Testing the effectiveness of a disclosure in activating children's advertising literacy in the context of embedded advertising in vlogs

Rhianne W. Hoek, Esther Rozendaal, Hein T. van Schie, Eva A. Van Reijmersdal, Moniek Buijzen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Watching vlogs of social media influencers has become a favorite pastime for children and adolescents. For advertisers, vlogs are an excellent way to reach young viewers. As such, vlogs have become a powerful marketing tool. However, for children and adolescents it is often unclear whether a vlog contains advertising, which raises questions regarding the fairness and transparency of this type of advertising. If children do not recognize the commercial intent of in-vlog advertising, then they are unlikely to activate their advertising literacy, which may serve as a critical coping mechanism. The aim of this study was to investigate if a sponsorship disclosure stimulates children and adolescents' (7-16 years old) to activate their advertising literacy when exposed to embedded advertising in vlogs and, subsequently, if advertising literacy activation is related to children's brand attitude. Furthermore, we investigated whether the relation between exposure to a sponsorship disclosure and advertising literacy activation was moderated by children's dispositional advertising literacy and their age. An innovative aspect of the current study is that advertising literacy activation was measured in two ways: with a self-reported questionnaire and via an indirect measurement task (Advertising Literacy Activation Task). The results showed that the children who were exposed to a sponsorship disclosure did not activate their advertising literacy to a higher extent than the children who were not exposed to such a disclosure. This might be because of the high prominence of the brand in the vlog; thus children may not have needed the disclosure to realize that the vlog was sponsored and accordingly activate their advertising literacy. The results also showed that stronger attitudinal advertising literacy activation led to a more negative brand attitude. Interestingly, this effect was only found when attitudinal advertising literacy was assessed with a questionnaire and not when it was assessed with the indirect measurement task. Thus, children who were more critical toward the in-vlog advertisement through self-reporting also had a more negative brand attitude. This suggests that direct and indirect measurements of advertising literacy activation reveal different processes through which children make sense of, and are affected by, advertising.
Original languageEnglish
Article number451
Pages (from-to)451
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


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