Publication Details

Jones, S. C. & Fabrianesi, B. S. (2008). Gross for kids but good for parents: differing messages in advertisements for the same products. Public Health Nutrition, 11 (6), 588-595.


Objectives: There has been surprisingly little research into the effects of food advertising on parents' perception of commonly consumed children's food items, although the available research suggests that parents may find nutritional claims in these advertisements confusing. The purpose of the present study was to investigate parents' perceptions of branded snack foods targeted at children, and the extent to which these perceptions are influenced by advertising messages.Design: Using an intercept survey, participants were shown either adult-targeted or child-targeted advertisements for the same food products.Setting: Central business district of a major Australian city.Subjects: One hundred adults, mean age 40 years.Results: The study results suggest that: (1) adults' perceptions of advertised food products and, most importantly, purchase intentions for those products differ according to the version of the advertisement seen (for three of the products, 42-54% would buy the product after seeing the child version compared with 82-84% after seeing the adult version); and (2) adults clearly perceive distinctly different messages in advertisements for the same products which are targeting parents vs. those targeting children (e.g. for three of the products, 74-92% perceived that the adult version of the advertisement suggested the food was nutritionally beneficial compared with 2-14% perceiving this for the child version).Conclusions: It is clear that the messages conveyed to children about specific foods are quite different to the messages conveyed to adults - and importantly parents - about the same foods.



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