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Born to buy: How advertising targets young consumers Dr Emma Boyland Biopsychology Research Group Liverpool Obesity Research Network University of Liverpool.

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Presentation on theme: "Born to buy: How advertising targets young consumers Dr Emma Boyland Biopsychology Research Group Liverpool Obesity Research Network University of Liverpool."— Presentation transcript:

1 Born to buy: How advertising targets young consumers Dr Emma Boyland Biopsychology Research Group Liverpool Obesity Research Network University of Liverpool


3 Television and film Programme sponsorship Product Placement

4 Internet – Viral Marketing

5 Internet advergaming

6 Event sponsorship

7 TELEVISION FOOD ADVERTISING The nature and extent of children’s exposure

8 Current picture – extent and nature of food advertising on UK TV in 2008 14 most popular commercial channels chosen: ITV Channel Four Five Nickelodeon Cartoon Network Jetix CiTV 4 Music (formerly The Hits) Smash Hits MTV Sky One Sky Sports 1 E4 Boomerang

9 Categorising the foods Core foods Bread (inc. rice, pasta, noodles) Low sugar and high fibre breakfast cereals Fruit and fruit products (no added sugar) Vegetables and vegetable products (no added sugar) Low fat/reduced fat milk, yoghurt, cheese, meat and meat alternatives (not crumbed or battered) Core foods combined (inc frozen meals and sandwiches if less than 10g fat per serving) Baby foods (excl. milk formulae) Bottled water Non-core foods High sugar/low fibre breakfast cereals Crumbed/battered meat and meat alternatives Cakes and biscuits Snack foods (e.g. crisps, cereal bars) Fruit juice and fruit drinks, frozen/fried potato products Full cream milk, yoghurt, dairy desserts, cheese, ice cream, chocolate and confectionery Fast food restaurants, High sugar/fat/salt spreads Sugar sweetened drinks and alcohol Miscellaneous = vitamins and supplements, tea and coffee, supermarkets advertising core foods/non-core foods/non-specified e.g. for non food items or not clearly core or non-core, baby and toddler milk formulae.

10 Key findings – proportion of ads for food

11 Key findings – types of foods advertised

12 Key findings – categories of foods advertised

13 Examples of inter-channel variation ITV Cartoon Network Sky Sports OneNickelodeon

14 Differences between peak and non-peak children’s viewing periods


16 Persuasive appeals used in food adverts aimed at children

17 Promotional Characters Celebrity endorsementBrand equity characters

18 Promotional Characters Licensed characters

19 Premium offers/giveaways


21 The New Legislation Ofcom Television Advertising of Food and Drink Products to Children: Final Statement (22 nd February 2007): PHASE 1 (April 2007): Comprised a total ban on HFSS adverts around programmes aimed at children 4-9 years. Children’s channels required to scale back HFSS advertising to 75% of 2005 levels. PHASE 2 (January 2008): The ban extended to children aged 4-15 years and HFSS advertising on children’s channels scaled back to 50% of 2005 levels. PHASE 3 (January 2009): Will ban all HFSS advertising on dedicated children’s channels.

22 Determining Who Programmes Are Specifically Aimed At Use of the BARB 120 Index to determine: ‘...programmes of particular appeal to children under 16’ Which? Consultation Response (2006) BARB 120 index is based on the proportion of children in the audience rather than actual viewing figures, so if a programme is also popular with adults it is unlikely to reach 120 on the index even if over a million children are watching!

23 Loopholes in the law Brand advertising is not included in the legislation because of the practical difficulties of doing so. Use of brand equity characters is not regulated. Use of celebrities to promote foods only prohibited if the celebrity ‘is of particular appeal to children’. Representation of Happy Meal altered to pass nutritional profiling model.


25 Television and energy intake Television viewing has been associated with: Increased meal frequency (Stroebele & Castro, 2004). Fast food consumption (Taveras et al., 2006). Snacking (Snoek et al., 2006; Thomson et al., 2006). Increased intake of dietary fat (Epstein et al., 2005; Miller et al., 2008). Lower intake of fruit and vegetables (Boynton-Jarrett et al., 2003).

26 Recent studies – brand preference (Robinson et al., 2007) Children tasted 5 pairs of identical foods and beverages, one item was in packaging from McDonalds and the other item was in matched but non-branded packaging They were asked if the two foods tasted the same or if one of the foods tasted better than the other Children preferred the taste of food and drink items if they thought they were from McDonalds What effects do adverts have?

27 Our studies at the University of Liverpool – food advertising and actual intake Condition One 10 food adverts + cartoon Condition Two 10 non-food adverts + cartoon Advert recall/recognition test Ad libitum Food Intake Measured Height and weight measured at final visit Low FatHigh Fat Low Fat High Fat Low Energy SavourySavoury Sweet Sweet Density

28 Key findings: Halford et al., 2004 Appetite All children increased intake of SW and HFSAV foods after food ads. OW and OB children recognised more FA than TA, and more FA than NW children. Recognition of food ads correlated with amount eaten after those ads.

29 Creating Brand Preference in Children (Consumer International, 2004) 6 months: Forming mental images of corporate logos and mascots. 2 years: Children may already have beliefs about specific brands. 3 years: Already making specific requests for brand name products. Can identify brand names & logos especially with cartoon characters. Lifetime: A lifetime consumer in the US is worth an estimated $100,000 to a retailer. Children start to express self-care activities including food choice between ages of 3-8 and these are stable by 9-11 years (Kennedy, 2000). Brand-building must therefore start in toddler-hood (Story & French, 2004).

30 Find out more To find out more about this research or any of the issues discussed contact: Emma Boyland Kissileff Human Ingestive Behaviour Laboratory, University of Liverpool Telephone: 0151 794 1455 Email:

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