This blog was written by Mechelle Meadows. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.
The advertising world has come a long way. Think back many years ago when cigarette ads could be found in magazines or on television. Many studies have concluded that banning cigarette ads led to less demand for cigarettes. Most recently, various groups are calling for junk food ads to be banned from media. You might wonder if advertising is really powerful enough to influence these lifestyle factors, but a study done in Quebec showed that when junk food ads were banned, fast-food expenditures dropped by 13% each week!
The shift I’ve notice the most when it comes to food advertisements is that certain unhealthy products have realized they can’t compete with the health benefits of some more nutritious items. So, to market their products, they’ve chosen to highlight the “fun” aspect of eating their foods. Take Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts, for example, with their taglines, “Made for Fun” and “Joylicious.” Their commercials depict cartoon kids frolicking around with rainbows and hearts. What child watching that commercial wouldn’t want a Pop-Tart? Same with Frito-Lay and their tagline “Good Fun.”
Our job as corporate wellness professionals should be to educate our clients to look past creative marketing techniques and realize that eating isn’t simply a fun hobby. Eating should be enjoyable, yes, but also nutritious enough to fuel the body.
When it comes to advertisements, look for phrases like “100% whole grain,” “fiber,” “heart healthy,” and others that signify a product is more nutritionally dense. Still, be careful, and don’t believe everything you see or hear!