This benchmarking study examines Chinese children.s perceived truthfulness of and liking for television advertising in three Chinese cities with different developmental levels of advertising. An in-person survey of 1758 children (ages 6 to 14) was conducted between December 2001 and March 2002 using a structured questionnaire. Results indicate that a majority of children perceive half of the television commercials to be true, although this varies by grade and geography. Children in Beijing perceived television commercials to be more trustworthy than did children in Nanjing and Chengdu. The percentage of children who perceive all commercials to be true declines consistently with grade in all three cities. There is a high proportion of first graders who perceive all commercials to be untrue. The basis for judgement varies predominantly by grade. Children in higher grades depend more on brand and user experience while children in lower grades rely mainly on authority (i.e. parents or teachers). A high proportion of first graders hold both a strong liking and disliking for commercials. These strong feelings towards advertising decreased with grade, being replaced by a marked increase in neutral or indifferent feelings. Gender and level of television viewing do not show a consistent impact on perceived truthfulness and liking for commercials. Perceived truthfulness of television advertising is related positively with liking for commercials.
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