Digital marketing of unhealthy foods to Australian children and adolescents

Boelsen-Robinson, Tara, Backholer, Kathryn and Peeters, Anna 2016, Digital marketing of unhealthy foods to Australian children and adolescents, Health promotion international, vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 523-533, doi: 10.1093/heapro/dav008.

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Title Digital marketing of unhealthy foods to Australian children and adolescents
Author(s) Boelsen-Robinson, Tara
Backholer, KathrynORCID iD for Backholer, Kathryn
Peeters, AnnaORCID iD for Peeters, Anna
Journal name Health promotion international
Volume number 31
Issue number 3
Start page 523
End page 533
Total pages 11
Publisher Oxford University Press
Place of publication Oxford, Eng.
Publication date 2016
ISSN 0957-4824
Keyword(s) advertising
Summary The emergence of new media—including branded websites, social media and mobile applications—has created additional touch points for unhealthy food and beverage companies to target children and adolescents. The aim of this study was to perform an audit of new media for three top selling food and beverage brands in Australia. The top selling brand in three of the most advertised food and beverage categories was identified. Facebook, websites and mobile phone applications from these three brands were assessed using a combination of descriptive analyses and structured data collection during June and July 2013. Information on target audience, main focus of the activity, marketing strategies employed and connectivity were collected. Promotional activities were assessed against industry self-regulatory codes. McDonald's, Coca-Cola and Cadbury Dairy Milk were audited, with 21 promotional activities identified. These promotional activities appeared to use a number of marketing strategies, with frequent use of indirect product association, engagement techniques and branding. We identified strategic targeting of both children and adolescents. We found that while all promotional activities technically met self-regulatory codes (usually due to media-specific age restrictions) a number appeared to employ unhealthy food or beverage marketing directed to children. Brands are using engaging content via new media aimed at children and adolescents to promote unhealthy food and beverages. Given the limitations of self-regulatory codes in the context of new media, strategies need to be developed to reduce exposure of children and adolescents to marketing of unhealthy food and beverage products via these avenues.
Language eng
DOI 10.1093/heapro/dav008
Field of Research 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
1117 Public Health And Health Services
1302 Curriculum And Pedagogy
Socio Economic Objective 920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2015, The Authors
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Health and Social Development
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