A few less shin kicks: Kellogg’s to stop advertising to kids
So, did you hear the news? Kellogg Co. will be putting some big-time limitations on its advertising to kids under 12, which is where 27% of its current ad budget goes. Kellogg’s will only advertise products to these kids if the food meets a new nutritional criteria: no more than 200 calories per serving, no more than 2 grams of saturated fat, zero grams of trans fat, no more than 230 milligrams of sodium and no more than 12 grams of sugar. These are self-imposed measures by Kellogg’s, but they were threatened with a lawsuit and were pressured by other consumer organizations. But still, this is big because, in the food advertising area, only Kraft has made some voluntary moves in this direction before.
There are more self-regulatory announcements expected soon. Can you believe that two-thirds of all food and beverage advertising directed at kids fall into the hands of only eleven companies? These eleven players (which include Hershey, McDonald’s and General Mills) are facing a July 18 deadline to present satisfactory self-regulatory policies and comply with a new initiative to limit the food products advertised to kids or face a possible lawsuit from an interest group.
What can we expect from about 50% of Kellogg’s products?
– No more TV, print, radio and Internet advertising
– No more in-school marketing
– No more web advertainment
– No more promotions/premiums
– No more product placement
– No more use of license characters for foods
What else is Kellogg’s doing?
– Focusing 50% of its ads to promote more healthful dietary choices or good nutrition.
– Revamping its web presence dramatically by adding automatic screen time limits and healthy lifestyle and nutrition messaging.
Don’t worry the treats aren’t going anywhere for now. Moms and dads, you can still satisfy your Pop Tart cravings. But, who knows? Kellogg’s said that food that doesn’t fit the new criteria represents almost 50 percent of its products currently marketed to children worldwide. These foods will either be reformulated to meet the higher nutritional standard or they will no longer be marketed to children under 12. But the head of Kellogg’s said “it’s still not clear which [foods] can be reformulated to meet the guidelines and still appeal to kids.” Unless Kellogg’s finds another compelling target market for these products, could the end be near? I hope not, because I love me those Rice Krispies Treats.
Ultimately, I believe that parents hold the primary responsibility for teaching and implementing healthy food habits and helping kids decipher media messages. But let’s get real, with all the other challenges of being a parent, sometimes it feels like an uphill battle when you are bombarded by all the marketing. C’mon you’ve gotta pick your battles with kids and there seems to be just too many involving junk food. So, I applaud Kellogg’s and Kraft for caring about this issue and making these first steps.
To the other companies: Heck, I’m all about moderation and a treat here and there, but please just lend a helping hand to us parents by following Kraft and Kellogg’s lead. Now that would be effective marketing to moms and corporate responsibility.
Some positive reinforcement is always good. So, let Tony the Tiger know that you appreciate his initial efforts. Write to David Mackay (president and chief executive officer) and tell him he’s Grreat! at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Sources: 1) John Kuczala for AdAge, 2) AdAge