Advertising Literacy: How Can Children and Adolescents Deal with Persuasive Messages in Our Complex Media Environment?

Edited by Brigitte Naderer, Nils S. Borchers, Ruth Festl and Thorsten Naab. Please submit your abstract until February 29th 2020 at Please also find the author guidelines there.
Call for Papers as PDF


Advertising is a ubiquitous part of our day-to-day lives. We are confronted with persuasive messages via different channels, in different situations and – due to the increasing use of hybrid and embedded advertising formats like native advertising, advergames, influencers marketing and product placements – with varying degrees of transparency. The blurring of different media genres and reference frameworks in a complex media environment poses challenges to the recipients. These challenges are particularly hard to master for children and adolescents since they are less experienced in handling commercial messages (Livingstone and Helsper 2006). To be able to identify persuasive messages and to process them in a competent way, child, teen, and adult recipients alike need skills such as the ability to recognize, understand, and evaluate advertisements and other commercial messages. These skills can be summarized under the term "advertising literacy" (Young 2003). The extent of how recipients are properly equipped with these skills influences how they further process and reflect persuasive messages (Friestad and Wright 1994). Recipients’ effort to identify persuasive messages in today’s blurred advertising/media environments can be supported by external factors. For instance, advertising disclosures can help recipients to identify persuasive messages (Boerman, van Reijmersdal, and Neijens 2012) and support their right to decide whether they wish to engage with the persuasive content or not (Cain 2011). Furthermore, especially when dealing with children and adolescents, mediation strategies are important to empower young recipients in their process of identifying and recognizing as well as understanding and evaluating persuasive messages. The effectiveness of such factors and how advertising literacy can even be adequately assessed (Rozendaal, Opree, and Buijzen 2016) is an ongoing debate in the field. In the light of the described challenges, this call for papers aims to address, but is not limited to, the following research questions:

  1. Conceptual advances: How can "advertising literacy" be conceptualized? What are the dimensions of advertising literacy, especially in the digital media environment? How does advertising literacy relate to other literacy concepts, such as information, digital, media, or consumer literacy? What are the blind spots to our understanding of how persuasive messages are processed and identified? How are embedded advertising techniques connected to advertising literacy?
  2. Methodological advances: How can we measure advertising literacy? What challenges have to be met when measuring this concept for different age groups, especially when dealing with young recipients?
  3. Advertising to children and adolescents: When and to what extend is it morally justifiable to advertise to children and adolescents? What are effects of advertising literacy (or the lack of it) on, for instance, concepts such as materialism, consumer literacy, and normative beliefs?
  4. External factors: What are effective factors to increase advertising literacy, especially when it comes to children and adolescents, or other vulnerable populations? What do effective mediation strategies, training programs or disclosures look like and what role do audience predispositions or the social and political environment play in that context?
  5. Responsibilities: Who is or should be responsible for fostering advertising literacy in various consumer populations? What is or should be the role of advertising research? Which regulatory measures or initiatives might be important for supporting consumers in their right to decide whether to engage with persuasive content? How powerful is the advertising literacy concept and how far can it take us?

Submissions that draw across disciplinary and/or methodological perspectives are especially welcome.


Please submit extended Abstracts of max. 1.000 words plus references electronically and according to the author guidelines until February 29th 2020 at: (choose section "Advertising Literacy").

Based on these abstracts, invitations for full paper submissions will sent out by mid of March 2020. Full paper submissions will be due by June 1st 2020. Invitations to submit a full paper do not guarantee the acceptance and publication of the manuscript. All submissions will be proofed in double-blind peer reviews.

Contributions should be original and should not be under consideration elsewhere. The total character count must be less than 40.000 characters (including spaces, without abstract, and without references). A narrative abstract of 150–200 words briefly describes the main issues, significant results and conclusions. If necessary, the editors will help with the translation of the abstract/title. Contributions must be submitted with English and German title and abstract. Further author guidelines:


  • Brigitte Naderer (,
  • Nils S. Borchers (,
  • Ruth Festl (,
  • Thorsten Naab (


Boerman, Sophie C., Eva A. van Reijmersdal, and Peter C. Neijens. 2012. «Sponsorship Disclosure: Effects of Duration on Persuasion Knowledge and Brand Responses: Sponsorship Disclosure». Journal of Communication 62 (6): 1047–64.

Cain, Rita Marie. 2011. «Embedded Advertising on Television: Disclosure, Deception, and Free Speech Rights». Journal of Public Policy & Marketing 30 (2): 226–38.

Friestad, Marian, and Peter Wright. 1994. «The Persuasion Knowledge Model: How People Cope with Persuasion Attempts». Journal of Consumer Research 21 (1): 1.

Livingstone, Sonia, and Ellen J. Helsper. 2006. «Does Advertising Literacy Mediate the Effects of Advertising on Children? A Critical Examination of Two Linked Research Literatures in Relation to Obesity and Food Choice». Journal of Communication 56 (3): 560–84.

Rozendaal, Esther, Suzanna J. Opree, and Moniek Buijzen. 2016. «Development and Validation of a Survey Instrument to Measure Children’s Advertising Literacy». Media Psychology 19 (1): 72–100.

Young, Brian. 2003. «Does Food Advertising Influence Children’s Food Choices? A Critical Review of Some of the Recent Literature». International Journal of Advertising 22 (4): 441–59.