This article assesses the nutritional quality of foods that are advertised with familiar children’s characters. It also examines how frequently familiar characters are paired with health messages in these advertisement. A total of 577 food advertisements that were aired on the most popular broadcast and cable channels during 2011 were included in the study. Researchers found that familiar characters were used in 73 percent of food ads targeting children. Trade characters–live or animated figures originally created as part of an advertising campaign that consistently appear in ad campaigns–appeared in more than half of the sampled ads (56%), whereas licensed characters–live or animated figures originally created for entertainment purposes–were found in roughly one of every six ads (17%). Familiar characters were used most frequent in ads for sugared cereals (88%) and restaurants/fast foods (78%). Although the majority (72%) of the ads promoted foods of low nutritional quality, more than half (53%) included a health-related marketing message.
Healthy Characters? An Investigation of Marketing Practices in Children’s Food Advertising
Televised food advertising to children has long been dominated by low-nutrient, high-calorie products. In response to public and policy-maker concern, 16 of the nation’s largest food conglomerates participate in a self-regulatory initiative in an effort to improve the nutritional quality of foods advertised to children, known as the Children’s Food … More
Digital Food and Beverage Marketing Environments in a National Sample of Middle Schools: Implications for Policy and Practice
One promising approach to influence nutrition behavior is to limit food and beverage marketing to children. Children are a lucrative market and schools may be an effective setting in which to intervene. Studies have shown that marketing in schools is prevalent but little is known about digital marketing to students … More
Retailers and other organizations currently use a variety of nutrition standards and recommendations to guide consumers towards healthier, “Better for You”, options. This variety can be confusing to consumers. Healthy Eating Research convened a scientific advisory committee to review existing “Better-For-You” nutrition standards, and analyze their strengths and weaknesses. The … More