Food companies market children’s junk food high in sugar and low in nutrients to parents by using subtle messages of family bonding, according to a study from Dartmouth College. Almost 75% of total air time for ads featuring children’s sugar-sweetened drinks targeted parents. All of the ads for this junk food included messages about nutrition or health benefits, even though the products are actually linked to obesity, dental decay, and other health problems. The researchers conclude, “This marketing strategy consists of a one-two punch, with the children’s ads aiming to increase the likelihood of a purchase request from the child, and the parent advertising aiming to undermine the parent’s ability to say ‘no’ to the request.”
In Perspective: Honestly, doesn’t this go beyond the notion of “buyer beware” and border on criminal activity?!
Emond J, Smith M, Mathur S, et al: Children’s food and beverage promotion on television to parents. Pediatrics 2015;November 9th.