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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111

Abstract

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.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gaceta.2016.12.008.

Objective:

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

Methods:

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.

Results:

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.

Conclusions:

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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