Marketing to Children
August 3, 2015
The world of advertising is dramatically affecting our population. In a study by the Rudd Center for Food Policy we see a persistent effort by companies that produce high calorie, low quality sugar foods and beverages to target children.
"Beverage companies have pledged to improve child-directed advertising," said lead researcher Jennifer Harris, PhD, MBA, Director of Marketing Initiatives at the Rudd Center. "But we are not seeing a true decrease in marketing exposure. Instead companies have shifted from traditional media to newer forms that engage youth through rewards for purchasing sugary drinks, community events, cause-related marketing, promotions, product placements, social media, and smartphones."
In 2010, teens viewed 18% more TV adds and heard 48 % more radio adds for energy drinks than adults. From 2008 to 2010, children and teens were exposed to twice the amount of soda adds on TV. It seems that despite a pledge not to target children, these companies have continued the onslaught. Children who view the most TV are at the greatest risk.
Marketing to minorities is a major problem according to the study.
The marketing of all unhealthy food products has been an increasing concern since the deregulation of advertising to children took place in 1984. Children have been inundated with cartoon infomercials for over 30 years now. I can not think of a good reason for the continuance of such a process that allows our children to be misguided in their choices based on a companies desire to sell a poor quality food or beverage for profit. As with cigarettes, alcohol and other known unhealthy products, we should expect that children are not coerced into consuming foods known to hurt them. This is just common sense.
Some common sense regulation is useful,