Friday, 26 September 2014

Are You a Fool for Fast Food Ads?

Advertising Promotes Obesity

Advertising, particularly advertising on TV does play a role in making people, especially children obese. When a child watches a show they will see an ad during the commercial break that features a high fat, sugar and/or sodium product. When you think about this, during the 30 minutes the show is on, approximately 22 minutes is dedicated to the actual episode and the rest of the time is filled with ads. With constant exposure to these commercials, children are influenced to eat unhealthy foods. Furthermore, during the show children tend to eat snacks without even thinking about it. In the end, these influences and eating habits increases the likelihood of obesity.

In recent years, marketers and advertiser have gone beyond the promotion of products on just TV and started to use other digital marketing methods. These techniques target teenagers through their cell phones, video games, social media and other mediums.

Advertising and Its Role in Obesity 

In many ways, the individual, parents, food manufacturers and sellers all need to take responsibility for the wellbeing of their health, the public’s health and their children’s health.

Marketers and advertisers do have a role in providing content that is appropriate in promoting healthy lifestyles. With that being said, I do not feel like this has been done. The role of an advertiser is to sell a product and if the target audience is a child they are going to gear the products ad towards the child. This child in response to viewing the ad will then pester their parent or guardian to buy the product. Additionally, it is also the role of the manufacture to produce and develop healthier food options that are low in unhealthy fats, sugars and/or sodium.

Is it Real or is It Delicious and Fun?

Food stylist play a large role in styling food in such a way that it makes it more appealing to the consumer. Products we see in reality do not reflect the product we see in ads or commensals. The reality is, the product being shown in these ads are not as delicious and fun as they are when we buy them ourselves. This is deceptive and not truthful. Advertisers and marketers are selling a glorified version of the product.

A great example of the difference between a stylized product and a product made in reality is the McDonalds campaign were their show the difference in their Quarter Pounder.

Our Responsibility

If changes are to happen people need to be outraged by these ads. When people are outraged to the point of taking action, change typically occurs. Change does not typically happen when people do not speak up and request change. It is our responsibility as the consumer to insist that companies, adversities and manufactures change the way they market their food products. Furthermore, assuming that change does not happen we as the consumer can also take steps to help protect yourself and other against fast food commercials. Some suggestions are:

  • Understand advertising tactics.  For example, stylizing food or using celebs to indorse their product.
  • Thinking before you eat. Are you really hungry and is there a better choice?
  • If you are going to be sitting around for a long period of time, maybe during the 
  • It’s OK to eat fast food just do it the right way and make the right choices when at the counter or drive through.

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