Brand influence on children

An Australian study has highlighted the importance of broadly defining foods advertised to children when developing regulations to protect children from advertising and not limiting regulation to ‘children’s foods’. The study found even brands thought of as more adult brands e.g. Red Rock Deli chips were seen to be cool and exciting by 10-16 year old children. As well, brands that regularly advertise to children on television were shown to be influencing children. Cadbury’s advertising, although said to be targeting families, includes cartoon characters and jingles. When asked to consider Cadbury as a person, children viewed it as ‘popular’ and someone that other children would like. KFC which sponsors elite cricket was considered ‘sporty’. Children perceived that, if it was a person, Coca Cola would be ‘popular’ and other children would make friends with them. Not surprising given one of the recent Coca Cola campaigns was the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign. The study found Australian children are very familiar with unhealthy brands and the ubiquity could be exerting a normative influence on children.

Kelly B, Freeman B, King L, Chapman K, Baur LA, Gill T. The normative power of food promotions: Australian children’s attachments to unhealthy food brands. Public Health Nutrition 2016
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