Kids' fast food ads emphasize giveaways more than food

Fast-food marketing aimed at children emphasizes giveaways and movie tie-ins much more frequently than ads targeted at adults, according to research published August 28 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by James Sargent and colleagues from the Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth.

The researchers compared ads from fast food companies on children's TV channels such as Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network to those aired for adults. Ads targeted at children emphasized food packaging and street views of the restaurants, whereas adult ads emphasized the images of the food sold there. Nearly 70 percent of children's advertisements included toy giveaways, whereas only 1 percent of ads for adults mentioned giveaways. Audio scripts for adult advertisements emphasized food taste, price and portion size, whereas the children's ads focused on movie tie-ins and free toys.

Previous studies have shown that associating fast food with animated characters can enhance children's perceived food tastes and preference, and exposure to advertising is associated with higher consumption of fast food by children. Marketing guidelines from the Better Business Bureau state that food should be the focus of advertising to children, and foods and meal combinations being advertised should meet certain nutritional criteria.

The study concludes, "Given health concerns about obesity and its relation to fast , enhanced oversight of fast- to children at the local, state and federal level is needed to align advertising to children with health promotion efforts and existing principles of honest and fair marketing to children."

More information: Bernhardt AM, Wilking C, Adachi-Mejia AM, Bergamini E, Marijnissen J, et al. (2013) How Television Fast Food Marketing Aimed at Children Compares with Adult Advertisements. PLoS ONE 8(8): e72479. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0072479

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Familiarity with television fast-food ads linked to obesity

Apr 29, 2012

There is a long-held concern that youths who eat a lot of fast food are at risk for becoming overweight. New research presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Boston shows that greater familiarity ...

Recommended for you

AMA examines economic impact of physicians

5 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Physicians who mainly engage in patient care contribute a total of $1.6 trillion in economic output, according to the American Medical Association (AMA)'s Economic Impact Study.

Less-schooled whites lose longevity, study finds

5 hours ago

Barbara Gentry slowly shifts her heavy frame out of a chair and uses a walker to move the dozen feet to a chair not far from the pool table at the Buford Senior Center. Her hair is white and a cough sometimes interrupts her ...

How to keep your fitness goals on track

5 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The New Year's resolutions many made to get fit have stalled by now. And one expert thinks that's because many people set their goals too high.

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.

User comments