Revista Sociedade, Contabilidade e Gestão (Dec 2013)

Kids as Tiny Adults? A Study on the Perception of the Child ‘Adultization’ in Marketing Communication of Infant Apparel Brands

  • Renata Armelin Ferreira Barros,
  • Denise Franca Barros,
  • Tânia Maria de Oliveira Almeida Gouveia

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 8, no. 3
pp. 006 – 020


Read online

The increasingly early entry of children in the universe of consumption, creates one of the most attractive markets. Previous studies indicate that there is a latent process of ‘adultization’ (the early maturation of the young kids) as a form to early socialize infants for the consumer market (SILVEIRA NETTO et al 2010). A recent example of that phenomenon is the creation of a padded bra (intended to create the illusion of bigger and more defined breasts) targeted to six years old girls, sold at a big and popular department store (FOLHA DE SÃO PAULO, 2011). This might be an indication that the phenomenon of adultization is growing and needs special attention. This exploratory work aims to investigate the perception of the adultization process amongst adults in marketing communication of infant clothing brands. In this study, we collected marketing communication materials from some of the most popular kids apparel brands in Rio de Janeiro. A semistructured questionnaire was used to raise the perception of adults (parents and non-parents) about the representations of kids portrayed in the marketing communications materials previously selected. The results indicate that there is a perception of the existence of the adultization process. Nevertheless, the use of some products formerly restricted to the adult universe were considered by several respondents as suitable for children.