Food advertising on children's television

Jill Kurp Maher, John B. Lord, Renee Hughner, Nancy M. Childs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This research investigates the changes in the types of advertised food products and the use of nutritional versus consumer appeals in children's advertising from 2000 to 2005. Content Analysis. Results indicate that food processors and restaurants have not changed their advertising messages to children in response to the multitude of pressures the industry is facing. Specifically, this pre-post longitudinal comparison shows no significant change regarding types of food products advertised and type of appeals used in the ads directed to children. Limitations include the sample studied. While the ads recorded all came from television programming aimed specifically at children, there was no specification or ability to classify the consumers according to the age of the viewer. Additionally, duplicate exposures of the ads were not included in the study. Obesity is a serious and expanding concern for our children's health. As past advertising research and socialization theory suggest, children's exposure to advertising has impact. It is important to monitor changes in food advertising to children in the future to ascertain whether and to what extent food companies are able to change both what they advertise and the appeals they use to gain consumers’, in this case, children's attention. This study provides a useful baseline (prior to 2001) and benchmark (post 2001) to longitudinally examine the food product and appeal usage in food advertising directed to children. This will be useful information for advertisers, for parents, for regulators and for special interest groups, all of whom have a common goal – healthy kids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-52
Number of pages12
JournalYoung Consumers
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006


  • Advertising
  • Children
  • Content analysis
  • Food marketing
  • Nutrition appeals
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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