents presented with verb "inspires" in the claim (M = 3.10, SE = 0.06), F(1, 809)= 1.11, p = .28, [[eta].sub.p.sup.2] = 0.001. Moreover, there were no differences in purchase desire based on the specificity of the learning outcomes associated with the claim, F(1, 809) = 0.89, p = .35, [[eta].sub.p.sup.2] = 0.001. Parents said they were just as likely to want to purchase the DVD when the claim's outcome was ambiguous (M = 3.11, SE = 0.05) compared to those who saw the specific learning outcome in the claim (M = 3.18, SE = 0.05).
We did not find any support for hypothesis 3b as changes in the brand name of the video did not significantly impact decisions to purchase the video, F(1, 809)= 1.75, p = .09, [[eta].sub.p.sup.2] = 0.002. Participants in the Lil' Genius condition (M = 3.19, SE = 0.06) were not more likely than parents in the Lil' Munchkins condition (M = 3.09, SE = 0.05) to say that they would buy the DVD for their child. No interactions were significant.
The vast majority of video/DVDs produced for children under age two carry direct or implied statements or cues suggesting educational benefits for infants and toddlers (Fenstermacher et al. 2010; Garrison and Christakis 2005). In response to concerns about the seductive and unfounded educational claims and cues used to market infant/toddler media products (CCFC 2006), however, the FTC contended that "claims that the product 'exposes' or 'introduces' children to particular content are unlikely, by themselves to convey an educational or developmental benefit claim ..." (Engle 2007a, 2). Thus, they argued that the "net impression" gleaned from an ad or on DVD packaging with these types of statements was unlikely to mislead a reasonable parent. The findings from the present research suggest that the FTC may have been incorrect in this regard.
This study is the first known examination of the extent to which parents of young children do distinguish between explicit educational claims and vague educational cues on infant/toddler DVD packaging. The study design was informed by real world, practical considerations, as described above, as well as cognitive processing theories and prior consumer research. As such, its findings inform timely policy debates, while also bolstering our understanding of factors that influence consumers' reactions to marketing claims that vary in specificity. In addition, this study tested these hypotheses with a large national sample of parents which has specific advantages when it comes to influencing policy. Specifically, as Mutz (2011) notes, if social scientists want to use their research to help influence important policy issues, the use of large, diverse, national samples is crucial as the common critique that experiments lack external validity is largely rendered moot by using these national samples.
Parents' Reactions to Vague and Explicit Claims and Cues
Notably, the findings suggest that parents perceive as much educational value from a DVD that claims to "inspire" infants and toddlers as one that claims to "teach." Parents' perceptions are also unaffected by whether the learning outcome is measurable and verifiable (i.e., "letter identification and 20 vocabulary words") or not (i.e., "verbal exploration and symbolic language concepts"). It is possible that the desirable nature of the implied learning benefits for infants and toddlers prompts parents to engage in "motivated reasoning." Interpreting a statement like "inspires verbal exploration and symbolic language concepts" to mean that children learn language skills from the product would be a desirable inference for a parent to make, as children's learning is preferable. Thus, parents may engage in biased processing, rather than closer analysis, of such statements.
Consumers who are not parents or caregivers of young children likely lack the motivation to engage in biased processing of ambiguous educational claims. Indeed, following the reasoning of Kardes and colleagues (1994), consumers who are not parents of young children may not be motivated to draw inferences at all when claims are ambiguous. That is, consumers for whom infant/toddler DVDs are not personally relevant may not make the cognitive effort to draw inferences from ambiguous statements. However, it is possible that people who are not parents of young children but still have a relationship with young children, such as grandparents, other relatives, or close family friends, may react in much the same way to these product cues as parents do. Such an effect on relatives and friends may impact a family's ownership and use of infant/toddler DVDs indirectly, through word-of-mouth about the products or gifting.
The results did provide one interesting interaction involving these claim features. The interaction revealed that how claims are paired influences parents' educational assessment of the DVD. In the condition where parents viewed a specific verb claim, the parents who saw a claim outcome that was vague and not measurable were more likely to say that the DVD had educational value than parents who saw a claim with a specific and measurable outcome. Yet, when parents viewed a vague verb claim, the parents who saw the specific outcome rated the educational value of the DVD more highly than parents who saw the vague outcome. In fact, parents who saw the DVD cover using the most definitive language and the most specific outcomes ("ABC Safari teaches infants and toddlers letter identification and 20 vocabulary words") rated this video the least educational. One explanation is that parents may be focused on the general educational tone that the message sends, rather than carefully parsing each statement. They may perceive a stronger educational tone when claims contain a mixture of both vague and specific statements (see Sawyer and Howard 1991). Conversely, several specific educational statements together may seem more closed off, setting a less broad educational tone; or they may seem noncredible.
In line with our expectations, parents did react differently to the DVD with an educational cue in the brand name (i.e., "Lil Genius") compared to those who viewed the DVD with no educational cue in the brand name (i.e., "Lil Munchkin"). Parents who viewed the DVD with the "Lil' Genius" brand name were significantly more likely to say that the product had more educational value than parents who saw the DVD with the "Lil Munchkins" brand name, although the magnitude of this effect was small. In addition, there was no difference in purchase intentions based on the DVD's brand name. These findings suggest that similar products with educational cues in their name (e.g., Baby Einstein, Brainy Baby) do, in fact, influence parents in the way that advocacy groups like the CCFC contend (CCFC 2006), although this influence did not directly impact purchase desire. It is possible that the influence of the educational cue in the brand name was somewhat undetectable for purchase intent due to the additional implicit and explicit educational claims on the stimuli used in this study. That is, there was no package in the experiment that was completely void of any educational cues, and perceiving any educational value at all may lead parents to want to buy baby media products.
Promotion Focus and Parents' Consumer Behavior
As anticipated, our findings indicate that parents with a strong promotion focus orientation have higher perceptions of the educational value of an infant/toddler DVD and have a stronger desire to purchase the DVD when the packaging contains explicit and ambiguous educational statements, compared to their peers who are not promotion-focused. These results offer important early insights into the particular types of parents that may be more vulnerable to educational claims and cues used to market infant/toddler media products. In particular, this is the first study to examine the role of regulatory focus in parents' reactions to marketing features on infant/toddler media products, and as such, our findings broaden the scope of theory applied in this area and point to compelling avenues for follow-up research. One remaining question in particular is whether parents with a higher promotion focus are more likely to selectively attend to information that fits their regulatory focus (i.e., the educational cues), or whether parents pay equivalent attention to the educational cues but promotion-focused parents are more persuaded by them.
The differences in parents' reactions based on their degree of chronic promotion focus have practical implications as well. As prior research has shown that parents' perception of the educational value of television and DVDs for infants and toddlers is associated with a higher rate of television and video exposure among young children (e.g., Rideout and Hamel 2006; Vandewater et al. 2007; Zimmerman, Christakis, and Meltzoff 2007b), our findings beg the question of whether young children's rates of exposure may vary with parents' promotion focus. Additional research is currently underway to examine this possibility. Furthermore, the present findings can inform various institutions that seek to reduce parents' perceptions of the educational value of these products (e.g., AAP, CCFC). Such campaigns may be more successful to the extent that they take into account parents' regulatory focus orientations. Of note is research indicating that an individual's focus can be altered situationally such that a normally prevention-focused person can be primed to be temporarily promotion-focused (see Dholakia et al. 2006; Keller 2006; Werth and Foerster 2007). Thus, a campaign may seek to prime a promotion focus among their target audience before delivering gain-framed messages aimed at changing parents' perceptions of the educational value of infant/toddler DVDs.
Evaluating the Null Hypothesis
As this study predicted and found no differences in parents' reactions based on claim verb and outcome specificity, it is important to acknowledge the difficulty associated with predicting that the null hypothesis will not be rejected. When most researchers engage in quantitative research, the goal is to reject the null hypothesis (i.e., show that one's findings could not have happened by chance; Schutt 2009). However, in the current study we have predicted that there would be no differences among parents educational assessment of the video or their desires to purchase the video based on the specificity of educational claims. Yet, there are several challenges to predicting that the null hypothesis will not be rejected which, in turn, should engender some skepticism in the results.
The reason why it is worthwhile to be skeptical of studies which predict that the null hypothesis will not be rejected is because there are certain things a researcher can do to get the results they desire. The first is to use a small sample size, as this reduces the ability to detect significant effects if they do exist (Schutt 2009). This is not an issue here, however, since we were able to detect significant main effects for both of our dependent variables (i.e., for promotion focus and brand name and for the assessment of educational value) as well as an interaction, suggesting a sufficiently large sample. Furthermore, our power analysis indicates that with a sample size of 832 participants, we would be able to detect significant differences for even small effect sizes (Cohen's [f.sup.2] = .017).
A second way that a researcher can get the results they desire is to use an experimental manipulation that is so weak that it virtually guarantees no significant differences between experimental conditions will emerge. As our study did employ relatively subtle manipulations of the claims, it may be appropriate to consider whether these manipulations were strong enough. Notably, there was a significant interaction between verb specificity and outcome specificity in claims on parents' perceptions of educational value, suggesting that the manipulations between our stimuli did have some influence to produce differences in parents' judgments of the DVD. (7) Moreover, we contend that because this study was designed to test an important policy point by the FTC (namely, that less specific educational claims would be met with more skepticism than more specific claims by the average parent) it was vital that the experimental manipulation mimic real infant/toddler DVDs. While we could have cued more critical inquiry on the part of the parents by asking them more pointed questions about the claim's contents, it would not have been an accurate replication of how these videos are usually purchased. (8)
As such, we believe our findings regarding parents' assessments of educational video claims do indeed show that parents do not evaluate claims very closely. With the exception of the interactive influence of verb specificity and outcome specificity on parents' perception of educational value, parents did not distinguish between the DVDs based on the verb or educational outcome listed on the packaging. Thus, our findings suggest that parents do not actually parse educational claims when evaluating DVDs for infants and toddlers, and that the FTC should revisit their earlier responses to the complaints raised by the CCFC with regard to misleading marketing of these products.
The results of the current study highlight many remaining questions and open up numerous areas of future inquiry for other researchers to consider. First, since this research tested a limited set of explicit and vague claims, follow-up research is needed with diverse experimental stimuli to further verify that parents' reactions to infant/toddler DVDs are not impacted by the specificity of the learning verbs and outcomes contained in the claims, and to determine the conditions under which parents would perceive a difference. Additional examples of brand names should also be employed, including product names that vary in the strength of their educational cues (e.g., Lil Genius vs. Lil Learner). Studies should also include control stimuli that are devoid of any educational cues for more powerful comparisons of brand name influence. Still, these preliminary findings suggest that the FTC may need to revisit their position regarding appropriate marketing techniques on media products produced for infants and toddlers. It seems parents may in fact interpret products that do not directly claim empirically verifiable outcomes in the same manner as those carrying explicit learning claims, and that brand names do add to parents' net impression of the educational value of the product.
Another important avenue to investigate in future work is the role that parent/expert recommendations and word-of-mouth play in shaping attitudes toward the product. Infant/toddler media production companies seem to rely heavily upon recommendations from both parents and professionals when appealing to consumers. In fact, the content of these recommendations from parents may do as much to suggest educational gain as the claims used by video producers (Garrison and Christakis 2005). Furthermore, future studies should include diverse participants reflecting a range of relationships with children (e.g., parents, grandparents, family friends, no relationship) to assess whether nonparents involved in the lives of children may react in similar patterns to DVD packaging cues.
As the present study addresses only one piece of regulatory focus orientation, another remaining question pertains to the role of parents prevention focus. Parents who have a strong prevention focus likely experience greater "fit" with loss-framed messages, and may be more readily persuaded by them. Such messages regarding early childhood TV/video use tend to be found among warnings from the AAP and others against such use. For example, in a recent radio and print campaign the AAP says:
It may be tempting to put your infant or toddler in front of the television, especially to watch shows created for children under age two. But the American Academy of Pediatrics says: Don't do it! These early years are crucial in a child's development. The Academy is concerned about the impact of television programming intended for children younger than age two and how it could affect your child's development. (AAP 2010)
Thus, additional experimental research is needed to determine the extent to which prevention-focused parents may be more impacted by such loss-framed messages regarding infant/toddler television and DVD/video use, and whether prevention-focused parents may be less persuaded by the gain-framed marketing messages common in infant/toddler DVD packaging.
Finally, future research should also manipulate the desirability of these products by making them potentially less appealing to parents. Somewhat surprisingly, the majority of parents in this sample were inclined to view our DVD positively. A fair amount of press attention has been paid to the warnings against media use with children under two from the AAP (AAP 2011) as well as the controversy surrounding the use of these videos with children (e.g., Lewin 2009). It seems this coverage may not have impacted the attitudes of many parents with young children, however. Future work on this topic could also cue skepticism in parents by including information from these previous studies and/or including questions which require a closer reading of the claims (e.g., asking parents specific questions about the content of the claims).
There are some limitations associated with this study that impact interpretations of the findings. First, there was no measure of actual purchasing behavior, just a report from the parent about how likely they would be to purchase the video. A stronger test would be to actually have participants engage in the purchasing behavior, though this was not an option for the present study. A second limitation was that participants were unable to hold the DVD package and examine it, as they might in a department store; nor could they see how other parents rated the product, as they might do online. Consequently, this study may have omitted cues that help parents make their purchasing decisions. However, limiting the extraneous variables in this study helped to provide a cleaner test of the influence of our independent variables of interest.
As described above, the findings of this study do not support the decision or rationale of the FTC in response to the CCFC's complaints regarding the misleading educational claims on infant/toddler media products. Given that this study is the first known investigation of parents' reactions to various educational cues on infant/toddler DVD packaging, more research is needed to fully inform the appropriate position of the FTC. These findings, which contradict expectations voiced by representatives of the FTC (Engle 2007a,b), coupled with the prolific array of educational claims and cues used to market media products intended for infants and toddlers indicate that such additional research is badly needed to further inform policy.
American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Public Education. 2001. Children, Adolescents, and Television. Pediatrics, 107 (2): 423-426.
American Academy of Pediatrics, Council on Communications and Media. 2011. Policy Statement: Media Use by Children Younger than 2 Years. Pediatrics, 128 (5): 1-6.
American Academy of Pediatrics. 2010. TV and Toddlers, http://www.aap.org/sections/media/ toddlerstv.htm.
Andrews, J. Craig, Richard G. Netemeyer, and Scot Burton. 1998. Consumer Generalization of Nutrient Content Claims in Advertising. Journal of Marketing, 62: 62-75.
Bao, Yeging, Alan T. Shao, and Drew Rivers. 2008. Creating New Brand Names: Effects of Relevance, Connotation, and Pronunciation. Journal of Advertising Research, 48 (1): 148-162.
Camacho, Christopher J., E. Tory Higgins, and Lindsay Luger. 2003. Moral Value Transfer from Regulatory Fit: What Feels Right Is Right and What Feels Wrong Is Wrong. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84 (3): 498-510.
Campaign for a Commerical-Free Childhood. 2006, May 1. Before the Federal Trade Commission: Complaint and Request for Investigation, In re: Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby. http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/babyvideos/babyvideocomplaint.pdf.
Carver, Charles S. and Teri L. White. 1994. Behavioral Inhibition, Behavioral Activation and Affective Responses to Impending Reward and Punishment: The BIS/BAS Scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67 (2): 319-333.
Dholakia, Utpal M., Mahesh Gopinath, Richard P. Bagozzi, and Rajan Nataraajan. 2006. The Role of Regulatory Focus in the Experience and Self-Control of Desire for Temptations. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 16 (2): 163-175.
Ditto, Peter H. and David F. Lopez. 1992. Motivated Skepticism: Use of Differential Decision Criteria for Preferred and Nonpreferred Conclusions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63 (4): 568-584.
Engle, Mary K. 2007a. FTC, Division of Advertising Practices. Letter to Angela Campbell and Susan Linn of CCFC, December 5. http://www.ftc.gov/os/closings/staff/071205ccfc.pdf.
Engle, Mary K. 2007b. FTC, Division of Advertising Practices. Letter to Timothy Muris of Baby Einstein, December 5. http://commercialfreechildhood.org/actions/babyeinstein.pdf.
Fenstermacher, Susan K., Rachel Barr, Katherine Salerno, Amaya Garcia, Clay E. Shwery, Sandra L. Calvert, and Deborah L. Linebarger. 2010. Infant-Directed Media: An Analysis of Product Information and Claims. Infant and Child Development, 19: 557-576.
Florack, Arnd and Martin Scarabis. 2006. Flow Advertising Claims Affect Brand Preferences and Category-Brand Associations: The Role of Regulatory Fit. Psychology & Marketing, 23 (9): 741-755.
Garrison, Michelle M. and Dimitri A. Christakis. 2005. A Teacher in the Living Room? Educational Media for Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers. Menlo Park, CA: Flenry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.
Harris, Richard J., Julia C. Pounds, Melissa J. Maiorelle, and Maria Mermis. 1993. The Effect Of Type of Claim, Gender, and Buying History on the Drawing of Pragmatic Inferences from Advertising Claims. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 2 (1): 83-95.
Higgins, E. Tory. 1997. Beyond Pleasure and Pain. American Psychologist, 52 (12): 1280-1300.
Higgins. E. Tory, Ronald S. Friedman, Robert E. Harlow, Lorraine C. Idson, Ozlem N. Ayduk, and Amy Taylor. 2001. Achievement Orientations from Subjective Histories of Success: Promotion Pride versus Prevention Pride. European Journal of Social Psychology, 31: 3-23.
Jain. Shailendra P. and Durairaj Maheswaran. 2000. Motivated Reasoning: A Depth-of-Processing Perspective. Journal of Consumer Research, 26: 358-371.
Johar, Gita V. 1995. Consumer Involvement and Deception from Implied Advertising Claims. Journal of Marketing Research, 32: 267-279.
Jorm, Anthony F. Helen Christensen, A. Scott Henderson, Patricia A. Jacomb, Alisa E. Korten, and Bryan Rodgers. 1999. Using the BIS/BAS Scales to Measure Behavioural Inhibition and Behavioural Activation: Factor Structure, Validity and Norms in a Large Community Sample. Personality and Individual Differences, 26: 49-58.
Kardes, Frank R. 1988. Spontaneous Inference Processes in Advertising: The Effects of Conclusion Omission and Involvement on Persuasion. Journal of Consumer Research, 15. 225-233.
Kardes, Frank R.. John Kim, and Jeen-Su Lim. 1994. Moderating Effects of Prior Knowledge on the Perceived Diagnosticity of Beliefs Derived from Implicit versus Explicit Product Claims. Journal of Business Research, 29: 219-224.
Keller, Punam A. 2006. Regulatory Focus and Efficacy of Health Messages. Journal of Consumer Research, 33: 109-114.
Lee, Angela Y. and Jennifer L. Aaker. 2004. Bringing the Frame into Focus: The Influence of Regulatory Fit on Processing Fluency and Persuasion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86: 205-218.
Lewin, Tamar. 2009. No Einstein in the Crib? Get a Refund. New York Times [New York, NY], October 23. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/24/education/24baby.html.
Lutz, Kathy A. and Richard J. Lutz. 1977. Effects of Interactive Imagery on Learning: Application to Advertising. Journal of Applied Psychology, 62: 493-498.
Maronick, Thomas J. and J. Craig Andrews. 1999. The Role of Qualifying Language on Consumer Perceptions of Environmental Claims. The Journal of Consumer Affairs, 33 (2). 297-320.
Mehrabian, Albert and Robert de Wetter. 1987. Experimental Test of an Emotion-based Approach to Fitting Brand Names to Products. Journal of Applied Psychology, 72 (1): 125-130.
Mutz, Diana C. 2011. Population-Based Survey Experiments. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Oliver, Richard L. 1979. An Interpretation of the Attitudinal and Behavioral Effects of Puffery. The Journal of Consumer Affairs, 13 (1): 8-27.
Pham, Michel T. and Tamar Avnet. 2004. Ideals and Oughts and the Reliance on Affect versus Substance in Persuasion. Journal of Consumer Research, 30: 503-518.
Rideout, Victoria. 2004. Parents, Media and Public Policy. Menlo Park, CA: Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.
Rideout, Victoria and Elizabeth Hamel. 2006. The Media Family: Electronic Media in the Lives of Infants, Toddlers, Preschoolers and Their Parents. Menlo Park, CA: Kaiser Family Foundation.
Rideout, Victoria, Elizabeth Vandewater, and Ellen A. Wartella. 2003. Zero to Six: Electronic Media in the Lives of Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers. Menlo Park, CA: Kaiser Family Foundation.
Sawyer, Alan G. and Daniel J. Howard. 1991. Effects of Omitting Conclusions to Involved and Uninvolved Audiences. Journal of Marketing Research, 28: 467-474.
Schutt, Russell K. 2009. Investigating the Social World: The Process and Practice of Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Shimp, Terrance A. 1983. Evaluative Verbal Content and Deception in Advertising: A Review and Critical Analysis. In Information Processing Research in Advertising, edited by Richard J. Harris (195-216). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Thomas, Susan G. 2007. Buy, Buy Baby: How Consumer Culture Manipulates Parents and Harms Young Minds. New York: Houghton Mifflin.
Urosevic, Snezana, Paul Collins, Ryan Muetzel, Kelvin Lim, and Monica Lucianna. 2012. Longitudinal Changes in Behavioral Approach System Sensitivity and Brain Structures Involved in Reward Processing During Adolescence. Developmental Psychology, 48 (5): 1488-1500.
US Department of Health and Human Services. 2010. Healthy People 2020 Summary of Objectives: Physical Activity, http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topicsobjectives2020/.
Vaala, Sarah E., Amy Bleakley, and Amy B. Jordan. 2013. The Media Environments and Television-viewing Diets of Infants and Toddlers: Findings from a National Survey of Parents Zero to Three 33 (4): 18-24.
Vandewater. Elizabeth A., Victoria J. Rideout, Ellen A. Wartella, Xuan Huang, June H. Lee, and Mi-Suk Shim. 2007. Digital Childhood: Electronic Media and Technology Use Among Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers. Pediatrics, 119 (5): 1006-1015.
Werth, Lioba and Jens Foerster. 2007. How Regulatory Focus Influences Consumer Behavior. European Journal of Social Psychology, 37: 33-51.
Yi, Sunghwan and Hans Baumgartner. 2009. Regulatory Focus and Message Framing: A Test of Three Accounts. Motivation and Emotion, 33: 435-443.
Zimmerman, Frederick J.. Dimitri A. Christakis, and Andrew N. Meltzoff. 2007a. Associations Between Media Viewing and Language Development in Children Under Age 2 Years. Journal of Pediatrics, 151 (4): 364-368.
Zimmerman. Frederick J., Dimitri A. Christakis, and Andrew N. Meltzoff. 2007b. Television and DVD/Video Viewing in Children Younger than 2 Years. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 161:473-479.
(1.) We use the terms "implicit," "vague," and "ambiguous" interchangeably here to refer to statements which imply educational benefit in an unverifiable manner. Such claims have been assigned many different identifying terms in the literature. We adopt the conceptualization stated by Andrews and colleagues (1998): "Although a variety of labels (e.g., general versus specific, subjective versus objective, evaluative versus factual, abstract versus concrete) has been used for roughly the same distinction (Shimp, 1983), one common element of such distinctions is the extent to which the claim is verifiable" (63).
(2.) See www.knowledgenetworks.com for more information about Knowledge Networks and the TESS program.
(3.) Participants were able to click on the image to see a larger version and we have a record of when participants did so. There were no differences between parents who clicked on the image and those that did not, nor any differences in perceptions of educational value or purchase intentions.
(4.) While there was a product line of infant/toddler products with the brand name "Munchkin" commercially available at the time this study was fielded, this line did not include media products and thus it seemed unlikely that participants would relate the experimental stimuli with that line in any way that would bias their reactions.
(5.) Available research with adolescents and adults from the United States (Urosevic et al., 2012) and Australia (Jorm et al., 1999) suggest that mean values on the BAS Reward Responsiveness subscale tend to be relatively high in these populations (i.e., above 3.0 on a 4-point scale).
(6.) There was a small but marginally significant correlation between assignment to brand name condition and parent's promotion focus, r(831) = -.06, as parents with a lower promotion focus were more likely to be in the Lit' Munchkins condition.
(7.) We conducted 30 statistical tests as part of our hypothesis testing (two ANCOVAs with four main effects and 11 interactions each). As such, there is some likelihood that this result occurred by chance (Schutt. 2009).
(8.) This is also why we did not explicitly inform parents that this was an academic study as we felt that many parents would have engaged in hypothesis guessing if told that this was a study about how parents assess infant/toddler videos (all Knowledge Network families are told at enrollment that they may be taking part in market research, public policy polling and/or academic research).
Sarah E. Vaala (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Martin Fishbein Post-doctoral Research Fellow at University of Pennsylvania and Matthew A. Lapierre (email@example.com) is Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at University of North Carolina Wilmington. Portions of the research were presented at the annual International Communication Association Conference, in Phoenix, AZ, May 24-28, 2012. The research activities were completed while the authors were doctoral students at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania. Special thanks to Deborah Linebarger, Kathleen Flanagan, Diana Mutz, and Joseph Cappella for their assistance with this project.
DOI: 10.1111/joca. 12023
TABLE 1 Means, Standard Deviations and Ns for Dependent Variables by Condition Verb Outcome Promotion Focus Brand Name Specificity Specificity High promotion Lil' Genius Teaches Specific focus Vague Inspires Specific Vague Lit Munchkins Teaches Specific Vague Inspires Specific Vague Low promotion Lil' Genius Teaches Specific focus Vague Inspires Specific Vague Lil' Munchkins Teaches Specific Vague Inspires Specific Vague Perceived Educational Purchase Promotion Focus N Value M (SD) Desire M (SD) High promotion 48 3.95 (0.81) 3.52 (1.19) focus 49 3.85 (0.91) 3.43 (1.21) 45 3.88 (0.95) 3.20 (1.38) 40 4.06 (0.83) 3.50 (1.01) 54 3.84 (0.95) 3.63 (1.21) 63 3.97 (0.90) 3.28 (1.22) 59 4.02 (0.88) 3.60 (1.06) 57 3.64 (0.86) 3.14 (1.17) Low promotion 60 3.33 (0.89) 2.92 (1.31) focus 49 3.56 (0.81) 2.88 (1.13) 56 3.78 (0.86) 2.96 (1.19) 53 3.65 (0.76) 3.04 (1.00) 51 3.45 (0.98) 2.94 (1.24) 49 3.50 (0.81) 2.78 (1.16) 49 3.42 (0.92) 2.77 (1.21) 47 3.49 (0.86) 2.70 (1.04) TABLE 2 Zero-order Correlations for Variables of Interest 1 2 3 4 5 1. Perceived educational worth -- .65 ** -.03 -.03 .01 2. Purchase desire -- -.01 .03 .02 3. Brand name condition -- .01 .01 (Lil' Genius = 1) 4. Claim verb specificity -- .00 (teaches = 1) 5. Claim output specificity -- (specific = 1) 6. Promotion focus 7. Respondent age 8. Respondent years of education 9. Infant/toddler videos owned 6 7 8 9 1. Perceived educational worth .26 ** -.14 ** -.22 ** .13 ** 2. Purchase desire .24 ** -.18 ** -.31 ** .24 ** 3. Brand name condition -.06+ -.02 .04 -.02 (Lil' Genius = 1) 4. Claim verb specificity .01 -.06 .05 .00 (teaches = 1) 5. Claim output specificity -.01 -.02 -.02 -.02 (specific = 1) 6. Promotion focus -- -.05 .11 * 7. Respondent age -- 37 ** .06 8. Respondent years of education -0.01 9. Infant/toddler videos owned -- Note: (+) p < .10, * p < .01, ** p < .001. TABLE 3 Main Effects of Dependent Variables on Parents' Perceived Educational Value of DVD Perceived Educational Factor Condition Value M (SE) F Promotion focus Low 3.56 (0.04) 25.70 High 3.87 (0.04) Brand name Lil' Genius 3.76 (0.04) 2.88 Lil' Munchkins 3.66 (0.04) Verb specificity Teaches 3.69 (0.04) 0.77 Inspires 3.74 (0.04) Output specificity Specific 3.73 (0.04) 0.25 Vague 3.70 (0.04) Factor Condition P [[eta].sub.p.sup.2] Promotion focus Low .001 .031 High Brand name Lil' Genius .045 .004 Lil' Munchkins Verb specificity Teaches .38 .001 Inspires Output specificity Specific .62 0 Vague TABLE 4 Influence of Dependent Variables on Parents' Reported Purchase Intent Reported Purchase Factor Condition Desire M (SE) F Promotion focus Low 2.94 (0.06) 26.06 High 3.34 (0.06) Brand name Lil' Genius 3.19 (0.06) 1.75 Lil' Munchkins 3.09 (0.05) Verb specificity Teaches 3.18 (0.05) 1.11 Inspires 3.10 (0.06) Output specificity Specific 3.18 (0.05) 0.89 Vague 3.11 (0.05) Factor Condition P [[eta].sub.p.sup.2] Promotion focus Low .001 .031 High Brand name Lil' Genius .10 .002 Lil' Munchkins Verb specificity Teaches .29 .001 Inspires Output specificity Specific .35 .001 Vague
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Author:||Vaala, Sarah E.; Lapierre, Matthew A.|
|Publication:||Journal of Consumer Affairs|
|Article Type:||Statistical data|
|Date:||Jun 22, 2014|
|Previous Article:||Testing a measurement model of financial capability among youth in Ghana.|
|Next Article:||The potential for consumer segmentation in the Finnish housing market.|