Posts Tagged ‘targeted marketing’

Holding Big Food Accountable for False Claims of Responsible Marketing to Children

by Michele Simon and Cara Wilking

Looking back at 2013, while the food movement made progress in certain areas (such as school food and GMO labeling), when it comes to exploitative food marketing to children meaningful change remains elusive. Let’s Move director and White House chef Sam Kass recently acknowledged the obvious when he said this issue was “really tough” given how much money is at stake for industry.

All we seem to hear from the major food corporations about marketing to children are self-serving promises and announcements of future changes. As public health lawyers, that got us wondering, who’s making sure even these minimal commitments are being kept? The question is worth exploring if we want to actually improve children’s diets—not just create positive PR buzz for Big Food. With reports of adults ever-deteriorating eating habits in 2013 coupled with appalling teen heart health, the health stakes are too high to just wait for the food industry to do the right thing.

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Clowning Around with Charity: How McDonald’s Exploits Philanthropy and Targets Children

New report from Eat Drink Politics exposes McDonald’s charitable activity as a marketing tool to deflect critics

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Pop quiz: Who do you think funds the hundreds of Ronald McDonald Houses around the nation? McDonald’s right? Sort of, but not really. While McDonald’s gets 100 percent of the brand benefit from Ronald McDonald House Charities, the burger giant only provides about 20 percent of its funding globally. At the local level, it’s closer to ten percent, with some of that money coming from donation boxes at McDonald’s outlets, that is, from customers.

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Nutrition Standards Won’t Fix Big Food’s Worst Child Marketing Tactics

Last month, I participated in an important panel at a childhood obesity conference to discuss the current strategy backed by some advocacy groups: asking industry to market “healthier” foods to children. But as Susan Linn and I recently argued, any marketing to children is harmful, regardless of the product’s nutritional content. Instead of begging corporations to tweak the grams of sugar, fat and salt that these highly processed junk foods contain, we should demand that industry stop exploiting children altogether. Some advocates argue this approach is too radical. But it’s actually far more practical and ultimately more effective because of certain key tactics that industry uses to target children.

Read rest at Corporate Accountability International.

Is a Nutritionism Approach to Marketing to Children the Best We Can Do?

Last week at a childhood obesity conference, I participated in an important panel to discuss what has become a controversial strategy among some advocates for children’s health: calling on industry to market “healthy” food to children.

As Susan Linn and I explained in our recent article, any marketing to children is deceptive and harmful; it doesn’t matter what the product is.

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Top 10 Lies Told by McDonald’s CEO at Annual Shareholder’s Meeting

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Last week at McDonald’s annual shareholder’s meeting, CEO Don Thompson got caught off-guard when a team of 15 advocates, led by Corporate Accountability International, descended upon corporate headquarters to question the fast food leader’s relentless exploitation of children and communities of color.

Read rest at Corporate Accountability International ….

How to Stop Deceptive Food Marketers? Take Them to Court

Last week, Monster Beverage filed an unusual lawsuit against the San Francisco City Attorney’s office to stop an attempt to place restrictions on the company’s highly caffeinated and potentially harmful products aimed at youth. This aggressive move is a form of backlash against using the legal system to hold the food and beverage industry’s accountable for deceptive marketing practices.
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When Will FDA Stand Up to Big Tobacco?

Many food advocates mistakenly believe that we just need to follow in the footsteps of the tobacco control movement and then we will win. It’s certainly true impressive gains have been made in reducing smoking rates in the United States. And the World Health Organization’s global tobacco treaty has tremendous potential to save lives around the world. Nevertheless, the public health crisis caused by tobacco remains quite serious.

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Ridding Schools of Fast Food, Junk Food, and Soda Pushers

With the passage of the Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act of 2010, in addition to improving school meals, Congress required the U.S. Department of Agriculture to update nearly non-existent nutrition standards on so-called competitive foods. These are foods sold outside the school meal program, including fast food items sold alongside the reimbursable lunches, and soft drinks and junk food sold in vending machines, school stores, fundraisers, and the like.

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Michele Simon’s Upcoming Speaking Events

Hope to see you at one of these venues. To have me speak in your area, contact me here.

New York City
March 20: CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College
Force Fed: How Food Industry Disinformation Undermines Public Health
For details, see PDF flyer.

Boston
March 21-23
Consuming Kids Summit: Reclaiming Childhood from Corporate Marketers
Is This Even Legal? Demystifying the Laws on Marketing to Children (panel)
Slowing Down the Clown: Policy Tools to Protect Children from Fast Food in Your Area (workshop)

Southern California
April 9: Urban and Environmental Policy Institute, Occidental College, Los Angeles
Force Fed: Deconstructing Food Industry Lies
Class begins at 1:30pm; Room: Lower Herrick.

June 18-20: 7th Biennial Childhood Obesity Conference, Long Beach
Marketing healthy foods to children: Do the ends justify the means? (panel discussion)

Retailer Just Says No to Exploiting Children

MOM's Organic Market bans products targeting children

Sign at Mom’s Organic Market

As the frequent bearer of bad news about the food industry, I am thrilled to share a positive story. Last month, MOM’s Organic Market, a small retail chain based in the Baltimore area, announced it would stop carrying products featuring children’s cartoon characters:

Products ranging from Dora the Explorer frozen soybeans to Elmo juice boxes will be discontinued and replaced with organic alternatives in cartoon-free packaging.

Company CEO Scott Nash blogged last August about how his young daughter begged for a cereal she never tasted because of “Clifford the Big Red Dog” on the box, putting the store’s policy into motion. The company sent me this list of discontinued items, which includes numerous Earth’s Best products, along with a few other natural food companies.

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Contact Michele Simon: michele@eatdrinkpolitics.com

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