Food marketing toward kids has become an ever growing issue because much of the food that's marketed to kids is unhealthy junk foods like sugary cereal, chips, candy, soda, and fast foods. Parents are in a world of hurt trying to teach their kids good eating habits when they're up against the likes of McDonalds and General Mills. They've got billions to spend on making lifelong customers out of kids. What's more, we're becoming well aware that foods have a real impact on how kids perform at school and in life.
But it used to be television and maybe a few radio ads that parents were up against. But not anymore. The world of junk food marketing is now armed with a host of viral tools to reel in kids. Marian Nestle explored some of the tools companies are using on the Atlantic.
From LuckyCharms site, these multi national conglomerates are using online interactive games, bright colors, and whimsical Web sites in addition to television marketing.
Like many marketers, General Mills and other food companies are rewriting the rules for reaching children in the Internet age. These companies, often selling sugar cereals and junk food, are using multimedia games, online quizzes and cellphone apps to build deep ties with young consumers. And children like Lesly are sharing their messages through e-mail and social networks, effectively acting as marketers.
But who's fault is it? Is it the parents for letting their kids online or is it unscrupulous marketing on the part of these companies. I think it goes both ways. We can't expect the parents of the world to shut kids off from the digital age. But on the other hand, kids should be outside rather than spending every moment they have playing games online. But tricking kids into foods, many of which are seriously unhealthy with Web sites loaded with tons of interactive bells and whistles has gone too far don't cha think?