Is anyone still shocked to hear that children are being targeted by fast food advertising on the television?
Yes, I’m sure it didn’t rock your world, but what is shocking is that two of the biggest names in the fast food industry are single-handedly responsible for 99 percent of the ads for children’s meals, shaping what they like to eat and how they consume it! Why should I care? Because as a working mom trying to put a nutritious meal on the dinner table, it’s hard to compete with the barrage of tantalizing messages coming at my children at such a fast pace that by the time dinner is ready, all they are hungry for is the latest toy in the kid’s meal. How can broccoli “trees” and carrot “swords” compete with apple slices so cleverly packaged with the latest movie promo that the characters practically pop out of the plastic?
Here are the key findings from a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study on how TV fast food marketing aimed at children compares with adult advertising:
- 99 percent of children’s meal ads are from McDonald’s and Burger King
- 40 percent (44,062 ads) of McDonald’s ads were aimed at children
- 21 percent (37,210 ads) of Burger King ads were aimed at children
- 79 percent of advertisements aimed at children aired on Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Disney XD and Nicktoons
- 69 percent of ads mentioned toy giveaways
- 55 percent had movie tie-ins for children versus 14 percent in adult advertisements
- 88 percent of ads aimed at children included strong branding images in food packaging compared to 23 percent of ads targeting adults
If you’re not convinced, check out the infographic. I think it will leave you feeling less hungry for a happy meal.