Blogger Ernie Cox

Food Marketing to Children & Teens

A new report from the Federal Trade Commission entitled Marketing Food To Children and Adolescents: A Review of Industry Expenditures, Activities, and Self-Regulation: A Federal Trade Commission Report To Congress has been made public. The press release and full report (PDF) are available online. Some highlights from mandatory reporting from 44 companies in the year 2006:

  • spending was $1,618,600,000.
  • 63% of this total was used to market fast food, carbonated beverages, or breakfast cereals.
  • television is still the predominate advertising medium intended for children (46%).
  • new media (Internet, text, email, viral web) accounted for only 5% of youth marketing expenses – keep in mind it is cheaper to produce this type of media.
  • spending on packaging (e.g. cereal boxes) and in-store displays equaled 12%.
  • cross promotion was used for as many as 80 movies intended for youth. This advertising technique, which includes fast food tie-ins, toys, and Internet games is growing in its sophistication.
  • The report includes information about industry self-regulation to improve advertising for healthy foods and recommends the reduction of advertising for “junk food.”

Lots more to read about in this report. The evolving media environment is creating incredible opportunities for librarians – we’re not alone though. Kids are receiving information (including advertising) from all directions. Helping them develop a literacy of all these mediums and how they work (and who controls and uses them) continues to be a crucial part of our teaching mission.

Posted by Ernie Cox

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