Purpose: This study aims to fill in the above-mentioned gap by looking at both children’s understanding of advertising and product cues during decision-making. Currently, it is assumed that understanding of advertisements’ persuasive intent represents the sole factor that children consider during decision-making, which overlooks the role of intrinsic product cues (taste or healthiness) and more complex interaction between the latter and the perceived persuasive intent. Design/methodology/approach: An experiment with children (of ages 7-13 years) and a survey of their parents were carried out. Findings: When exposed to an advertisement, children exhibited less favorable food preferences when they grasped the advertisement’s intended persuasive intent and evaluated the product as less healthy. Participants who did not believe that the advertisement aimed to influence them and rated the product as healthy, exhibited more favorable intention to consume the advertised snack. Research limitations/implications: This study shows that persuasive intent and healthiness product cues are used simultaneously by young consumers and need to be considered in future research to provide more in-depth understanding of children’s decision-making. Originality/value: The findings highlight the importance of previously overlooked intrinsic product cues and the need to consider both persuasive intent and product cue evaluations to better understand why children may exhibit less healthy food choices.