Food marketing to kids goes viral
Like many marketers, General Mills and other food companies are rewriting the rules for reaching children in the Internet age. These companies, often selling sugar cereals and junk food, are using multimedia games, online quizzes and cellphone apps to build deep ties with young consumers. And children…are sharing their messages through e-mail and social networks, effectively acting as marketers.
…The sites can attract substantial audiences. HappyMeal.com and McWorld.com, sites from McDonald’s, received a total of 700,000 visitors in February, around half of whom were under 12, according to comScore, a market research firm. The firm says 549,000 people visited the Apple Jacks site from Kellogg’s, which offers games and promotes an iPhone application called “Race to the Bowl Rally.” General Mills’s Lucky Charms site, with virtual adventures starring Lucky the Leprechaun, had 227,000 visitors in February.
Over half the parents in the survey say their children should be able to go online on their own by age 6, and by 5 should be able to play games on a cellphone or on a console or listen to a portable music player on their own.
Food companies think marketing to kids is plenty reasonable.
Here’s a situation in which some policy changes would be most helpful. How about some restrictions on what food companies can do in order to make it easier for parents to manage what their kids eat?
Just a thought. Happy weekend!