In its ongoing appeal to the federal government to limit food and beverage marketing aimed at children, The Heart & Stoke Foundation has launched a mockumentary that gives a behind-the-scenes look at an ad agency called 16 and Under.
From packaging to jingles and focus groups, employees of the fictional ad firm show viewers the tactics used in creating and advertising food products in a way that appeals to kids. (“Magic” and bright colours do the trick.)
“Sugar is like a drug to kids these days,” says the agency CEO. “I mean, they’re basically addicted to the stuff, which is great because our products are pretty much selling themselves.”
“We know kids have a lot of influence when it comes to household food choices, but because they’re young, they’re impressionable and easily influenced, and we wanted to shine a light on these tactics,” said Geoff Craig, chief marketing and communications officer, Heart & Stroke, in a press release.
A report released by the Heart & Stroke Foundation earlier this year, examined how unlimited food and beverage marketing targeting children and teens is affecting their food and beverage preferences and potentially their health.
The foundation suggested such advertising could be the leading factor behind why the number of Canadian children with obesity has tripled in the last 35 years, with almost one in three now defined as overweight or obese.
The Heart & Stroke campaign also includes out of home and social media that drive to a microsite where visitors are presented with facts they can share on Twitter. For instance, children are exposed to 25 million food and beverage ads a year on their favourite websites.
Visitors to the site can also learn more about the federal legislation that is before parliament, calling for a restriction on food and beverage marketing to young Canadians.