A few short years ago, the concept of advertising in video games would have seemed a little ridiculous. But now these sorts of in-game promos are everywhere—and with good reason. Some of the most popular downloadable games for young kids are nothing but interactive candy ads.

Today’s tikes spend more time playing games than they do watching TV, so apps like “Cookie Dough Bites Factory” and “Icee Maker” are extremely effective ways to familiarize them with brands. Snack food makers are jumping all over the opportunity, of course.

As The Wall Street Journal puts it, these kids “can master the largely intuitive touch screens well before they read.” Get ready, young parents: Your little treasure’s first words may well be “I want a Super Pretzel.”

37% of kids aged 4-5 use mobile touchscreen devices at home, and a significant number of slightly older children carry smartphones. The inevitable follow-up question: Do we need to regulate the amount of advertising that comes their way? And how does one define advertising in this context?

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