with the growth of the baby boomers as an untapped consumer market (McNeal, 1964, 1999). Over the decade of the 1990s, there was an estimated 20-fold increase in expenditures on advertisements that targeted children (Strasburger, 2001). Currently, advertising and marketing reach young consumers through many settings (e.g., schools, child care, grocery stores, shopping malls, theaters, sporting events, sponsored events, kids’ clubs) and media (e.g., network and digital television, cable television, radio, magazines, books, the Internet, video games, and advergames). Marketing is both direct, targeted to children and youth, and indirect, targeted to mothers who are the gatekeepers of the household (Powell, 2005). Companies often design dual-marketing strategies to reach children and youth with attractive product packaging and marketing communications that promote messages emphasizing taste, convenience, and fun whereas mothers are more often targeted with messages about the nutritional qualities such as the wholesomeness or health benefits of branded products (Schor, 2004).
The expenditures on food, beverage, and restaurant marketing are substantial. The advertising component alone amounted to industry expenditures of more than $11 billion in 2004, a sizable portion of which targets young people (Brown et al., 2005; Table 4-11). Of this, an estimated $5 to $6.5 billion was spent on televised food, beverage, and restaurant advertisements (Brown et al., 2005; Collier Shannon Scott and Georgetown Economic Services, 2004, 2005a), including about $1 billion to advertise directly to young consumers, primarily through television (McNeal, 1999). Additionally, more than $4.5 billion a year is spent on promotions such as premiums and coupons, $2 billion is spent on youth-targeted public relations including event marketing and school-based marketing, and $3 billion annually is spent on food product packaging designed for children and youth (McNeal, 1999). In all, an estimated more than $10 billion per year is now expended to market food, beverage, and restaurant products to children and youth (Brownell and Horgen, 2004).
Fun, taste, and product performance are the predominant appeals used in children’s food and beverage television advertising (Tseng, 2001). Television commercials use music and familiar songs and jingles to enhance the perceived quality of a brand and to serve as a vehicle for children to remember the name of a product (Scammon and Christopher, 1981; Schor, 2004). Child actors portrayed in food and beverage commercials have traditionally been depicted as having fun with their peers when they consume the advertised product (CSPI, 2003). Audiovisual production techniques accentuate and enhance positive feelings about products by using action, rapid pacing,