Food companies are increasingly cooking up their own lesson plans to promote products to children. It finds that many of the curriculum packs produced by companies contain misleading or incorrect information. The Children's Food Campaign came across packs teaching children that they should include fatty or sugary food as part of their breakfast; that overweight children should not eat less food; and that soft drinks are made with “gooditives”, an invented term to put a positive spin on artificial additives(Raphael 1993 pp. 38).
This paper discusses why it is argued that the advertsing of certain foods aimed at children should be controlled. Moreover it also discusses if the current partial ban on the advertising on certain foods aimed at children is likely to positively impact on their diet and what further measures would be recommended.
Marketing to children
Television commercials have a huge impact on how it affects children. Commercials are the biggest form of advertisement geared toward children. "Children between the ages of two and eleven view well over 20,000 television commercials yearly, and that breaks down to 150 to 200 hours" (MediaFamily, 1998). Television advertisements geared towards children have the biggest market by far. "The advertising market in 1997 showed that children under twelve years of age spent well over twenty-four million dollars of their own money on products they saw on television" (Kanner & Kasser, 2000). Kanner and Kasser go on to say that advertisers have even hired psychologists as consultants to help the advertisers come up with fine-tuned commercials that attract children (2000). In 1999, a group of psychologists wrote to the American Psychological Association asking them to restrict the use of psychological research by advertisers to help sell their products to children. This letter also called for, "an ongoing campaign to probe, review and confront the use of psychological research in advertising and marketing to children" (Hays 1999 p. C6). "Some child advertisers boldly admit that the commercials they use exploit children and create conflicts within the family" (Kanner & Kasser, 2000). Kanner and Kasser also say that, advertisers work very hard to increase their products "nag factor". This term often refers to how often children pressure their parents to buy the item they saw advertised on television (2000). Advertisers also sensationalize products, adding to the product fantasy world. Nike and Reebok have aired campaigns in recent years showing athletes performing unnatural feats while wearing the "right" shoes. Food makers have turned to colored and flavored foods. Ore-Ida, a unit of Heinz, appeals to children with blue French fries in cinnamon and chocolate flavors. Children can dip these fries into Heinz's new "Mystery Color Ketchup" (Strasburger 2001 pp. 185-187). Researcher Victor Strasburger (2001) found that junk food advertising "is very effective in increasing the children's requests for 'junk food' and for trips to fast food restaurants and in changing the fundamental views of healthy nutrition."
Strasburger (2001 pp. 185-187) notes the relationship between food advertisements, unhealthy eating practices, and obesity: "More than 50% of American ...