Advertising on the web has taken new forms (Malin, 2011; Susarla, Oh & Tan, 2012). In this context, videos which appear playful but which have an advertising objective, have positioned themselves as the new trend (Craig & Duncan, 2017; Marsh, 2015) and have penetrated the web space for an increasing number of Internet users, particularly among children (Davies, Coleman & Livingstone, 2014). However, the type and variety of videos with advertising intention that YouTube leads users to when searching for generic audiovisual content for children’s audience is unclear. This paper uses a mixed methods approach to analyze the content and visuals present in undercover advertising videos from a sample of 143 videos prompted by the keywords Soy Luna, a popular Disney Channel series. The main findings are that three types of sources provide this type of content, namely official channels, YouTubers channels devoting space to the series and its merchandising, and to a greater extent toy exhibition channels. Also, the format appearance and characteristics of the videos make it difficult for users to tell them apart from advertising, as they introduce a novel narrative, incorporate playful twists and appear to be associated to the series. These features go beyond the use of YouTube standardized advertising formats, such as graphic ads, overlays or advertising spots which can be skipped.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research work is limited to the Fondecyt Iniciation project No. 11170336 entitled “Minors as consumers. Analysis of the advertising received by users ages 10 to 14 years through mobile devices,“ funded by the National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT) of the Government of Chile. The Fondo de Ayuda a la Investigación (Research Aid Fund, FAI) of the Universidad de los Andes contributed to funding the translation of this paper.
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