The Influence of Advertising and Marketing to Children’s Food Choices and Diet

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The advertising industrial can be a very competitive industry due to the high

demands of creative and fresh ideas so that a product can hopefully catch the

attention of people. Solely because of this simple reason, the techniques used to

create brand awareness and desire to particular products are getting more

sophisticated and appealing than ever consequently it reach to more people and that

includes even children.

Influence of advertising and marketing to children’s food choice is quite

significant. The influential factors can affect either directly or indirectly.

Television can plays a direct role in affecting children’s choices of

foods. Many child oriented advertising is via television. Food advert on children’s

television is dominated by unhealthy food with no nutritional value. Children are

naïve and gullible, they do not think about how bad or what side effect can caused

by junk foods. It is easier to lure them into the invisible traps of advertisement.

Therefore, it is possible that the children will prefer the unhealthy products

introduced on the advertisement to the “mum’s special”.

Whereas, families and peers indirectly change the children’s choices of

diet. Sometimes, children in school will check out which-is-latest. They might include

some kind of snack in their lunchbox which is said to be popular because of the effort

of advertising. Children likes to follow trends and eventually pester parents to buy it

for them. Many parents will then give in to the situation and allowing this

misconception on their choices of food to be uncorrected.

A study conducted at the University of Liverpool showed that a strong

tendency for children to eat more after watching food adverts on TV. The team of

psychologists conducted their study on a group of children aged between nine and

eleven years, of varying weights and body mass indices. The children were shown a

series of food advertisements and toy advertisements, followed by a cartoon. They

were then allowed to eat food of differing far content at will - ranging from high fat

sweet snacks to low fat savoury foods. Their findings showed a remarkable increase

in consumption after watching the food ads, and this was particularly pronounced in

the heaviest children.If both the above conditions continue, it might lead to some

serious malnutrition and some health problem for example obesity. The effect can be

long term which means it may carries to even until adult stage.

Children and teenagers are computer-savvy, and with majority of

households have children under 15 having access to the internet at home, they’re

easily exposed to advertising through this channel. On the net, advertisement was

introduced in a way that can get tremendous response from the young generations.

Online marketing techniques includes e-cards, cyber game product placement,

screensaver and so on. Among all these, the most appealing to children is the

“advertainment” method. The term derived from the words “advertisement” and

“entertainment” which is obviously stating that advertisement in the form of

entertainment. The true idea behind the concept is to get closer to the children for

branding aspect and rather than sending the straightforward “please buy me”

message. This will later make a wrong impression on the children assuming such

products are “more friendly” and will choose to buy them in their daily life and

become part of the habit in life. The effect may not be obvious but it is indeed


Advertiser might even borrow the fact that children receive information

about nutrition in school. Children may have essential knowledge about nutrition of

food but they still can be easily deceived by the addition information that usually

uses terms that is not known by most people. They are not rational....
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