Welcome to our first-ever Q&A Thursday session with Jacob and Orlagh. This week it’s all about target marketing, in particular how companies target children in their branding, social ads, and YouTube channels. The Q&A brings to light the brands promoting HFSS products to children. HFSS products are food products high in fats, salt, and sugar. In 2019 an online study was conducted by the advertisement standards authority (ASA). The study found that out of 41,030 adverts targeted towards children, 2.3% of them promoted HFSS products.
In the UK, brands are prohibited by law to promote HFSS products on a platform that specifically appeals to children or targets children. HFSS rules also prohibit advertising to an audience where children under the age of 16 are more than 25%. Breaching the laws for promoting HFSS products can lead to the advertisement getting removed.
The ASA also found that eight well-known family brands were targeting children channels on YouTube to promote HFSS products. ASDA, Lidl, KFC, Kellogg’s, M&S, Pringles, and KP snacks were all found to be promoting unhealthy products. Out of the 87 channels monitored, 55 had adverts promoting HFSS products. A total of 490 HFSS adverts got found on these channels.
Below are some questions we will discuss within the Q&A. We would love to hear your opinions. Please comment below your answers to our questions.
Is there a positive behind advertising to children?
Subway, an established and well-known fast-food restaurant, attempted to promote healthy eating choices over three years in 2014. The brand invested $41 million in child marketing on channels such as tv, digital marketing, and merchandise. The campaign aimed to change children’s food preferences. New children’s meals had no more than 600 calories and integrated more fruit and vegetables into each meal.
What are the dangers of promoting HFSS products to children?
Children are impressionable when it comes to marketing. The use of bright colours and cartoon characters on packaging can influence a child’s choice of what they eat. Everyone reacts to advertising differently. Studies show that those at risk of obesity show a strong reward response in the brain when they see images of fast food. Indicaticating that some individuals are more vulnerable to HFSS advertainment than others. Brands promoting such products to children create a desire for unhealthy food at a young age. Which can influence a child’s eating habits later in life?
The continuous consumption of HFSS products in later life can lead to health implications. These include the risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers.
Is child marketing unethical?
The debate concerning ethics behind targeting ads to children is on-going. Some view children advertisements for brands promoting healthy food as an excellent way to influence children to eat healthily. However, others may view that it’s wrong that brands take advantage of a child’s vulnerability to an advert.
Each week we will discuss a new topic, if you have any question, you would like us to talk about please comment it in the comment section below.