SURVEY: FRIENDS LEAD PACK IN KIDS' SPENDING DECISIONS: ADVERTISING, PARENTS LAG BEHIND IN INFLUENCING CONSUMER CHOICES

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When it comes to what influences teens on how they spend their money, the power of advertising takes a back seat to their friends but is almost as influential as their parents, according to the 1996 Roper Youth Report.

Of teens responding to the annual study by Roper Starch Worldwide, 34% listed friends' ideas as their top influence on how to spend money; 26% named parents; followed by 25% naming advertising and 24%, TV.

PARENTS INFLUENCE BIG CHOICES

Parents, however, held the biggest sway among teens in other matters. The study found 62% of kids and teens polled said their parents influenced them most when deciding on whether to drink alcohol, with friends and teachers following far behind, at 28% and 9%, respectively.

However, when it comes to choosing clothing, friends (57%) and TV (23%) were bigger influences than parents (20%).

"In things that have outward manifestations, you want to be like your friends, you want to be a part of your group," said Joan Chiaramonte, VP-senior project director at Roper.

"For clothing, the music they listen to, the movies they go to see, they'll go to their friends. But for more important things, they tend to go to their parents. They're smart; they realize parents have the experience in those areas."

`ENCOURAGING' RESULTS

Julie Halpin, general manager of Kid Connection, the youth marketing division of Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, New York, said she was "encouraged" by the Roper findings.

"It reinforces that kids are intelligent, information-seeking consumers," she said.

"One of the biggest myths about kids advertising is that you only need to entertain them, but that's not true. They want information," she said.

The in-person interviews, were conducted among 1,200 6 to 17-year-olds across the country. The study has a margin of error of 5 percentage points.

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