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How television fast food marketing aimed at children compares with adult advertisements.

Bernhardt AM, Wilking C, Adachi-Mejia AM, Bergamini E, Marijnissen J, Sargent JD - PLoS ONE (2013)

Bottom Line: All nationally televised advertisements for the top 25 US QSR restaurants from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010 were obtained and viewed to identify those advertising meals for children and these advertisements were compared with adult advertisements from the same companies.For image size comparisons, the diagonal length of the advertisement was compared with the diagonal length of salient food and drink images.Self-regulatory pledges to focus on actual food products instead of toy premiums were not supported by this analysis.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Lebanon, New Hampshire, United States of America.

ABSTRACT

Objectives: Quick service restaurant (QSR) television advertisements for children's meals were compared with adult advertisements from the same companies to assess whether self-regulatory pledges for food advertisements to children had been implemented.

Methods: All nationally televised advertisements for the top 25 US QSR restaurants from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010 were obtained and viewed to identify those advertising meals for children and these advertisements were compared with adult advertisements from the same companies. Content coding included visual and audio assessment of branding, toy premiums, movie tie-ins, and depictions of food. For image size comparisons, the diagonal length of the advertisement was compared with the diagonal length of salient food and drink images.

Results: Almost all of the 92 QSR children's meal advertisements that aired during the study period were attributable to McDonald's (70%) or Burger King (29%); 79% of 25,000 television placements aired on just four channels (Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Disney XD, and Nicktoons). Visual branding was more common in children's advertisements vs. adult advertisements, with food packaging present in 88% vs. 23%, and street view of the QSR restaurant present in 41% vs. 12%. Toy premiums or giveaways were present in 69% vs. 1%, and movie tie-ins present in 55% vs. 14% of children's vs. adult advertisements. Median food image diagonal length was 20% of the advertisement diagonal for children's and 45% for adult advertisements. The audio script for children's advertisements emphasized giveaways and movie tie-ins whereas adult advertisements emphasized food taste, price and portion size.

Conclusions: Children's QSR advertisements emphasized toy giveaways and movie tie-ins rather than food products. Self-regulatory pledges to focus on actual food products instead of toy premiums were not supported by this analysis.

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Distribution for the size of salient food images in television advertisements for Burger King and McDonald’s, by whether the advertisement was aimed at children or adults.Size is measured by the longest diagonal across the largest food image and is reported as the percentage of the screen diagonal. The top and bottom of each box represents interquartile range and the line in the middle of the box represents the median.
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pone-0072479-g001: Distribution for the size of salient food images in television advertisements for Burger King and McDonald’s, by whether the advertisement was aimed at children or adults.Size is measured by the longest diagonal across the largest food image and is reported as the percentage of the screen diagonal. The top and bottom of each box represents interquartile range and the line in the middle of the box represents the median.

Mentions: Food was present in almost all advertisements but drinks were present in a higher proportion of children’s advertisements. A higher proportion of adult ad frames (34%) showed food vs. children’s meal ad frames (26%). Healthy foods, milk and/or apple slices, were present in 78% of children’s advertisements and none of the adult advertisements and accounted for 18% of frames in the children’s meal advertisements. Figure 1 illustrates the significantly smaller size of food images in children’s vs. adult ads with box plots showing the median and interquartile range for food diagonal as a percentage of the screen diagonal in both types of ads. Median food image size was only 20 percent of the screen diagonal in children’s ads compared with 45 percent in adult ads. Drink images also represented a significantly smaller percentage of the screen diagonal for children’s compared to adult advertisements, but the differences were not as large as for food (median 15% vs. 20% respectively).


How television fast food marketing aimed at children compares with adult advertisements.

Bernhardt AM, Wilking C, Adachi-Mejia AM, Bergamini E, Marijnissen J, Sargent JD - PLoS ONE (2013)

Distribution for the size of salient food images in television advertisements for Burger King and McDonald’s, by whether the advertisement was aimed at children or adults.Size is measured by the longest diagonal across the largest food image and is reported as the percentage of the screen diagonal. The top and bottom of each box represents interquartile range and the line in the middle of the box represents the median.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3756061&req=5

pone-0072479-g001: Distribution for the size of salient food images in television advertisements for Burger King and McDonald’s, by whether the advertisement was aimed at children or adults.Size is measured by the longest diagonal across the largest food image and is reported as the percentage of the screen diagonal. The top and bottom of each box represents interquartile range and the line in the middle of the box represents the median.
Mentions: Food was present in almost all advertisements but drinks were present in a higher proportion of children’s advertisements. A higher proportion of adult ad frames (34%) showed food vs. children’s meal ad frames (26%). Healthy foods, milk and/or apple slices, were present in 78% of children’s advertisements and none of the adult advertisements and accounted for 18% of frames in the children’s meal advertisements. Figure 1 illustrates the significantly smaller size of food images in children’s vs. adult ads with box plots showing the median and interquartile range for food diagonal as a percentage of the screen diagonal in both types of ads. Median food image size was only 20 percent of the screen diagonal in children’s ads compared with 45 percent in adult ads. Drink images also represented a significantly smaller percentage of the screen diagonal for children’s compared to adult advertisements, but the differences were not as large as for food (median 15% vs. 20% respectively).

Bottom Line: All nationally televised advertisements for the top 25 US QSR restaurants from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010 were obtained and viewed to identify those advertising meals for children and these advertisements were compared with adult advertisements from the same companies.For image size comparisons, the diagonal length of the advertisement was compared with the diagonal length of salient food and drink images.Self-regulatory pledges to focus on actual food products instead of toy premiums were not supported by this analysis.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Lebanon, New Hampshire, United States of America.

ABSTRACT

Objectives: Quick service restaurant (QSR) television advertisements for children's meals were compared with adult advertisements from the same companies to assess whether self-regulatory pledges for food advertisements to children had been implemented.

Methods: All nationally televised advertisements for the top 25 US QSR restaurants from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010 were obtained and viewed to identify those advertising meals for children and these advertisements were compared with adult advertisements from the same companies. Content coding included visual and audio assessment of branding, toy premiums, movie tie-ins, and depictions of food. For image size comparisons, the diagonal length of the advertisement was compared with the diagonal length of salient food and drink images.

Results: Almost all of the 92 QSR children's meal advertisements that aired during the study period were attributable to McDonald's (70%) or Burger King (29%); 79% of 25,000 television placements aired on just four channels (Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Disney XD, and Nicktoons). Visual branding was more common in children's advertisements vs. adult advertisements, with food packaging present in 88% vs. 23%, and street view of the QSR restaurant present in 41% vs. 12%. Toy premiums or giveaways were present in 69% vs. 1%, and movie tie-ins present in 55% vs. 14% of children's vs. adult advertisements. Median food image diagonal length was 20% of the advertisement diagonal for children's and 45% for adult advertisements. The audio script for children's advertisements emphasized giveaways and movie tie-ins whereas adult advertisements emphasized food taste, price and portion size.

Conclusions: Children's QSR advertisements emphasized toy giveaways and movie tie-ins rather than food products. Self-regulatory pledges to focus on actual food products instead of toy premiums were not supported by this analysis.

Show MeSH