and whether use of the branded equipment promotes desirable behavioral and health outcomes.
The media and entertainment industries have a tremendous reach into the lives of the American public. These industries have important opportunities and responsibilities to depict and promote healthful diets and physical activity among children and youth (IOM, 2006). Among the many challenges in addressing the reach and the influence of paid media and marketing communications in the lives of children and youth are the multiple venues and vehicles that can be used to deliver consistent messages that promote healthy lifestyles (IOM, 2006).
Today’s paid media and marketing strategies, tactics, and messaging extend beyond traditional print and broadcast or cable television advertising, which is relatively easy to monitor and control, to newer forms of interactive media and marketing communications such as product placement across multiple media platforms, Internet marketing, and mobile or wireless telephone marketing. Two recent studies that examined Internet marketing designed by food and beverage companies for children and youth documented a range of techniques used to engage and immerse children in company brands. These techniques include advergames, brand identifiers, brand characters, brand benefit claims, customized Internet visits, viral marketing, cross-promotional paid media tie-ins, and on-demand access to television advertisements (Moore, 2006; Weber et al., 2006).
Companies advertise and market to children and youth through a variety of venues and use many strategies to develop brand awareness and brand loyalty at an early age. One company that made a presentation at the industry symposium, Kraft Foods, announced in 2005 that it would advertise to children ages 6 to 11 years only those food and beverage products meeting the company’s healthful criteria, during children’s broadcast television, radio programming, and in paid print media geared toward this age group. The company indicated that by the end of 2006, it will redesign its websites intended for viewing by children ages 6 to 11 years so that they feature only products that meet the Sensible Solution™ nutrition standards of their more healthful product line (Gorecki, 2006; Kraft Foods, 2005). However, these proposed guidelines will not apply to products promoted on television during prime-time programs viewed primarily by adults or coviewed by children and youth with their parents.