Thursday, March 26, 2009

Nutrition and Advertising Aimed at Children

For anyone wondering if advertising to children pays off all you need to do is look at the the indoor playgrounds at McDonalds and the cartoon characters adorning cold cereal boxes. The advertising industry understands the power that children have as consumers and that is why they aggressively market their products to children.

Despite not having excessive disposable income, children and adolescents influence the purchasing choices their parents make. This factor is referred to as “pester power” by marketers. They are also marketed to at an early age because advertisers understand that children are future adult consumers. The sooner a marketer can develop product recognition and loyalty the more money in makes them in the long run.

To familiarize myself with this topic I thought I'd do some practical research. I have a lot of kids but we don't have cable TV and my kids seldom watch television. It's been a long time since I've watched cartoons so I checked them out recently to see what kind of advertising was associated with them. Side note-After seeing the kind of cartoons people watch today I made the following post entitled Ugly Cartoon Characters on my other blog.

Some of the research I looked into showed that kids actually watch less TV on Saturday mornings than they used to years ago, but they now watch more prime time television. I can't say I blame companies for advertising to kids, but the problem is most of their products are for cold cereal, pop, candy, and other high calorie and low nutrient foods. You just don't see the same bright colorful packaging and emphasis on foods like whole grains and fruits and vegetables. I'm not the kind of person who complains about this and expects the government to make excessive rules about advertising, but I do think parents should be aware of the marketing efforts being directed at their kids since childhood obesity is more prevalent than it has ever been before.