Junk food advertising is like wallpaper in our lives and our children’s lives too. Dr Jenny Norman and Associate Professor Bridget Kelly tell us about their studies to show what effect junk food advertising has on our children.
Popular Aussie brands have become so familiar to our children that they have their own personality.
An Australian study asked children to think about some common brands as a person and talk about what they thought of that ‘person’. They said Cadbury would be ‘popular’ and someone that other children would like. Cadbury’s advertising on television, although said to be targeting families, includes cartoon characters and jingles. KFC, which sponsors elite cricket, was considered ‘sporty’. They said that Coca Cola would be ‘popular’ and other children would make friends with it. This isn’t surprising given the recent ‘Share a Coke’ campaign.
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. Australian children are very familiar with unhealthy brands and the ubiquity could be exerting a normative influence on children. To protect children from advertising, regulation must not be limited to regulating only foods considered 'children's foods'.