by Marion Nestle
Nov 19 2014

Progress on ending soda industry marketing to kids? Not much.

The Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity has just released its 2014 Sugary Drink FACTS report.

Screenshot 2014-11-19 17.37.49

Some of the findings:

  • Beverage companies spent $866 million to advertise unhealthy drinks in 2013, and increase since the previous year.
  • Children and teens remain key target audiences for that advertising.
  • Much marketing is done through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and advergame apps.
  • Pepsi spent $16 million on Spanish TV advertising in 2013, up from none in 2010.
  • Dr Pepper Snapple spent $20 million (up from $7 million in 2010) to support its regular sodas.
  • African-American teens watch more than three times as many ads for Coca-Cola as do white kids.

Useful Rudd Center resources:

  • Patricia Katia Murillo

    Pepsi spent $16 million on ‘Spanish’ TV advertising in 2013, up from none in 2010? I guess you mean in Spain — unless you call mainstream TV in the US “English TV”.
    I remember heavy Pepsi advertising in Spanish language TV stations in the US throughout the 90s, featuring Latin American megastars such as Juan Luis Guerra and Shakira. Then I stopped watching the news on those channels, so I wonder when they stopped their advertising.

  • Vik Khanna

    So what? Companies sell. Wow, what an earth shattering revelation.

    Where the parents in all this? My kid watches almost no TV, he’s too busy excelling in 5th grade, becoming a karate champion and an outstanding violinist. When he does watch, it is with his parents who talk to him about the ads, the products, and the companies that produce both.

    Can’t wait to read the diatribes about how government needs to step up and “fix” this.

  • Stefani

    I have to agree with the previous comment, where were the parents during all of this marketing to their children? What do they think about these numbers? Sadly the majority probably do not understand the harm this is having on their child’s future. Parents need to play a bigger role and take a stand against these major companies, they would have the most impact in getting these numbers down.

    It is unfair to market to young children that do not realize they are being manipulated into drinking soda and juice that has no nutritional value and will have a great adverse effects on their health later on. Since children do not have a voice and are not ecucated enough to have an opinion, we need to be advocates for their best interest.

  • Tracy

    The reality of the situation is that parents cannot control what their children see all of the time. There is extensive marketing in schools, at sporting events, on product packages at the store, and now on smart phones and computer games. It is wonderful that you are able to be there for your children and monitor what they see and all of their activities, but what about single parents or parents that need to work two jobs to put food on the table? We should be able to trust that there is some effort from society to protect our children.There has to be a sense of social responsibility from these companies. In agreement with the previous post from Stefani, children do not have a voice, and we MUST be their advocates.
    Advertisements are aimed at children for a reason. This will create brand loyalty that can last a lifetime. Some may say this is smart advertising, but with the childhood obesity level where it is, are we really willing to just let big business do what it wants at the cost of our nation’s health?
    Currently, companies are charged with the task of self-regulating their marketing practices to children. This is clearly not working. There needs to be a change on every level: local, state, and federal. On an international level this has already been done. So, what do you think is holding back the United States from creating stricter regulations?

  • Britta Moore

    The optimist in me wants to take this as a sign that, as consumers begin to steer away from soda, companies are forced to spend more on marketing to try to woo a disillusioned public. But realistically, I wonder if marketing to children will disproportionately increase as companies become more desperate to maintain profits and gain life-long customers. Only time will reveal if this will continue, or if the public will turn against companies who prey on children.

    I agree with other commenters that parents ultimately decide what to purchase for their children at home, but what about items that children consume outside of the home (i.e., at friends’ homes, at child-care centers, at parties, etc.). Sadly, even the most careful parents cannot screen everything that goes into their child’s mouths, especially if children are surrounded by peers consuming foods of minimal nutritional value. The fact that parents need to use care when making food choices, and ideally to educate their children about advertising tactics, does not excuse the behavior of food companies when they target children. This is putting the onus on parents to correct a problem they did not create, rather than setting up a pro-child, pro-parent, pro-health environment.

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