by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: marketing

Sep 8 2020

Marketing ploy of the week—and for schools, yet

Sigh.

 

According to Business Wire, Kraft Heinz, the company that owns Capri Sun, is donating “5 Million Pouches of CAPRI SUN Filtered Water to School Districts as Schools Turn Off Water Fountains”

The brand apologizes for swapping juice for filtered water and captured reactions of kids in a light-hearted campaign

PITTSBURGH & CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–While every schools’ plan to return looks different this year, kids know that recess will be on recess, masks won’t just be for Halloween and that water fountains will be off limits. CAPRI SUN knows this is a hard time for kids, so to help students have a safe and fun way to get water this school year, the brand is swapping its juice for filtered water. CAPRI SUN is donating 5 million filtered water pouches to schools in the Chicagoland area and Granite City, where its factory is located.

The company is running a sweepstakes to accompany its donations.

Shouldn’t we be happy that the company is donating water, and not the typical Capri Sun sugary drinks?

No.  Why?

  • This is marketing aimed at children (children can’t tell the difference between information and marketing, unless taught).
  • This is marketing a sugary beverage brand to children (children are highly susceptible to this kind of marketing).
  • This is marketing packaged water to children (tap water is drinkable in most places in the U.S.  If not, schools should be providing readily available urns of water).
  • The total value of the sweepstakes prizes is $400 spread across five “winners”(pretty cheap)
  • Capri Sun markets its products as juice drinks (but typically have 10% or 0% juice)

I was curious to see what the company says about its products, and looked up this one.

Doesn’t this look healthy?  Here’s what’s in it (note: concentrates are a euphemism for sugars):

FILTERED WATER; SUGAR; PEAR AND GRAPE JUICE CONCENTRATES; CITRIC ACID; ORANGE, APPLE, AND PINEAPPLE JUICE CONCENTRATES; NATURAL FLAVOR.

One pouch contains 13 grams of added sugars.

These are ultraprocessed sugary drinks, best avoided or consumed only rarely, and never marketed to children.

Aug 24 2020

Coronavirus marketing exploitation of the week: Lays travel chips

 

According to ABC News:

With so many people feeling cooped up due to restrictions in place because of the coronavirus pandemic, potato chip maker Lay’s has developed four new internationally-inspired flavors to satisfy both food and travel cravings alike.

But here’s the real gimmick:

The new flavors won’t be sold in stores.  Anyone wishing to taste one of the new flavors will have to reply to one of the company’s social media posts and tell them which country you’d like to visit.  A bag from the country they choose will be shipped to the lucky winners.

Lays tried this in 2016.  But you could buy those in stores, although not for long evidently.  The Greek Tzatziki flavor is the only one of that lot to make it into this one.

Frito-Lay, of course, is owned by PepsiCo.  So this is Big Food in marketing action.

Jul 24 2020

Weekend reading: health claims in food advertising.

Chefs Best has issued a short, handy guide to making health claims in advertising that will stand up to the Federal Trade Commission’s scrutiny.

The guide divides advertising claims into three categories.

How can you tell if your claim is OK?

First, consult with competent legal counsel. The FTC advertising substantiation policy states, “Objective claims
for products represent, explicitly or by implication, that the advertiser has a reasonable basis supporting these
claims”. It goes on to state, a “reasonable basis” means “objective evidence that supports the claim” and “at a
minimum, an advertiser must have the level of evidence that it says it has.” “If the ad is not specific, the FTC looks
at several factors to determine what level of proof is necessary, including what experts in the field think is needed
to support the claim.”

Good luck with that.  The FTC generally goes along with what the FDA says about health claims.

As for those of us who are the target of health claims: it’s best to remember that health claims are about marketing, not health.

May 4 2020

Tone deaf ad of the week, UK version: Krispie Kreme

Thanks to  Jane Snell for alerting me to the UK’s Krispie Kreme efforts to deal with Covid-19.  It provides a Krispie Kreme Coronavirus Update website.

In addition to delivering surprise doughnut packages, we opened our first drive-thru in Manchester on 16th April. The drive-thru is serving NHS, Police and Fire workers, who will be eligible to receive complimentary hot drinks and one of our three-packs of original glazed doughnuts. We hope to have all nine of our drive-thrus opened by the 27th April, to serve NHS, Police and Fire workers, to support them in the battle against COVID-19.

The Update’s Community page, “Serving Smiles,” says:

We’ve all been asked to do our bit. To stay at home and patiently sit. To social distance. To wash our hands. To clap for carers. To call our grans. Big or small we all have our part to play. And ours? It’s delivering moments of joy each day. Now more than ever you all deserve a treat. And we want to remind you that life can be sweet. So we are back up and running throughout the British Isles. We are here to serve. Here to serve smiles.

It gets better: Krispie Kreme wants you to join its social movement.

The site comes with a Coronavirus Q and A.  I know you will be relieved to see this one:

The CEO says “I want to reassure you that the safety and wellbeing of our staff will always be our No 1 priority.”

Yeah, right.

I don’t see anything here about worker pay, alas.

Or about how eating fewer doughnuts might be a good idea right now.

Apr 20 2020

Tone-deaf food ads of the week: Lucy Sullivan’s collection

Lucy Sullivan, the executive director of Feed the Truth, has been collecting examples of food industry exploitation of the COVID-19 crisis for marketing purposes.

Here are a couple of examples, but click on this link to see the Twitter Thread.

Nov 7 2019

The dairy industry in Asia: a round up

DairyReporter.com, one of those industry newsletters I love getting every day, tracks the international dairy industry and occasionally collects them in one place.  Here is an example.  I never can get over how the dairy industry has worked its way into countries where populations never consumed such products and are largely lactose-intolerant.  The industry has gotten the word out that children grow faster and bigger if they consume dairy foods.  That’s all it takes, and Asia is a huge consumer market.  To wit:

Jul 25 2019

The elderly: a target group for marketing functional foods

In a way, it wouldn’t take much marketing to target this group.”

That’s me, they are talking about.

As a senior citizen, I am deluged with scam requests to fix my Apple computer (I don’t have one), unblock my Social Security checks (they are fine), and deal with my failure to pay appropriate taxes (I do).

Now I’m the target of sellers of functional foods?  Apparently so, says this video.

Functional foods, please recall, are those formulated with added nutrients or other components said to improve health in some way.  You can think of them as dietary supplements added to foods.

Like dietary supplements, functional foods don’t have much evidence backing up their health benefits, particularly because they are largely consumed by people who are already healthy.

Do they do anything beneficial for the elderly?  Show me the evidence, please (and make sure the studies you show me were not funded by the makers of the products that are supposedly beneficial).

The purpose of functional foods?  Marketing, as all of this makes clear.

 VIDEO: How to target the ageing consumer:  Despite seniors showing a strong interest in functional food and supplements, the number of products launched with senior claims in Europe does not reflect the population which means brands are missing out on a huge market, says Mintel. Read more

Feb 11 2019

Food politics issue of the week: corn syrup in beer?

I am not a football fan and missed the Super Bowl but I gather it was a hotbed of food politics due to Bud Light’s Game of Thrones’ commercial accusing competitors of using—horrors—corn syrup in the brewing process.

As Ed Mazza put it (Huffington Post), this has to be the weirdest twitter storm ever.   Corn growers and the Corn Refiners Association versus Bud Light?

Weird, indeed.  Who could possibly care?

Bud Light’s marketing people, I guess.

They love the fuss, and put a full page ad in the New York Times to celebrate.

It says “In the Bud Light Kingdom we love corn too! Corn on the cob, corn bread, popcorn—( just don’t brew with the syrup (what you also call ‘dextrose’)…But, even though corn syrup is less expensive, we brew with rice, along with the finest hops, barley, and water, because I’m the King and it’s not my job to save money.”

Oh please.

To make beer, you need yeast.  To get yeast to grow, you have to feed them some kind of sugar.  This could be corn syrup (corn glucose is called dextrose), some other glucose-containing sugar like high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or sucrose, rice (yeast converts its starch to glucose, or barley treated to convert its starch to maltose (two glucose molecules bonded together) and then to glucose.  Regardless of the source of glucose, yeast metabolizes it to alcohol and characteristic flavor components.

I imagine that adding a bit of corn syrup speeds up the process, but so what?  Bud Light wants you to think that using rice instead of corn syrup makes it better than other beers.

I’m not much of a beer drinker, so I leave that one up to you.

This is about playing on public distrust of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which isn’t even at issue here.

The real problem with corn syrup.  The Corn Refiners Association, which pushes it and HFCS.

We would all be better off eating less sugar(s) of any kind, no matter where they come from.

The documents (thanks largely to The Hagstrom Report)