Nestlé and Coles are among some of the big name companies that have been slammed for running misleading advertising campaigns aimed at kids by an online network of concerned parents.
The annual Parents’ Voice Fame and Shame awards shines the spotlight on brands that use marketing tactics to sell unhealthy food to children.
Nestle’s catchy ‘add more to milk’ campaign for Milo was awarded for its slogan which implies that Milo will make a glass of milk healthier.
“More protein, more iron, more calcium, more Vitamin D,” the video advertisement intones repetitively.
“The reality is that you’re also adding nine grams of sugar to your glass… significantly reducing the healthiness,” Alice Pryor, campaigns manager and Australian mum told Your Money Live.
“Our parents really thought that the ad was targeted at kids. It was very catchy, it was a strong message and [we thought] that kids would be susceptible to it,” she said.
McDonald’s was named and shamed for driving “unhealthy participation” by kids through digital marketing with its ‘Happy Land’ phone app, which runs SnapChat-like features popular with the younger market.
“Research shows that if you can hook a kid into your product, you’ve got them as a consumer for life,” said Pryor.
Coles took home the ‘Pester Power’ award for encouraging kids to nag their parents about buying unhealthy products displayed on their shelves.
The popular Little Shop campaign offers kids a series of mini supermarket items to collect. The problem is that most of the food items are junk or processed foods, with just one item of fruit, according to Pryor.
“It really is concerning that you’ve got all of these kids playing with these junk foods and thinking that this is just part of an everyday shop and part of your diet,” she said.
Gatorade picked up the ‘Foul Sport’ award for its use of star athletes and video game-like features to draw in kids, despite the drink containing 150x the recommended sugar intake for adults.
“These awards are showing that the current method of self-regulation in the advertising industry isn’t working,” explained Pryor.
“It’s about saying to the food industry we’re keeping an eye on you and we’re not happy with what we’re seeing,” said Pryor. “The ultimate aim is that we want to see better regulation.