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Case Title:

Online Junk Food Marketing and US Kids: Need for Healthy Regulations?

Publication Year : 2010

Authors: R Shah and S Chaganty

Industry: Food, Diary and Agriculture


Case Code: GBE0089IRC

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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Fast food manufacturing companies changed US kids' diet into nutritionally poor junk food. Different advertising mediums like TV, radio, print media, Internet, etc, were used by marketers to promote junk food. However, Internet emerged as the preferred and convenient advertising medium for marketers as it was cheaper than the other mediums. Moreover, while there were regulations for off-line media, there was none for on-line. Parents were also highly critical about advertisements on-line and hence urged lawmakers to restrict them. Some food marketers however believed they could regulate advertisements on their own and saw no requirement for government intervention. In addition, lack of physical activity due to modern technology put US kids in a grave situation. The case could be discussed in a business ethics class where students learn the regulation requirements to be followed by advertisers. The case highlights the different media used to advertise junk food to kids, certain regulations imposed to reduce such advertisements, and the role of consumers and regulators to minimise kids' exposure to junk food advertisements both on-line and off-line.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To understand the off-line and on-line mediums of advertising junk food to US kids.
  • To analyse the regulations imposed on junk food advertisements off-line.
  • To examine the role of parents and regulators to restrict exposure of kids towards junk food advertisements.

Keywords :  On-line marketing, Junk food, Regulations, US kids, McDonald's, Kellogg, Nickelodeon, Viral marketing, Behaviourial marketing, Poor nutritious food, Print media, Obesity, In-school marketing, TV advertising

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