Published: April 2015

ID #: 1082

Journal: Obes Rev

Authors: Kraak VI, Story M

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This study explored diverse stakeholders’ accountability expectations and actions for industry policies and practices that used cartoon brand mascots and media characters to market foods and beverages to American children. A companion paper examined how media characters may influence diet-related outcomes for children younger than 12 years. Investigators used a four-step accountability framework to identify accountability gaps and actions that stakeholders can take to align marketing practices with healthy food environments. The evaluation found that between 2000 and 2015, no progress was made by the U.S. government to appoint an independent body to hold industry accountable for brand mascot and media character marketing practices. Moderate progress was made by stakeholders for taking the account (assessment) and sharing the account (communication), limited progress was made for holding industry and government agencies to account (recognition and enforcement), and limited progress was made by all stakeholders in responding to the account (strengthening accountability structures). The evaluation identified two important accountability gaps, including the need for an independent or government body to establish clear performance expectations with timelines and incentives for companies to implement best-practice marketing, and the need for disincentives or consequences for company underperformance or non-participation in self-regulatory programs.

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