A campaign group who target junk food and the way it’s marketed has produced a report marking out some of the dangers. In all it looked at the major UK TV channels and studied close to 750 adverts which were shown in prime time viewing for young people. The findings were quite shocking to some extent, over 10% of them were promoting some sort of junk food. Ranging from fast food outlets, sweets, biscuits or other forms of fast processed food.
The analysis was actually carried out by researchers from the University of Liverpool and they found that the unhealthy food accounted for about 50% of food adverts and 11% of advertising overall. The campaign group who commissioned the study, have protested that children are being bombarded with adverts for the unhealthy food.
There is a simple reason that these companies target prime time viewing and that’s because it works. Children are more likely to be seduced by these adverts and will then turn their persuasive powers towards their parents. The earlier these adverts go out the more likely the parents will succumb to demands and buy the children junk food rather than perhaps a proper meal.
The campaigners want the ban on these products to be extended to 9pm when less children will see them and they are likely to be less effective due to the later hour. It’s a reasonable request, after all there is increasing concern about our children’s health and weight. Also the current situation is simply allowing children to commercially exploited for financial gain. In some senses just targeting TV commercials won’t solve the problem about this direct marketing to our children.
Many kids spend more time on computers and the internet than watching TV in any case. Also the rules and regulations change per country, many Irish children watch UK TV stations by accessing BBC iPlayer from Ireland like this.
Adverts in this format are much more difficult to regulate when children are watching YouTube channels or using tools to access Facebook (despite often blocks by commercial software) – see this video about how it’s done. In this world advertising can be injected into a child’s view in any number of ways, through direct adverts, sponsorship or even product placements in games and movies. Technical Information: – BBC News Links.