“Advergames”: New Tricks to Sell Junk Food to Children
CAPITALISM, 2 Jun 2014
Channel 4 News, UK, reports on the new trend to circumvent legislation brought in to limit the typo of advertising that can be directed to children. “Companies including McDonald’s and Coca-Cola should be stopped from designing apps and online games that advertise their products directly to children, according to a leading marketing academic. Channel 4 Dispatches has found that junk food companies are exploiting a legal loophole to design games on smartphones, tablets and computers targeted at children. Dr Haiming Hang of the University of Bath told the Daily Telegraph the practice raises “fundamental questions”….”Companies are manipulating children into wanting food and drinks that are high in salt, sugar and fat.”
The European Union has framework legislation in place which sets down minimum provisions on advertising to children for its 27 member states. It includes, amongst other points “Product placement is not allowed in children’s programs.”
Smartphones and tables are given to children by parents who would otherwise keep a close eye on what they are watching on TV, without realising that the innocent looking games have all kinds of invitations and rewards planted by the junk food industry. Calls to ban such advertising are being made but no legislation can replace parents’ attention to the contents of programs and games on offer.
Silvia Swinden – Author of From Monkey Sapiens to Homo Intentional: The Phenomenology of the Nonviolent Revolution, Adonis & Abbey, London, 2006.
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