Advertising: when is an advert not an advert?

Advertising is everywhere but we are not always aware that we are been marketed to, as the parameters of what constitutes an advert have changed in the new digital age.

First, we need to know what adverts look like.

In the past adverts in the media were separated from the main editorial content. Adverts appeared in the space between newspaper/ magazine articles, or in the gaps between TV/radio programmes. It was easy to tell them apart. Today, adverts and editorial content can look very similar. On social media it can be really difficult to tell which is which. For example, adverts can now appear in games, before videos or even through celebrity endorsement.

Time to Talk

Ask your family to identify different types of advert (e.g. on social media, a search engine or in games). Discuss how they can tell the adverts are promoting something.

We would love to hear your views on this topic, or outcomes as a result of trying out the suggestion above. Please send them to

Find out more about our #OpenMyEyes Campaign in collaboration with Media Smart UK here.

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Source: Media Smart Body Image and Advertising: a guide for parents and guardians