FOOD INDUSTRY STRUGGLES TO MEET PUBLIC'S HEALTH NEEDS
'Holy Grail' of Convenient, Nutritious Products Remains Elusive
SELF-REGULATORY EFFORTS TRIGGER FOOD INDUSTRY DEBATE
CARU Raises Hackles By Tightening Children's Advertising Rules
ANA, DISNEY SUFFER SETBACK IN FIGHT AGAINST CHILDRENS' AD RESTRICTIONS
Court Shifts FCC Case From Washington to Cincinnati
WEB TAKES CENTER STAGE IN BATTLE OVER CHILDREN'S ADS
FCC and ANA Duel Over Use of Web Addresses in TV Commercials
FCC WEB RULE FOR CHILDREN'S SHOWS GOES TO TWO COURTS
Consumer Groups Want It Tougher, Broadcasters Call It Unconstitutional
CARU TARGETS PRODUCT PLACEMENT AND CARTOON ADS
Industry Group Raises Public Profile on Obesity Issue
SOFT-DRINK INDUSTRY ISSUES NEW SCHOOL POLICIES
Moves to Preempt Government Bans on Soda Sales
FOOD INDUSTRY BRACES FOR TWO-DAY FTC HEARING
Trade Group and Critics Announce Preemptive Marketing Strategies
FOOD MARKETERS' SELF-REGULATION CALLED A FAILURE
Clash Between Industry and Advocacy Groups Sets Scene for FTC Conference
MARKETER OBESITY EFFORTS GET LOW CONSUMER MARKS
58% Believe Food Companies Don't Do Enough
FCC COMMISSIONER DECRIES 'COMMERCIALIZATION OF MEDIA'
Rails Against 'Fake News' and 'Relentless Marketing'
SENATOR MOCKS FOOD INDUSTRY EFFORTS TO MONITOR ADS
Criticizes Marketers for Promotions and Tie-ins
FOOD ADVERTISING PUSHED INTO HARSH SPOTLIGHT
CARU Stiffens Guidelines; Faults Burger King and Wrigley Ad Campaigns
KAISER STUDY DOCUMENTS CHILDHOOD MEDIA SATURATION
Sen. Hillary Clinton Uses Data to Criticize Marketers, Media Companies
KRAFT TO STOP ADVERTISING SOME FOODS TO CHILDREN
Marketing Strategy Shifted to Emphasize More Nutritious Products
GROUP CALLS FOR JUNK FOOD AD BAN ON CHILDRENS' SHOWS
Proposed Guidelines Target 18-Year-Olds
GROCERY MAKERS LOBBY AGAINST FOOD ADVERTISING CURBS
Want Better Promotion of Existing Self-Regulation Programs
FOOD MARKETERS DEFEND ADVERTISING PRACTICES
Obesity Statements Delivered to Absentee Congressional Panel
REPORT HITS 'COMMERCIALIZATION OF CHILDHOOD'
Calls for Restrictions on Children-Oriented Advertising
“Ample information and studies [indicate] that television advertising influences the food preferences, purchase requests and diets at least of children under 12 and is associated with the increased rates of obesity among children and youth,” concludes the National Academies of Science’s Institute of Medicine report, billed as the ”most comprehensive review of the scientific studies.”
The report urges the food industry to work voluntarily with the government to forge “an agenda to turn beverage and marketing toward better diets.” But if that cooperation doesn’t yield substantial change within two years, the report calls for legislative action.
“If voluntary efforts related to advertising during children’s programming are unsuccessful in shifting the emphasis away from high-calorie and low-nutrition foods and beverages to advertising of healthful foods and beverages, Congress should enact legislation mandating the shift on both broadcast and cable television,” the report says.
Marketing and food industry officials called the report a "flawed study” and disputed its conclusions. Industry executives contend the report fails to take into account recent changes in food marketing; is based on no new research; and doesn’t explain how food marketing can be a culprit in childhood obesity even as food ads aimed at children are declining while obesity rates among children continues to rise. Moreover, industry executives questioned the constitutionality of any legislation.
Still, their worry may be whether the report will be seen in the same way as the groundbreaking 1964 Surgeon General’s report on tobacco and fuel a new push for legislative action on food advertising. One of the report’s recommendations, in fact, sounded eerily similar to one used in the battle against Joe Camel: Marketers should stop using licensed characters except to promote food and beverages “that support healthful diets.”
Dan Jaffe, executive VP of the Association of National Advertisers, said the legislative recommendation could open the door to similar attacks on unpopular advertising. “It’s an enormously radical proposal that if the advertising is not adequately balanced, the government will step in to force the desired balance. How would that be determined? Based on what? Who would be deciding what is and isn’t balance, what foods are good and which aren’t and based on what?”
Dick O’Brien, executive VP of the Association of American Advertising Agencies, said that based on no new data, the report draws "startling new conclusions and then call[s] for legislation. It is a breathless overreaction.”
Wally S. Snyder, president-CEO of the American Advertising Federation, said the proposed recommendations are inappropriate. “It would come down to stopping truthful advertising to children. That is not the standard we are following,” he said. “They want us to choose good products and bad products, when advertising of all products that is truthful is appropriate.”
Marketplace is responding
The Grocery Manufacturers Association said it shares the Institute’s desire to reduce childhood obesity, but said marketers have already taken steps to implement many of the report’s recommendations. “This report is a compendium of existing research and most of its recommendations are already being done,” said Richard Martin, a GMA spokesman. “The marketplace is already responding and legislation is costly, complicated and really not necessary.
The study, titled “Food Marketing to Children and Youth: Threat or Opportunity,” was requested by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, a critic of food and fast-food advertising.
Today Mr. Harkin called the report a “landmark” study and said it proves “that the onslaught of junk-food marketing is endangering the health of our children. We would like to think that SpongeBob SquarePants, Shrek and the Disney Princesses are likable, kid-friendly characters; but they are being used to manipulate vulnerable children to make unhealthy choices. This must stop. Now it is time to act.”