Food marketing that employs computers and mobile devices to engage young people has exploded in recent years and can directly target and geo-locate children, often without parental knowledge. State Attorneys General (AGs) have authority to protect the public from Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices (UDAP). Digital marketing that bypasses parents and is designed to induce children to purchase food products may be conducive to AG intervention. This study will synthesize state and federal laws related to digital food marketing to provide a roadmap for AG action to protect children from deceptive food marketing. The study will also investigate potential application of state laws beyond UDAP statutes to curb food marketing to children. Building upon previously-conducted state surveys of UDAP statutes, investigators will select ten states for intensive legal analysis. Digital food marketing campaign descriptions will be applied to ten selected states to identify other sources of AG legal authority over food marketing tactics (e.g. contests laws). The preemptive effect of relevant federal laws will also be studied. Commonalities and differences across the ten states will be analyzed to generate a legal framework for AG authority. This will be applied to real world examples of digital and mobile food marketing campaigns to determine how AGs might intervene to protect children from deceptive digital and mobile food marketing across multiple media platforms.
Analyzing the Legal Authority of State Attorneys General to Limit Unfair and Deceptive Digital Food Marketing to Children
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This legal issue brief focuses on “viral” or “word-of-mouth” marketing. Viral marketing campaigns are designed to mask their commercial origin, which raises multiple issues related to protecting consumers, especially young children. These campaigns are used to drive traffic to a firm’s website, Facebook page, or online marketing application. The brief … More
The healthfulness of foods and beverages found in retail food stores differs widely across the United States, both by location of the store as well as by store type. Some communities have limited access to stores that carry healthful staple foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grain-rich foods, and … More