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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


PONCE-BLANDON, José Antonio; PABON-CARRASCO, Manuel  and  LOMAS-CAMPOS, María de las Mercedes. Content analysis of food adverts aimed at children. Gac Sanit [online]. 2017, vol.31, n.3, pp.180-186. ISSN 0213-9111.


To determine the contents and persuasive techniques used in processed food adverts aimed at children in Andalusia, comparing them with those aimed at adults.


Study based on advert content analysis with two phases: a descriptive design phase and an analytical observational design phase. A sample of adverts from 60hours of broadcasting from the two most watched television channels in Andalusia.


A total of 416 food and non-alcoholic beverage adverts were obtained, for 91 different products. Approximately 42.9% (n = 39) was aimed at children and 53.8% (n = 49) were products classified as “unhealthy”. Unhealthy foods were more common in adverts for children (p <0.001). Significant differences were found between the ads aimed at adults and those aimed at children. Emotional and irrational persuasive resources such as fantasy (p <0.001), cartoons (p <0.001) or offering gifts with the purchase of the product (p = 0.003) were observed more frequently in adverts for children.


Food advertising aimed at children in Andalusia is mainly based on offering products with a low nutritional value and using persuasive resources based on fantasy or gifts. The message is focused on the incentive and not the food. More effective measures than the current self-regulatory systems must be put in place to counter these distorted adverts.

Keywords : Advertising as topic/methods; Food preferences; Media; Child health; Health promotion; Processed foods.

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