Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as Jones, S. C., Williams, P. and Tapsell, L., Marketing experts' assessment of healthy eating messages in Australian food advertising, in Proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy (ANZMAC) Conference, Queensland University of Technology, 4-6 December 2006, (pp. 1-7). Brisbane, Australia: Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy.


The social world can be described in terms of experts and consumers, identified by their roles and responsibilities towards each other. The advertising and marketing of products based on nutritional value is widespread, and attended to by consumers, yet research in the marketing and nutrition domains suggests that consumers may lack the requisite knowledge and skills to evaluate and use this information appropriately. This concern can be viewed from a sociological perspective, and a theoretical framework for studying this context can be provided by ethnomethodology which describes how people make sense of their social world. This study was the second phase of a three-part study examining current healthy eating campaigns. A sample of professional marketers was asked to evaluate the nutritional accuracy and intent of food advertisements in magazines, previously identified by nutrition experts as containing health claims. They were also asked to provide their opinion on consumers’ capacity to understand and interpret the health claims made. The marketers responded that over one-third of the advertisements contained nutrition claims that could potentially be misinterpreted or misunderstood by consumers. These results display a congruence between marketing and nutrition experts in the sense of their responsibilities towards others deemed non-expert in the field.