Responding to the Kellogg Company and Viacom being threatened with a lawsuit by the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, Kellogg’s cereals will not be advertised during children’s programming unless it meets certain nutritional guidelines:
The voluntary changes, which will be put in place over the next 1 1/2 years, will apply to about half of the products Kellogg markets to children worldwide, including Froot Loops and Apple Jacks cereals and Pop-Tarts.
Frosted Flakes, for example, and Rice Krispies with Real Strawberries will still make the nutritional cut, though regular Rice Krispies will not (too much salt).
Kellogg’s will also be discontinuing any product tie-ins with licensed characters or branded toys. I guess that box of Shrek Apple Jacks in my pantry just became a collectible!
While I’m sure some parents might think that it’s grrreat!, I’m with writer Kerrie Flanagan:
Here I was, the whole time thinking it was the consumption of junk food and lack of exercise that causes childhood obesity. The good thing is now I can rest easy knowing it is not my fault if my kids get fat. It’s Viacom’s fault for putting images of my favorite Bikini Bottom resident on a box of food. What a relief! I no longer have to accept any responsibility for my choices.
Even though I’ll admit I find slapping characters on everything from Dixie cups to ketchup bottles incredibly obnoxious, I don’t see how marketers shoulder the culpability when kids consume food items that their parents buy for them.
What do you think? Should advertising be to blame for making our children chunky?