TV & Digital Media
Although time spent watching TV among children and teens has declined, television remains the primary source of exposure to food and beverage advertising. Food companies continue to devote approximately 85% of their advertising budgets to TV, totaling $11 billion annually. Food companies also market to children and teens through product placements during TV programming.
The downward trend in TV viewing among youth has been accompanied by an increase in the time they spend online, especially on social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube) via mobile devices. Food companies have responded to this trend by pioneering marketing to young people with ads placed on social media; company-generated posts shared virally through followers’ social networks; branded games and ordering apps for smartphones; and paid promotions from bloggers, influencers, and brand ambassadors. Now, food and beverage brands reach children and teens anytime, anywhere with marketing that is often disguised as entertainment.
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TV Advertising Research
- Trends in TV advertising: 2017 update reports food-related TV advertising viewed by children and teens from 2002 to 2017. Brief Report. May 2018.
- Each FACTS Report includes a detailed section on television advertising spending and exposure for the category (including cereal, sugary drinks, fast food, and snacks).
- Fleming-Milici, F., & Harris, J.L. (2018). Television food advertising viewed by preschoolers, children and adolescents: contributors to differences in exposure for black and white youth in the United States. Pediatric Obesity, 13, 103-110.
- Harris, J.L., & Kalnova, S. (2017). Food and beverage TV advertising to young children: Measuring exposure and potential impact. Appetite.
- Elsey, J. & Harris, J.L. (2016). Trends in food and beverage television brand appearances viewed by children and teens from 2009 to 2015. Public Health Nutrition, 19(11), 1928-1933.
- Harris, J.L., LoDolce, M.E., Dembek, C., & Schwartz, M.B. (2015). Sweet promises: Candy advertising to children and implications for food industry self-regulation. Appetite, 95(1), 585-592.
- Fleming-Milici, F., Harris, J.L., Sarda, V., & Schwartz, M.B. (2013). Amount of Hispanic youth exposure to food and beverage advertising on Spanish- and English-language television. JAMA Pediatrics, 167(8), 723-730.
- Harris, J.L., Sarda, V., Schwartz, M.B., & Brownell, K.D. (2013). Redefining “child-directed advertising” to reduce unhealthy television food advertising. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 44(4), 358-364.
- Where children and adolescents view food and beverage ads on TV reports exposure by channel and program. Rudd Report. March 2013.
Digital Media Research
- Fleming-Milici F, Harris J. (2019). Adolescents' Engagement with Unhealthy Food and Beverage Brands on Social Media. Appetite, 146(2020), 1-8.
- Hyary, M. & Harris, J.L. (2018). Hispanic youth visits to food and beverage company websites. Health Equity, 1(1), 134-138.
- Ustjanauskas, A., Harris, J.L., & Schwartz, M.B. (2014). Food and beverage advertising on children’s websites. Pediatric Obesity, 9(5), 362-372.
- Cheyne, A., Bukofzer, E., Dorfman, L., & Harris, J.L. (2013). Marketing sugary cereals to children in the digital age: A content analysis of 17 child-targeted websites. Journal of Health Communication, 18(5), 563-582.
- Harris, J.L., Speers, S.E., Schwartz, M.B., & Brownell, K.D. (2012). U.S. food company branded games on the internet: Children’s exposure and effects on snack consumption. Journal of Children and Media, 6(1), 51-68.