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"To sell sell sell and make the product sing like a song in your head."

That's the purpose of advertising, as explained by a 7-year-old boy in research conducted exclusively for Advertising Age by NeoPets, a youth-oriented dot-com. Results of the wide-ranging study-covering young people's attitudes about current events, media, marketing and consumer products-are featured in this Special Report and more in depth on QwikFIND aan11v

The gaming site has about 11 million registered members. It conducted the online research from Jan. 4-9. A total of 12,512 U.S. NeoPets members, ages 18 and younger, responded to four separate surveys in the random sampling (19-to-23-year-olds also responded); maximum margin of error on the overall results was 2.3 percentage points.

Some highlights:

* As they get older, an increasing number of young people feel advertising can affect the opinions of children more easily than it can adults; 72% of teens responding believe this to be the case.

* Respondents weren't impressed with how realistically ads portray children. One a scale of 1 to 5 (with 5 being "very realistically"), the score descends as respondents grow up, with teens rating TV ads at a 3.2.

* Humor in ads appears to be far more popular with young people than ads featuring movie, music or sports celebrities.

* Teens get an average $28 a week in pocket money; tweens and younger kids said they get $15.

* Favorite food: 34% named pizza, and hamburgers came in fifth at 11%. But favorite fast-food restaurant: McDonald's, cited by 27%; Pizza Hut was fourth at 12%.

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