I sometimes sit and what real-time telly- you know, the kind that doesn't allow you to skip adverts, or fast forward through them. When I do, I sometimes choose to actually pay a bit of attention to said adverts.
Now, it seems to me that I get bombarded by advertising for winged things that absorb loads of blue liquid. Always, in fact. Do I need or want winged things that absorb blue water? No! Do I want nor need them any more than I did before I saw the adverts? Nope. Not one iota.
Apparently, they're for females between a particular set of ages. So does my wife want or need them? Given that they're characterized by bright young things out partying until 5am, one assumes on the lash and without spares, and definitely in white attire, I think not. There is another brand that she might find more attractive. Except she doesn't need or want them, either. End result? We don't buy any at all.
I also get bombarded by adverts for what seem to me to be particularly small cars. These adverts suggest I can, should I drive one, have a queue of people at my door treating me like I'm the most popular bloke on the street, drive down steps in Italy and pick up beautiful (and willing) girls and even go surfing with the car key in my pocket. And yet I haven't bought one of any of the cars advertised. Why? Because I'm quite happy with the one I've got, thank you very much. I have no interest in a new car. If I was interested, then I might have a think about those ones. But I'm not.
However, a month or two back, I was looking for a way to stabilize my main video camera (I shoot a lot of video, surprisingly) while I walked about with it. The device I was researching is called a gimbal. As luck would have it, while I was looking at a web page that had nothing to do with videography or gimbals (or anything remotely connected to either topic), and up popped an advert for an all-in-one gimbalised 4K video camera (don't worry what all that means, it's not important to know, other than that it does exactly what I want it to do) . I now own one! Why? Because the advert informed me of a product that already had an interest in, did the job of a combination of kit I was looking at, and came it at under a third of the price of the gimbal stup I'd been looking at.
THAT is how advertising works. If you're not interested in what's being advertised, you tune out. Advertising does not make anyone buy stuff they're not already considering. The best advertising alerts the consumer to the thing thing they want, where they want it, and when they want it.
So asking kids whether an advert they won't see (by law), for a thing they can't buy (by law), in a place they can't use them (by bye-law) is likely to make them want one is a pointless, fruitless and, frankly bloody idiotic thing to do.
Moreover, to get statistics that say no matter whether they were exposed to adverts or not makes absolutely no difference to what they end up saying, and then twisting that to mean "they'll all end up massively addicted to smoking fags" (not really a quote, but I bet they wished they could get away with it) is not only stupid, but is also, frankly, lying through their teeth.