Children's exposure to unhealthy food marketing is one factor contributing to childhood obesity. The impact of marketing on children's weight likely occurs via a cascade pathway, through influences on children's food brand awareness, emotional responses, purchasing and consumption. Thus, building emotional attachments to brands is a major marketing imperative. This study explored Australian children's emotional attachments to food and drink brands and compared the strength of these attachments to their food marketing exposure, using television viewing as a proxy indicator. A cross-sectional face-to-face survey was conducted with 282 Australian children (8-12 years). Children were asked to indicate their agreement/disagreement with statements about their favourite food and drink brands, as an indicator of the strength and prominence of their brand attachments. Questions captured information about minutes/day of television viewing and the extent that they were exposed to advertising (watched live or did not skip through ads on recorded television). For those children who were exposed to advertisements, their age and commercial television viewing time had significant effects on food and drink brand attachments (p = 0.001). The development of brand attachments is an intermediary pathway through which marketing operates on behavioural and health outcomes. Reducing children's exposure to unhealthy food marketing should be a policy priority for governments towards obesity and non-communicable disease prevention.
Kelly, B., Boyland, E., King, L., Bauman, A., Chapman, K. & Hughes, C. (2019). Children's exposure to television food advertising contributes to strong brand attachments. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16 (3), 2358-1-2358-14.