Food Marketing and Kids – Always A Popular Topic

June 16, 2008 at 12:03 am 4 comments

The mix of food marketing and ethics when it comes to advertising to children tends to always be a popular topic on the social marketing list serv. And, the topic pops up every once and a while in the news too.

If you have been following this issue, and honestly, I have been following it some, but I don’t claim to be an expert on it. So, I’m curious to get others’ thoughts.

Food. Children. Marketing. Advertising. Social Marketing. Ethics. –> Please share your thoughts in the comments. I am providing some questions as prompts, and will post again a summary of the responses and what I discover.

Cases

Last spring and summer, there was much ado about Shrek and his character endorsing various unhealthy food products.

Again, there was a response when McDonald’s advertised by sponsoring report cards and giving achieving students special McDonald offers.

Articles

Fundamental Shift in Making and Marketing Snacks to Kids, MarketingProfs June 11, 200

Sweet Surrender, Washington Post, May 22, 2008

Junk Food Marketing Linked to Child Obesity, Lancaster Farming, May 23, 2008

Shrek: He’s Big, Green and Promoting Junk Food, MSNBC, April 25, 2007

Feel free to leave links to more articles/cases in the comments =) I know there’s a ton of news and literature out there.

Questions

  • Where has this issue been and where is it headed?
  • Has progress been made? What does ‘progress’ mean?
  • Is this an issue or is it over-reaction?
  • Are there boundaries when marketing food to children and what are those boundaries?
  • How is this sector of the industry changing?

Thanks ya’ll! Look forward to reading your insights!


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Entry filed under: Case Studies and New Orgs/Campaigns, Experience This?, Interesting Articles, Social Marketing. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Social Media Highlight: Digg…Can you add an 8th category termed ‘social good?’ Are You a Change-Agent? User-Experience Inspires Environmental Change

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Vanessa  |  June 16, 2008 at 4:33 am

    I think that the issue of food marketing to children has moved past pointing to the food marketing industry as the bad guy. There is a recognition there are several competing factors. I think that progress has been made in so far as there has been an attempt to involve the food industry in addressing the problem and there has been at least a degree of reciprocation on the industry’s part.

    I think that it continues to be a valid issue. However, I think there is a greater need for education for both children and parents to be knowledgeable enough to resist the power of marketing. One such media literacy program is Media Smart Youth. Media Smart Youth is one of three curricula targeted for chlidren that is recommended by a childhood obesity prevention program targeted for parents. That program is called We Can!

    I actually think that there is room to introduce an environmental argument for altering marketing of unhealthy foods to children. One could make the argument that junk food packaging adds to litter. I believe that the argument is stronger when you consider the concentration of convenience stores in poor neighborhoods that sell these unhealthy products and the litter you often see in the streets from chips and the like.

    Greater acceptance of corporate social responsibility will continue to provide a public relations and economic motives for continued industry involvement.

    Reply
  • 2. socialbutterfly4change  |  June 17, 2008 at 4:20 am

    FYI, Jacob Morgan just sent me a shout on Digg about Pepsi having its own carnival ride for kids…the kids in the picture look about 3. Interested in hearing your thoughts! Here’s the link: http://snipurl.com/2jkmj

    Does it cross the boundary? What is the boundary?

    Reply
  • 3. James Walker  |  June 17, 2008 at 4:30 am

    Hey there,

    Thanks for posting this. I haven’t been following this issue too much, but I did read a few of the stories you linked above when they first ran.

    I don’t know that much progress has been made, and I’m not sure that there will be too much progress in the future.

    With the Shrek issue, I think that there is a bit of overracting taking place. No matter who it is, Shrek or any other characters, kids like candy and fast food. They always have and forever will love McDonald’s.

    I do, however, think McDonald’s went too far when they began sponsoring report cards.

    Reply
  • 4. Lisa @ Corporate Babysitter  |  June 17, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    You can find lots of thoughts on this issue over at my blog, Corporate Babysitter. Although I don’t write a lot about food marketing, many of the issues we discuss around marketing to children apply.

    Seems to me that the carnival ride for kids probably violates Pepsi’s pledge to not market to kids under 12, don’t you think?

    See http://www.pepsico.com/PEP_Citizenship/HealthWellness/Philosophy/CARUPEPPLedge.pdf

    Reply

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