The latest of these studies has focused on determining what types of advertisements children see and how they sell things to them. The advertising that reaches children is, fundamentally, that of the most negative products for their health. As a study has just shown, carried out by researchers from the open university of catalonia (uoc) and the pompeu fabra university (upf), self-regulation in the sector does not work. The advertisements for food products that children between the ages of 4 and 12 see the most are for unhealthy products.
Between 2016 and 2018, the years the researchers took as a base the most viewed ads at times when there are more children sitting. In front of the television were with what the researchers. Call “Food products of poor nutritional quality.” why is this happening? The key is that the brands are not really playing fair. “Several Bosnia and herzegovina phone number principles of the code are repeatedly violated and, in addition, it is not taken into account that the great consumption of advertising by minors occurs outside the protected hours”, explains mireia montaña, one of those responsible for the study.
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In fact, the statistics indicate that the little ones continue to see content outside the hours set for it. 90% of spanish children watch television and 80% do so outside of children’s hours. Other studies had already pointed in that direction. A british one pointed out that half of all the advertisements that children saw were already for junk food and another from the university of granada that children were too exposed to this type of advertising. Sell fun and happiness furthermore, the problem is not only with those ads appearing but also with how those products are presented.
Returning to the data from the uoc and pompeu fabra study. The researchers detected a worrying pattern: the less nutritional value the product has. The higher the presence of “Elements that transmit ideas related to positive experiences”. The ads sell fun, adventure, or happiness. Which they link to the food products they are selling. It is a strategy, true. Common in advertising, but one that is especially questionable in this environment because. As the researchers point out, children are very receptive to this type of message. The researchers are not, in fact, the first to point in that direction.
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Selling junk food as something fun and happy to connect with that audience is a recurring trick. In children’s packaging it is one of the recurring elements and studies have shown that it is highly successful. A study by the university of calgary showed a few years ago that children react much better to things that are and that are eye-catching and fun. It’s what makes a happy meal more appealing than a plate of carrots. Another canadian study had detected that, in packaging for children, the recurring claim was that it was a “Fun” product.