by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: Marketing to kids

Mar 17 2008

A ban on marketing food to kids?

Consumers International and the International Obesity Task Force have just proposed a ban on global marketing of food to children that goes much further than the voluntary promises of food product companies like Kraft, Kellogg, and PepsiCo. The proposal calls for:

  • No radio or TV advertising of junk foods (including beverages) from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • No marketing of junk foods on social-networking Web sites and other forms of new media.
  • No gifts and toys to promote junk foods.
  • No use of celebrities to market junk foods.
  • No use of cartoon characters to market junk foods.

Why are they doing this? Because voluntary industry efforts are not working. I wonder how far they will get with this thoughtful and hard-hitting proposal.

Feb 19 2008

Marketing junk food to Hispanic kids

A study from Johns Hopkins has done for Hispanic TV what decades of studies have done for general TV: analyzed the number and content of televised food commercials. Guess what: one-third of food commercials on Spanish-language TV are directed to kids and most of these are for junk foods or sodas. Surprise!

Feb 1 2008

New report on marketing to kids in schools

CSPI has just completed its investigation of the extent of food marketing in the Montgomery County, Maryland, school district. Guess what? There is plenty of it, even in elementary schools:30% of elementary schools use candy, baked goods, soda, fast food, or restaurant food at fundraisers. Guess what? Most of the marketing in junior high and high schools is also for junk foods. And all this is still happening despite excellent wellness policies. We have work to do!

Dec 11 2007

More food industry promises, this time in the U.K.

So ten big food companies have promised to stop marketing to kids under age 12. According to a report about this promise, its purpose is to head off a ban on marketing to kids throughout the European Union. Will they really do it? Will the E.U. fall for this ploy. Let’s all stay tuned.

Dec 6 2007

McDonald’s latest advertising venue: report cards

We have this week’s Advertising Age to thank for telling us about McDonald’s new marketing venue: the covers of report cards! And how’s this for an incentive: kids in this school district in Florida who earn all A’s and B’s, have no more than two absences, or (not even and?) exhibit good behavior are entitled to a free happy meal when they present their report card. Next?

Plenty, apparently. See what the New York Times says about all the other food companies that have figured out creative ways to market to school kids.

Nov 13 2007

British restrictions on TV advertising are not working

Out of the United Kingdom comes news that its new policies designed to restrict food advertising to children are not working. They were not nearly restrictive enough. Most programs watched by young children are not affected by the rules, and food companies have figured out ways to continue business as usual. Lessons to be learned?

Oct 19 2007

Eating Liberally: Cartoons on Healthy Foods?

My Eating Liberally question this week is about whether is makes sense to put cartoons on vegetable packages to encourage kids to eat more healthfully. I think not, of course, but here’s Disney doing just that. Is this a reasonable strategy? Weigh in please.

Much later addition (Dec 10, 2018)

Here’s one I missed, apparently, from September 2007.

LET’S ASK MARION: WHAT WORKS BETTER: THE CARROT, OR THE STICK?

Oct 12 2007

Rep. Markey vs. junk food for kids

Representative Edward Markey (Dem-MA) is making trouble for food companies who market to kids. He wrote letters to a bunch of companies asking them to cease and desist using cartoon characters or marketing to kids under age 12. The results? Some said yes, some said no. Among the “no’s” are Dannon (so much for Stonyfield), Nestle (no relation), and Yum! This, in turn, has led to consternation in the food industry, with much concern that if companies don’t comply with such requests, they will leave the industry open to regulation. Marketing to kids is the food industry’s Achilles heel. When it comes to kids, companies cannot argue personal responsibility. It will be interesting to watch Markey on this one.