Urge Nickelodeon to stop marketing junk food to kids

Nickelodeon is the largest entertainment company for kids. It markets and advertises food to children through television, its websites, games, toy giveaways with fast-food meals, and the use of its characters to promote foods.

On Nickelodeon, ads for unhealthy foods have decreased only modestly in recent years from about 80% of food ads in 2008 to 70% in 2012, according to a study from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Nickelodeon addresses the licensing of its characters, but not its television advertising or websites, which are the primary means by which it markets to children. In spite of continued pressure from advocates, Nickelodeon resists adopting strong food marketing standards. In contrast, the Walt Disney Company and ION Television (Qubo) have comprehensive policies that apply nutrition standards to all their marketing to kids.

  • Please help urge Nickelodeon to stop marketing junk foods to kids: Send a letter to Nickelodeon’s CEO.
  • Learn more about how Nickelodeon markets junk food to kids in this brief report.
  • Read the letter [pdf] that more than 100 health professionals, scientists, and organizations have signed to push Nickelodeon to do better by kids.
  • See the letter that U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) wrote to Nickelodeon, asking the entertainment company to stop advertising unhealthy food to children.
  • Share the truth about Nickelodeon’s irresponsible marketing to kids on Facebook, using one of these model posts:

    70% of food ads on Nickelodeon are for junk food. Here’s what Dora and SpongeBob are selling your kids:

    “Parents are working hard to provide a healthy diet and to teach healthy habits and we’d like to know that our efforts won’t be undermined every time our children turn on the TV or see a flashy display in the store.” — First Lady Michelle Obama. Agree? Ask Nickelodeon to drop the junk food ads.

    Should Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants really be hawking junk food to young children? Tell Nickelodeon to cut it out.

  • See the ad that public health advocates took out in the Hollywood Reporter in March 2013, calling on Nickelodeon to develop and apply strong nutrition standards to all of the company’s marketing to children. (Click the ad to view full size.)


Learn more:

Report card on food-marketing policies: An analysis of food and entertainment company policies regarding food and beverage marketing to children [pdf]
Center for Science in the Public Interest

Better for who? Revisiting company promises on food marketing to children [pdf]
Center for Science in the Public Interest