FTC Uses Games to Get Message to Kids

Website Teaches Consumer Issues in a Virtual Mall

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The Federal Trade Commission is hoping a new game-filled, experiential website launched today will help kids become smarter consumers.
Interact with shopkeepers and youngsters versed in basic consumer and business concepts at the FTC's new website.
Interact with shopkeepers and youngsters versed in basic consumer and business concepts at the FTC's new website.

Entering the site's shopping-mall setting, visitors navigate virtual stores and a food court, along the way interacting with shopkeepers and youngsters versed in basic consumer and business concepts.

Math made palatable
One game takes place in a candy shop, where kids are introduced to the science behind retail pricing; a guessing game helps them understand the prices of goods such as jelly beans and licorice based on their supply, demand and production costs.

Another game demonstrates the concept of target marketing, asking players to match the features of various mobile phones being sold at a mall kiosk with certain audiences.

Stop in the movie theater, and you can watch a short film on the history of the FTC and the purpose of laws such as the Sherman Antitrust Act.

Kids can even design and print custom ads for a shoe store and uncover dubious claims in a vitamin-supplement ad.

Raising savvy kids
The website "teaches kids how to be more savvy consumers by demonstrating the benefits of competition, how advertising can influence buying decisions, and the rules and regulations that many business people deal with," said FTC Chairman William Kovacic in a statement. "It's a great tool for parents and teachers who are trying to help kids understand their role in the marketplace."

Falls Church, Va.-based JDG Communications created the site, which is geared toward children 12 and under -- who are estimated to spend billions of dollars on goods and services each year.

Still to come are additional features that will address kids' privacy and how to be a smart shopper, an FTC spokeswoman said.
In this article:
Most Popular