social implications of child targeted marketing
what are the social implications of child targeted marketing and the role the australian consumer law can play here
The prevalence of obesity and its comorbidities have dramatically increased in recent decades and have overtaken on epidemic proportions
- The prevalence of excess weight among children is increasing in both developed and developing countries, but at very different rate and in different patterns. Because the long-term adverse consequences of childhood obesity are substantial and well documented, there is a need for prevention or early intervention to reduce the current high incidence
- However, few strategies have proved successful. Because obesity, once established, is difficult to treat, prevention is the main priority. Many community-based interventions have been developed to achieve this objective, but have produced inconclusive results
- In the past decades, a new concept, social marketing, has been increasingly used as an approach to address social problems. Kotler and Zaltman
- defined social marketing as the “design, implementation, and control of programs calculated to influence the acceptability of social ideas, and involving considerations of product, planning, pricing, communication, distribution and marketing research.” The marketing literature has long referred to the 4 Ps of marketing: product, place, price, and promotion. Social marketing is understood to encompass the additional P of people. In the case of social marketing focused on childhood obesity, this is reframed as the partnership P in recognition of the need to coordinate efforts between the various agencies and stakeholders
- Social marketing thinking and strategies are now at the top of health improvement strategies in several countries
- For example, in the United States, social marketing is increasingly being advocated as a core public health strategy for influencing voluntary lifestyle behaviors such as smoking, drinking, drug use, and diet
- In the United Kingdom, the potential benefits of social marketing were recognized in the White Paper on Public Health, with specific reference made to “the power of social marketing” and “marketing tools applied to social good” being “used to build public awareness and change behavior”
- Apart from these strategies, several social marketing campaigns have been or are still being developed such as Change4Life (United Kingdom), SnackRight (United Kingdom), VERB (United States), and EPODE (France). These campaigns use social marketing strategies to modify lifestyle and environmental factors relevant to diet and physical activity to reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity among children and adolescents. Local project managers represent the link between the national coordination organization and the target population.
It is important that each campaign involves local project managers in the social marketing planning process to better take into account the habits of the population and thus its needs and expectations. Their local knowledge allows a better understanding of the target population and hence the development of a more tailored approach.
Local project managers should be in regular contact with the national coordination organization to provide updates of project implementation (e.g., activities performed). They constantly assess the efficiency of what they are doing based on their perceptions of the responses from the target population.
The main focus of these childhood obesity campaigns or interventions has been to change parents’ and children’s knowledge and behaviors.