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Why do food companies use their best ideas to market the foods that are the worst for kids? They say they care about children’s health, yet they spend billions on campaigns like these. If you have examples of food campaigns that companies should abandon in favor of healthier products, send them to gehlert@bmsg.org.


Coca-Cola targets kids with branded pumpkin stencils

Posted on November 6th, by Heather Gehlert in Wall of Shame. Comments Off on Coca-Cola targets kids with branded pumpkin stencils

Not to be outdone by candy companies marketing to kids on Halloween, Coke encourages those celebrating the holiday to forgo their usual Jack o’ lantern designs for these downloadable soda-themed stencils.


McDonald’s uses McTeacher’s Night fundraiser to infiltrate schools

Posted on May 22nd, by Heather Gehlert in Wall of Shame. Comments Off on McDonald’s uses McTeacher’s Night fundraiser to infiltrate schools

In another example of marketing disguised as philanthropy, McDonald’s hosts an annual “McTeacher’s Night,” in which overworked, underpaid teachers provide several hours of free labor taking orders and flipping burgers. The fast food giant uses the event to draw in students and, ultimately, build brand loyalty among kids. In return, McDonald’s donates a portion of the funds to local schools. The money can be hard for cash-strapped schools to turn down, and the news media often report on the night uncritically, focusing on money raised rather than the threat it poses to kids’ health.


PepsiCo pulls racist, misogynist Mountain Dew ad after widespread criticism

Posted on May 7th, by Heather Gehlert in Wall of Shame. Comments Off on PepsiCo pulls racist, misogynist Mountain Dew ad after widespread criticism

PepsiCo’s video featured a badly battered woman being asked to identify her attacker out of a lineup of black men and a goat. After being taunted and threatened by the goat, the woman ran from the room, screaming, “I can’t ‘do’ this” — a play on words in reference to the brand, Dew.

The ad’s racial stereotypes and making light of violence against women have no place in any advertising, let alone marketing for products targeting young people.

 


Taco Bell Super Bowl ad, pulled in response to consumer concern, ridiculed vegetables

Posted on January 29th, by Heather Gehlert in Wall of Shame. Comments Off on Taco Bell Super Bowl ad, pulled in response to consumer concern, ridiculed vegetables

Responding to widespread concerns from consumers and public health advocates, Taco Bell has done the right thing and agreed to take down an ad that ridiculed vegetables and the people who eat them. Intended for the Super Bowl, an event that adults and kids alike watch, the ad tried to convince people that bringing a veggie tray to game day is “a cop out” and “people will hate you for it.” The ad encouraged partygoers to instead bring 12-packs of tacos, loaded with calories, sodium and saturated fat.


Pepsi’s Live for Now campaign is the Joe Camel of soda marketing to youth

Posted on January 10th, by Heather Gehlert in Wall of Shame. Comments Off on Pepsi’s Live for Now campaign is the Joe Camel of soda marketing to youth

As the public becomes more aware of the health problems tied to soda, they are drinking less of it. And marketers are responding with campaigns to reverse the trend. As the Public Health Advocacy Institute shows, this one from PepsiCo takes advantage of youth vulnerabilities to boost consumption among young people.


Marketers use holidays as excuse to push junk on kids

Posted on January 10th, by Heather Gehlert in Wall of Shame. Comments Off on Marketers use holidays as excuse to push junk on kids

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me … a SpongeBob SquarePants chocolate bar? Companies say promoting candy to kids on holidays is an occasional exemption, but Halloween runs into Christmas, and Christmas into Valentine’s day, and Valentine’s day into Easter. Their “occasional” exemption lasts ¾ of the year. bit.ly/dump-the-junk


Cookie Crisp cereal as sugary as regular cookies

Posted on November 28th, by Heather Gehlert in Wall of Shame. Comments Off on Cookie Crisp cereal as sugary as regular cookies

Cookies are not a breakfast food. Yet this kid-marketed cereal has as much sugar as three Chips Ahoy! cookies. Both have 11 grams of sugar — half the recommended daily amount for kids.

cookie crisp


Sugar: the first ingredient in popular kids’ cereal Apple Jacks

Posted on November 28th, by Heather Gehlert in Wall of Shame. Comments Off on Sugar: the first ingredient in popular kids’ cereal Apple Jacks

In spite of being loaded with sugar, the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative have deemed Apple Jacks a healthy product.


Disney uses loophole to market candy to kids during holidays

Posted on November 28th, by Heather Gehlert in Wall of Shame. Comments Off on Disney uses loophole to market candy to kids during holidays

Public health groups have lauded Disney for discouraging the use of its characters to market junk food to kids. But the company has made an exception for candy marketed during Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Easter or other “special occasions.” Since 25 percent of candy sales happen during these holidays and Christmas, Disney can do better. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has called on Disney’s CEO to close the loophole.


Food giants use Madagascar 3 movie characters to target kids

Posted on November 28th, by Heather Gehlert in Wall of Shame. Comments Off on Food giants use Madagascar 3 movie characters to target kids

A wide range of promotional tie-ins to the DreamWorks movie Madagascar 3 are being used to sell junk foods to kids. Examples include Airheads candy, McDonald’s Happy Meals and Lance cookies and crackers. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has urged Lance and DreamWorks to set nutrition standards for the companies’ marketing of food to children.
lance crackers