This paper examines how young children interpret depictions of healthy foods (milk and apples) in television advertisements by McDonalds’s and Burger King aired from July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011. A sample of 99 children ages 3 to 7 were shown two still images drawn from advertisements for healthy meals at McDonald’s and Burger King and asked what they saw in the pictures. Researchers found that although the image for each restaurant contained milk, only 52 percent of children made reference to milk when describing the McDonald’s image, and 70 percent mentioned milk when describing the Burger King image. Each image also contained apples; however, the children’s recall of apples was significantly different by restaurant. Although 80 percent of children mentioned apples when describing the McDonald’s image, only 10 percent of children mentioned apples when describing the Burger King image. Conversely, although french fries were not featured in either image, 81 percent of children recalled seeing french fries after viewing the Burger King image.
Children’s Reaction to Depictions of Healthy Foods in Fast-Food Television Advertisements
Children’s Recall of Fast Food Television Advertising—Testing the Adequacy of Food Marketing Regulation
There is increasing concern that food advertising shapes the way children eat and contributes to childhood obesity. The fast food companies McDonald’s and Burger King participate in industry self-regulation, pledging to not engage in deceptive marketing and to market foods and beverages that meet certain nutritional criteria in children’s advertising. … More
This article compares quick-service restaurant (QSR) television advertisements for children’s meals with adult advertisements from the same company to assess whether companies were complying with their self-regulatory pledges. Researchers coded nationally televised advertisements for visual and audio assessments of branding, toy premiums, movie tie-ins, and depictions of food. They found … More
Fast-food companies emphasize toy giveaways and movie tie-ins when marketing to kids on television, which suggests the industry is not abiding by its own pledges regarding child-directed marketing. Learn more about fast-food marketing and share the infographic below with others.
Some legal scholars suggest that kids’ meal advertising constitutes false advertising because of its emphasis on toy premiums and movie tie-ins rather than food. Yet no one has assessed how the target population perceives such advertising. This study examines whether the emphasis on toy premiums and tie-ins in such ads … More