Eye On Marketers

Marketing has a profound affect on the foods we eat and the beverages we drink, yet most of that marketing is for products we should avoid. BMSG monitors the media to help keep advocates informed of the tactics food and beverage companies use to target children, communities of color, and other groups that are particularly susceptible to the health harms these products cause. Below are archives of our monitoring.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Plaintiffs Aliza Atik and Winnie Lau are leading a class-action lawsuit against Welch's Food, Inc. for a "deceptive marketing campaign" that portrays its Fruit Snacks as a healthy option for children, made primarily from actual fruits. In reality, 40% of ingredients in the product are food coloring and sugar. 

Source: ObesityHelp
Monday, September 28, 2015

This infographic highlights the connection between food companies' aggressive marketing to kids and the effects on children's health. It's a nice example of using social math to break down large numbers: it notes, for example, that 8-12 years olds see 21 food ads a day.

Source: ABC Eyewitness News
Friday, September 18, 2015

For this year's Hispanic Heritage month, Coca-Cola rolled out bottles featuring temporary tattoos of Latino last names. This article quotes Latino Rebels blogger Marce Gutierrez, who says that the "More and more [Hispanic Heritage Month] is turning into some extended Cinco de Mayo marketing free-for-all and people see through that." This type of controversy could be a great opportunity for letters to the editor, op-eds, etc. that bring in a public health lens and highlight the fact that Coke is targeting a community that is already at high risk for diabetes and other ailments that sugary drinks contribute to.  

Source: Weighty Matters
Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Just as Coca-Cola teaches "energy balance," Pepsi's latest Gatorade campaign commercial features NFL's Manning brothers telling a couple of boys that two minutes of sweating earns them the sugary drink - a beverage that has 100% of its calories coming from sugar.

Source: Public Radio International
Tuesday, August 25, 2015

From soda to chips, an increasing amount of unhealthy products are being flavored with lime to target the growing and lucrative Latino market. Food companies believe this audience is "ready for a hint of time on almost any food," as seen through the previous success of McCormick's mayonesa - a mayonnaise with a hint of lime that gained mass appeal in the country.

Source: Food Navigator
Tuesday, August 25, 2015

While the company plans remove artificial colors and flavors by the end of 2017, General Mills continues to mark its snack products like Fruit Roll-Ups, Fruit by the Foot and Fruit Gushers with kid-favorite characters. In fact, the brand is increasing its character equity licensing to bring SpongeBob shaped fruit flavored snack in January 2016.

Source: Chicago Now
Tuesday, August 25, 2015

This mom-blogger calls out the industry on grocery store marketing targeting children. She uses the experience of shopping with her kids to explain the tactics being used by the food industry: "Colors popped out, familiar characters danced across packaging, and "prizes" were promised. All at kid eye level."

Source: Weighty Matters
Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Through the "Get the Ball Rolling" campaign, Coca-Cola hands out branded soccer balls, distributes soda and gets kids to race around in giant cans of Coke to supposedly help fight obesity. In addition, the "Mixify" promotion instructs teens to eat "whatever you're craving" after a "sweaty workout."

Source: PR Newswire
Tuesday, August 18, 2015

For the 12th year in a row, McDonald's will televise its award ceremony on August 23. The Big Food brand is trying to build loyalty with this target market by showing McDonald's is connected with the black community: "McDonald's is committed every day to being deeply rooted in the community and it's a great feeling to connect with another media entity that seeks to uplift our community as well."

Source: PR Newswire
Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Trying to attract kids to the sugary cereal, Tony the Tiger and Cumberland Rhode Island coach David Belisle will highlight memorable moments of young athletes through the "Hall of Stripes," and are featured in the brand's "Kids of Summer" video.

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