Advertising to children has become a tricky topic in the media lately, especially when it comes to how food is being presented. According to the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, the average U.S child sees approximately 13 food commercials every day only on the television (“Food Marketing to Youth”, 2013). However, children are now subject to advertisements on the Internet as well. Today’s children consume multiple types of media every day, and spend about 44.5 hours per week infront of their computer screens, television, and gaming screens than any other activities other than sleeping (“Impact of Food Advertising”, n.d.).
This Case in Point presents the issue of unhealthy foods, specifically companies like Kraft Foods, General Mills, and Kellogg, who’s advertisements have historically been major parts of children entertainment. These companies have acted upon the increasing concerns of the effects of food advertisements on childhood obesity, and have decided to cut back on their Ads on both television and the on the Internet. According to the American Psychological Association, there is a direct link between food industry advertising that targets children and the increase of childhood obesity (“Impact of Food Advertising, n.d.). Because of facts like this, and increasing concern for the matter, it was a great move by these large companies to pull a majority of their advertisements.
It is extremely hard to fight facts when they are presented by respected organizations like the Center for Science in the Public Interest. I believe that this was first of all an effort for the companies to look good in the public eye. That being said, I also believe that this was a necessary step towards considering the audience. The book states that justice is required when considering society’s most vulnerable. In this case, children are the most vulnerable target market (Plaisance, 2014). The messages that have been previously presented to children encourage them to pester their parents for products, promotes snacking in between meals, and portrays positive outcomes for consuming these unhealthy foods. To them, consuming these foods is portrayed as cool, fun, and exciting (“Food Marketing to Youth, 2013). What is not portrayed to them is the consequences of consuming these foods. It is obvious that companies are not willing to advertise the negative effects of their products, so they will now have to either pull advertisements or start creating products that are healthier in order to advertise to the same audience.
Plaisance, P. L. (2014). Media ethics: Key principles for responsible practice. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications, Inc.
(n.d.) The impact of food advertising on childhood obesity. Retrieved from:http://www.apa.org/topics/kids-media/food.aspx
(2013). Food marketing to youth. Retrieved from:http://www.yaleruddcenter.org/what_we_do.aspx?id=4
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