CHILDREN SEE LESS TV FOOD ADVERTISING IN 2004 THAN IN 1977
FTC Study Finds 33% Drop Compared With Programming 30 Years Ago
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
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
“I don’t want to part of a nanny agency or a nanny state,” FTC Commissioner Thomas B. Leary, a Democrat, said in opening the final day of a two-day workshop examining the role food and fast-food marketing plays in childhood obesity. The conference was sponsored by the FTC and the Department of Health and Human Services.
Harkin's proposed legislation
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, yesterday called for more industry action to rein in ads aimed at children. Mr. Harkin has proposed legislation that would give the FTC additional authority to limit food-related advertising, though it wouldn’t require the commission to take action.
Mr. Leary today said he wasn’t “comfortable” with any move requiring the FTC to decide what foods can or can’t be advertised based on criteria other than whether the advertising is deceptive or unfair. He said voluntary industry action was a better choice for promoting restraint in ad campaigns.
Two sides aren't far apart
Brock Leach, senior vice president for PepsiCo, and Mark H. Berlind, executive vice president of Kraft Foods, said the industry and Mr. Harkin weren’t really very far apart on their desires.
Mr. Berlind said an FTC report showing the number of food ads children see has declined dramatically from 25 years ago isn't the real issue because consumers are demanding healthier products.
"Consumers are telling us loud and clear [that a demand for health products] needs to be addressed,” he said.
Critics at today's workshop session said the food industry hadn’t gone far enough, even though those same critics acknowledged a spate of recent steps by food marketers to launch and advertise more healthy products, such as whole grain cereals and foods with less trans fatty acids. Critics said the industry also has yet to formally address some Web, advergaming and interactive TV marketing in its marketing guidelines even while use by food companies of those ad media is growing.
'Out of control'
“We are feeling optimistic that in the future there will be change, but they haven’t changed yet,” said Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “A lot of food marketing is out of control.”
She said the food industry needs to go beyond the question of whether ads are fairly presented to address “which foods are being marketed to children” and whether those ads are having a negative effect on diet and health.
Dr. Donald Lee Shifrin, who heads the American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on Obesity, said industry promises for a new Ad Council nutrition education campaign won’t be effective.
Tsunami of media messages
Messages educating the family “are lost in the tsunami of media messages on food,” he said. The academy has called for a ban on advertising to children under age 7.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association today formally announced new initiatives, including a ban on product placement in TV shows for children, and marketers and industry representatives at the workshop said progress is already being made on marketing healthier products to children.
“This is the best you can get right now,” said the association's president-CEO, C. Manly Molpus.