Voluntary effort to shift children’s advertising deemed unsuccessful

Ad news bears: Three years ago, a group of large food and beverage companies launched a voluntary initiative to change their advertising during TV programs favored by children. They were supposed to advertise more healthy foods and drinks, and fewer nutritionally deficient ones. Not surprisingly, the initiative is a failure, according to an independent study commissioned by the California-based group Children Now. The study reports that 72.5% of foods advertised on television during children's programs fall into the poorest nutritional category. Before the initiative began, 84% was. If you are looking for ads about fruits and vegetables, be prepared to wait, and wait, and wait: the authors found that you'd need to watch children's programs for 10 hours before seeing one. In that same time, Junior sees 55 ads for the poorest category of foods and 20 for the medium category. The study also finds fault with the use of "licensed" characters (like Spongebob Squarepants) as promoters of nutritionally barren foods.  The report suggests that it is time for Congress to start regulating advertising to children. A Federal Trade Commission hearing (PDF) will be held on December 15 to examine food and beverage advertising to children. (Science Daily; commentary from Marion Nestle)

2 Responsesto “Voluntary effort to shift children’s advertising deemed unsuccessful”

  1. Is TV doing so much parenting  that the recommendations of advertisers hold more weight than the directives of parents with today's children?  Do kids listen to Spongebob before mom?  Did anyone expect profit seeking corporations to be responsible for their child's nutrition?

    Instead of Congress regulating something else, how about parents regulating what they buy and feed their kids?  I wasn't allowed soda as a kid, period.   Today, I don't care for soda.  Perhaps parents can  educate their kids about what they are allowed to have and what they are not allowed to have in their home rather than lobbying to change everyone's homes.

  2. We have a solution. It's called a rural location and a mountain. No TV here. There is no cable and the mountains block any air or satellite reception. We rent or buy videos that are appropriate. One can place a bit of a filter between the crass advertising and ones ears and eyes. This is also possible on the internet.

    Even with this though it is important to teach children how to deal with advertising, to be skeptical and to learn to filter.

    We have one more advantage - we homeschool our kids so they are not exposed to that trash in public school. This was a very conscious decision. I made careful choices 32 years ago that would lead us to the ability to do that. A little planning goes a long ways.

    We can't expect the advertisers to back down - they are predators looking for prey. We can teach our children not to be bear bait and how to see through the ploys.