Product Placements Targeting Kids

August 25, 2011

Marketers are still finding ways to target your kids, with junk foods. Yale Researchers reviewed food adds targeted at kids, find out here

Advertising to kids has taken a major hit recently, with new standards and many companies simply shifting their ads away from kids. A recent Yale University study found that food marketers have done little more than shift their strategies.

When you sit down to watch a movie or TV show with your kids, did you happen to notice the cereal or soda the actors were eating or drinking?! Well yes you can believe your eyes, because the companies that previously pledged not to market “junk foods and drinks” to kids in the form of TV commercials have turned to product placement, according to the study. As subtle as the message might be, the influence is strong.

Yale researchers analyzed Nielsen data and found that 35,000 brand placements had appeared on prime-time television in 2008, and that kids see about 14 traditional ads for food and beverages each day on TV compared to one product placement. American Idol boasted the “most viewed brand” Coca-Cola where kids and adults saw five times as many product placements as they did traditional, paid TV commercials for Coca-Cola products.

Today about one-third of children in the US are overweight or obese. Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages and other processed snack foods puts kids at greater risk for obesity, long-term health problems like diabetes, and cardiovascular disease – and long term ingrained habits that are very difficult to change. Next on the agenda will surely be new rules on product placements as well... The study is set to run in the September issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.