People who market their products to children know that the children have no purchasing power on their own. The purpose of such marketing is to get the brand into kids' heads, but it relies on the parents' willingness to give in to the demands of their children. Marketing to children ultimately places responsibility for purchasing decisions in the hands of parents, and if it is unethical or harmful to children, that is because the parents are poorly informed about the decisions they are making.
I have no problem with it, as kids are interested in things too. I just would hope marketers would not go overboard with it. It would also be nice if they added some things like, "make sure you ask your parents first." Just to let people know that it is not all about money, but also the welfare of people's children.
Yes, marketing to children is acceptable, because children should be able to decide what they like and what they want to buy. Children are smart. They can decide what they want for them based on the marketing. Business is business. Children have allowances to burn, and should be able to see the products they want to buy.
Companies that product tobacco products and alcoholic beverages should not market to children, although it isn't disputed that they do. Other companies that make products specifically for children, like toys or candy, also should not market to children. Children are unable to understand the tricks that marketers are using to manipulate them. This makes marketing to them an unfair a manipulative practice.
Children are simple. They are attracted to bright colors and sounds. Marketing to something so simple is unethical. The marketing strategy should be geared towards parents. The use of these products should promote learning and fun. Fun without purpose would be hard to sell to parents. This is why the child marketing strategies is the one of choice for most toy manufacturers.
Marketing to children is not acceptable and should never be under any circumstance. Children are known to believe just about everything they see on television, and marketing that tends to brainwash them in any forms should not be allowed. Marketing that involves junk food, to name one, should not be allowed to target kids specifically.