WASHINGTON - July 19 - Statement of CCFC’s Dr. Susan Linn on the Kaiser Family Foundation’s New Report, It’s Child’s Play: Advergaming and the Online Marketing of Food to Children
This study demonstrates the extent to which marketers have expanded beyond television commercials and are using the web to inundate children with seductive junk food marketing. By disguising their ads as entertainment, the food industry bypasses parents by luring children to commercial websites. Advergaming encourages children to stick around for much longer than a thirty-second commercial. At the same time, kids are seduced into becoming cogs in the marketing machine as companies urge them to promote websites and products to their friends.
Once again, it is clear that, when it comes to marketing to children, self-regulation has failed. Only 18% of websites studied adhere to CARU’s recommendations for “ad breaks” which are supposed to clearly delineate ads from content. An industry that fails to meet even its own minimal standards is one that needs government oversight. Until that happens, the food industry will continue to use new technologies—and any means at its disposal—to make an end run around parents and market unhealthy food to children.