Are children too exposed to ads for unhealthy food and are companies taking too much advantage of the windows of opportunity they have to connect with them with advertisements that manipulate their perception of things too much? This is one of the recurring questions that analysts and experts in healthy eating ask themselves and that, as different studies have shown, has an answer that could not be very favorable for the reputation of the companies involved.The last of these studies has focused on determining what kinds of ads children see and how they sell things to them. The advertising that reaches children is, fundamentally, that of the most negative products for their health.
As a study has just shown, prepared by researchers from the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) and the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), self-regulation in the Bosnia and Herzegovina Phone Number List sector does not work. The food product ads most watched by children ages 4-12 are for unhealthy products.Between 2016 and 2018, the years that the researchers took as a basis, the most viewed advertisements at times when there are more children sitting in front of the television were associated with what the researchers call “food products of poor nutritional quality.”Why is this happening? The key is that brands are not playing really fair. “Several principles of the code are repeatedly violated and, in addition, it is not taken into account that the great consumption of advertising by minors occurs outside of protected hours,” explains Mireia Montaña, one of those responsible for the study. In fact, statistics indicate that the little ones continue to watch content outside of the hours set for it.
90% of Spanish boys and girls watch television and 80% do so outside of children’s hours.Other studies had already pointed in that direction. A British one pointed out that half of all the ads that children saw were for junk food and another from the University of Granada that children were too exposed to this type of advertising.Sell fun and happiness In addition, the problem is not only in that those ads appear but also in how those products are presented. Returning to the data from the UOC and Pompey Fabra study, the researchers detected a worrying pattern: the less nutritional value the product has, the higher the presence of “elements that convey ideas related to positive experiences”.The ads sell fun, adventure or happiness, which they link to the food products they are selling.
It is a strategy, true, common in advertising, but one that is especially questionable in this environment because, as the researchers point out, children are very receptive to this type of message.The researchers are not, in fact, the first to point in that direction. Selling junk food as fun and happy to connect with that audience is a recurring trick. In children’s packaging it is one of the recurring elements and studies have shown that it is highly successful.A study from the University of Calgary showed a few years ago that children react much better to things that are decorated and that are striking and fun. It’s what makes a Happy Meal more appealing than a plate of carrots.