Home Video Vault Video Vault: We’re Not Buying It – A Quick Look At Marketing Aimed At Children

Video Vault: We’re Not Buying It – A Quick Look At Marketing Aimed At Children

by Erika Nicole Kendall

On Weighty Matters, I caught a glimpse of the above video and I’m quite happy to present it to you today. (Subscribers, it’s a short flick but it’s very worth the click. Didn’t mean to rhyme, but it was quite on time. Okay, I’ll stop now.)

Whenever we talk about marketers, their reach out to children and “advertisers,” the phrase “parental responsibility” always comes up…. and don’t get me wrong – I get it. That’s another reason why I appreciate this video – it mentions ways that marketers reach our children without actually doing so in a blatant fashion. Brand placement in kids movies? “Thank you, Pepsi?!” Dude. Just… no.

It’s not about “stop letting your kids watch too much TV” if your ads are plastered in the windows of the grocery stores near a child’s school bus stop. It’s not about “be a parent and stop putting your child in front of a TV every day” if when you take your child out, the cartoon is painted on the slide at the playground. It’s not about my inability to parent if buying soft drinks and carrying around that god-awful plastic bottle has become a status symbol among the students at school. They don’t even like Mountain Dew, but they’ll buy it and carry it around just to let you know they’ve got money to blow… and you don’t, with your poor self.

Suing the NYC Department of Health? Seriously? I wonder if the industry’s displeasure with the law has anything to do with why the USDA prevented NYC from going forward with it.

To someone who is constantly aware of the fact that they used to be a food addict – me – who used to binge on some of these foods… seeing them target the kids is a little nauseating.

So sayeth the video… we’re not buying it.

Are there any other ways marketers reach children that we haven’t mentioned here? Do you think this is excessive? What do you think?

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Erika October 13, 2011 - 11:06 AM

Great article Erika. Here’s my 5-cents on it:

Are there any other ways marketers reach children that we haven’t mentioned here?

a. Vending Machines in Schools

b. Fast food restaurants in Schools

c. On college campus, when I was a freshman back in the day, I lived off the free samples from vendors (i.e. sugar cereals, free energy drinks and sodas, etc.) I was 17 at the time and none of it was healthy.

d. Children menus at family restaurants usually use cartoon characters to promote unhealthy items and reinforce it with the food pryamid. For example, my daughter wanted a burger and fries that had bacon and 2 types of cheese on it. Next to the burger they showed the USDA food pyramid next to it showing that the cheese is dairy, etc.

e. School Lunch – Some schools are changing it to better items. For example my daughter’s school has Maurice salad, turkey chili and strawberry chicken salad on their menus. Yet, hotdogs, fried chicken nuggets and burger nachos still grace the lunch menus. I seriously doubt anyone is teaching about portion control.

Do you think this is excessive? YES!

What do you think?
Knowing this information, it makes me work harder to improve not only my eating habits, but the eating habits of my children. You cannot rely on the schools to teach nutrition. It’s a basic that should be started at home. It will take a proactive parent to start a child on the good path of nutrition. It’s scary to know that 1 in 3 kids will have diabetes or food allergy*. It’s sad the first thing schools cut out here is Physical Education departments.

Bottom line, parents will need to become more proactive and promote active lifestyle and create a nutritional path for their families so they can lead a happy and long healthy life.

* I’m not sure if I could post a link, but I wanted to let you know I got the statistic from a large insurance company childhood obesity report (BCBS).

Eva October 14, 2011 - 12:28 PM

Great article. I don’t think fast food should be allowed to advertise during children’s programming. I think there is a law in Canada that says companies can’t even sell children’s toys during children’s programming.

BTW, in the building where I live, there is a soft drink vending machine, to be fair, it sells water too, but also soft drinks.

Prevention Institute October 19, 2011 - 8:10 PM

Thanks for posting about our video! As you mention, experts agree that junk food is a huge contributor to skyrocketing rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, and even strokes among adults–and increasingly, among children. And food and beverage companies spend billions of dollars promoting unhealthy foods virtually everywhere kids go. The Interagency Working Group on Foods Marketed to Children (IWG) has proposed reasonable nutrition guidelines to help provide a model for companies that market to kids. Unfortunately, the food industry and media companies are working to get Congress to stop the IWG from finalizing these sensible recommendations. When we put children and health first, the plan of action is clear: companies should market the foods that keep kids healthy, not sugary cereals and other junk food. The IWG guidelines will help to do just that. Sign the petition to President Obama here: http://www.preventioninstitute.org/notbuyingit

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