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Big food companies try to get kid friendly January 26, 2014

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Almost 20 big food companies recently announced that they were adopting a new system that would make it easier to compare food values across products and brands. The group included the Campbell Soup Co., General Mills, Kellogg, Pepsi, Kraft, and many others. The companies also announced that products that couldn’t be in compliance would either be cut or not be advertised to kids. The move follows an effort by the group to cut sugar and other harmful ingredients to make them more kid friendly.

The self-regulation efforts by big food companies has been seen, too, in McDonald’s. The company recently announced that it would not (and has not for the most part) marketed to kids in schools, and even signed an agreement with the Clinton Foundation concerning how it would market soda products with Happy Meals.

For more on efforts to cut back on food products and their ads targeting kids, see the following video:

Discussion Questions:

1.  Why is the food industry engaging in so much self regulation concerning products traditionally targeting kids? What’s at stake if this self regulation does not happen?

2.  Is self regulation enough? Can big food companies prevent federal regulation of products traditionally targeting kids?

3.  Why food ads targeting kids so controversial? Why are they considered unethical by certain critics?


Advertising on kid-friendly networks makes a comeback March 19, 2011

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Kid-friendly networks like Nickelodeon were targeted by human health organizations at the end of the last decade for airing food ads for foods of poor nutritional quality. In fact, a study by the Center for Science in the Public Interest discovered in 2009 that 80 percent of the food ads on Nickelodeon fell into this category. Concerned about protecting their public image, many of these networks cut these advertisements and said goodbye to the ad revenue they enjoyed for years.

According to recent numbers, the ad money is back but the products are somewhat different. Ad revenue for kid-friendly networks in 2010 was up by 5%. New strategies are targeting parents versus kids, marketing healthy alternatives instead of the junk once pitched during Saturday morning cartoons.

To see the kind of concerns that led to the reformation, watch the following video about childhood obesity in America:

Discussion Questions:

1.  Why do advertisements target children even though parents control the budget? Is this strategy unethical?

2.  What are the implications of these recent revenue figures?

3.  Will this trend continue? Why, or why not?

Case Study in Crisis Management: The Valley Club of Huntingdon Valley, PA July 13, 2009

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A summer camp for children from mostly ethnic minorities was apparently asked to leave a private country club in Huntingdon Valley after just one 90-minute session on June 29, s009.  The executive director of the summer program, Alethea Wright, claimed that a representative from the club told her the group was no longer welcomed, but would not provide a reason why.  Though accusations of racism have become rampant, especially since many kids from the camp overheard white members of the club complain about “the black kids,” Valley Club regulars defended themselves by saying they were never informed that the private business would open its grounds to so many people at once.  Facing the unprecedented crisis, the club’s president, John Duesler, recently issued an apology for the misunderstanding, and clarified that the deal was revoked because of safety issues.

For more on the widely-discussed scandal, see the following videos:

Discussion Questions:

1.  After reviewing the content above, do you believe that officials from the Valley Club were really racist, or simply overwhelmed by the number of new members?

2.  Either way, why do you think the Valley Club’s representatives still owed the summer campers an apology? What might’ve happened if they ignored the issue?

3.  Was club president John Duesler’s apology adequate?  Why, or why not?