Guess What: Advertising To Kids Sells Food Products

The Lempert Report
February 28, 2019

A new study told us what we already knew.

In a recent blog post, my friend Marion Nestle said that "It never occurred to me that we needed more research to prove that advertising to kids makes them want food products, pester their parents to buy the products, say they like the products, and actually eat the products."  That was the conclusion of a hugely important study from the Institute of Medicine in 2006.

She is talking about the results of a study, Exposure to Child-Directed TV Advertising and Preschoolers. Intake of Advertised Cereals. Published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, this past December.

The authors measured whether exposure to TV advertisements for kids' breakfast cereals affected pre-schoolers' intake of those cereals.  No surprise, Nestle says. It did.

The study points to the ads for Cocoa Pebbles and Fruity Pebbles seem particularly effective.

The authors pointed out that food companies say they are no longer marketing to children under the age of six. Nestle says that ˜obviously, they still are. This is what parents are up against. "What to do?" she asks? "Turn off the TV! Call for regulation!"