Marketing Junk Food: Hey Kid, Eat This [videos]


Photograph: Ads of the World

The Washington, D.C.-based Center for Science in the Public Interest has analyzed 128 food and entertainment companies on how they market to children, and most came up way short. Though McDonald's only scored a C-, it did better than most companies in the study. Mars Inc. came out on top with a B+, mostly because of its policy of not advertising directly to children under the age of 12.

Despite these low marks, we can't help but think about those halcyon days of children's marketing, when Saturday-morning cartoons were packed to the gills with seizure-inducing commercials for toys and horrific-looking foods that we were supposed to beg our moms for. Surely there's been some improvement since then? Hit the jump to see a few of our favorites.

McDonald's: Little Sister

According to this McDonald's ad from the 80s, giving a baby McDonald's fries is the same as giving it attention. Don't worry, we won't judge you too much if you tear up a little though.

Cookie Crisp: Magic Cereal

Even when I was a kid, I was completely baffled by the fact that anyone would try to sell cookies as cereal to children. Which isn't to say that I didn't totally bug my mom to buy me Cookie Crisp until I was like, 14.

Reese's Peanut Butter Puffs: You Eat It with a Spoon!

Cereal ads, on the whole, tended to be the most indsidious form of advertising to children, and this Reese's Puffs ad from the 90s is certainly no exception. It's not the Reese's "It's like candy for breakfast!" commercial— did General Mills just had that entire era of its marketing stricken from the record?—but it's just as bad.

Gushers: Exploding Heads

I don't care what anybody says, Gushers are still the best sugar-laden snack food ever manufactured in a lab by man. Though I'm really not sure where they were going with the whole head-turning-into-a-dinosaur's-head thing. I get the watermelon, but a cactus?

Rachael Oehring

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Comment Feed

  1. OMG - that baby Ronald McDonald pic is super freaky!!!

  2. Ellen

    Look, I liked Freakies cereal and Jell-O 1-2-3 as much as the next boomer. This is all funny and cute, until you realize how relentless it is. Yep, the corporations want you to eat their crappy mass-produced synthetic pseudo food just as much as your mom wanted you to eat your vegetables. Only they do not have your best interest at heart. In fact, if they have their way, actually fresh vegetables will only be there for the elite and the rest of us will be forced live on Gatorade, Space Food Sticks and McCrapple.

    Lookee here at what the bastahds are up to:

  3. JerryfromMontana

    False advertising. Gushers Fruit Snacks don't actually explode.

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