While adults are tempted by close up shots of a burger or salad, fast food companies use toys and movie tie-ins to reel in kids. This and other interesting findings are from a recent article published in PLos entitled How Television Fast Food Marketing Aimed at Children Compares with Adult Advertisements.
Here are some interesting stats:
- 99% of fast food commercials aired during the study period were for McDonald’s and Burger King
- 4 out of 5 commercials aired on 4 primary channels – Cartoon Network, Disney, Nickelodeon, and Nicktoons.
- Toy giveaways were shown in 69% of the kid commercials vs. virtually none in adult commercials.
- Movie tie-ins accounted for over half the children’s commercials vs just 14% for adult commercials.
What can we learn from this?
- Marketing to kids is aggressive, pushes all the “right” buttons, and leaves parents a lot of work to undo the damage done.
- Fast food companies have a 2 pronged strategy to turn our kids into “lifers” (life long loyal brand advocates) – lure them in with toy bribes and then get them used to the food.
- Despite assurances that the industry can self regulate by not promoting unhealthy foods in advertising to children, having the toys become the focus of the ads seems to be a very effective workaround. It obviously does not solve the problem
How do you manage your child’s expectations when it comes to fast food?