The Marketing of Unhealthy Foods to Kids or “What I talked about at BEA”
The annual Broadcast Education Association conference in Vegas was a blast (not really). But here is a release on some academic work I spoke about with my colleagues from Ithaca College.
Unethical children’s marketing remains a contentious issue, yet there has been limited research in recent years attempting to analyze and understand the best practices. IMC professor Adam Peruta and Television-Radio professor Jack Powers presented two research papers focusing on children as consumers at the 2012 Broadcast Education Association (BEA) Conference in Las Vegas.
The first paper, “Kid Appeal: Internet food marketing strategies in the promotion of unhealthy foods to children,” modernizes the 2004 Kaiser Family report evaluating the targeting of children in junk food ads. Expanding upon these initial discoveries, Peruta and Powers analyzed these advertisements based on promotional differentiations. They studied variations in graphics, logos, animation, and engagement to reach their conclusion.
Their second paper, “The stuff we sell our kids: A content analysis of TV commercials aimed towards children,” is a content analysis of after-school television commercials, focusing on advertisements shown on Nickelodeon and The Cartoon Network. Due to the large number of food commercials, the study delved into issues of childhood obesity and the nutritional value of the foods advertised.
Peruta was surprised and intrigued by some of his findings. Peruta said, “The number of unhealthy food products advertised on Nickelodeon almost doubles that of The Cartoon Network. The dramatic difference was a shocking but interesting discovery.”
The BEA held its 57th Annual Convention and 10th Annual Festival of Media Arts on April 15-18, 2012 in Las Vegas. With over 200 scheduled conventions and meetings, the BEA Conference is the leading spot for discussions in media innovation.