Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Food digital ninjas named:

'Fame and Shame' awards from The Parents' Jury, an online network of parents, grandparents and carers.
By Motherpedia
Date: November 23 2012
Editor Rating:

Advocacy group The Parents’ Jury today crowned Hungry Jack’s and Chupa Chups as having Australia's worst junk food digital marketing campaigns.

Highlighting the rise of digital marketing targeted to children and teens, the group named Hungry Jack's ‘Makes it Better’ and Chupa Chups ‘Lol-a-Coaster’ apps as joint winners of the Digital Ninja Award in The Parents' Jury 2012 Fame and Shame Awards.

In a first for the awards, an expert panel of parents, academics and advertisers worked alongside concerned Parents' Jury members to name the best and worst examples of food advertising aimed at children.

Campaigns Manager for The Parents' Jury Corrina Langelaan said parents have a growing concern about industry use of digital media to target children and teens.

“This year, we looked at the good, the bad and the apps. Many kids today are more tech savvy than their parents, but they're no less vulnerable to sophisticated food marketing techniques.

“Children of all ages have access to multiple forms of social and digital media, making them an easy target for the marketers of unhealthy food. It’s a constant challenge, even for the most vigilant of parents, to oversee what their child is accessing online. Something that looks like a free and fun game like ‘Lol-a-Coaster’ in fact contains what many parents will consider insidious forms of branding. Even the reviews describe it as an “advertisement based game”.i

“The Hungry Jack's ‘Makes it Better’ App is a perfect example of a Digital Ninja. With its free junk food offers, this app is simple, effective and appealing. Encouraging a young audience to consume unhealthy food anytime is achieved via a simple shake of their phone.”

Traditional marketing still has its place in the Fame and Shame Awards. For the third year running, Kellogg's TV advertising was singled out by parents for its drive to encourage pester power.

Mum Kathryn Taylor, a member of The Parents' Jury and part of the expert judging panel, said feedback from concerned parents had helped make it a clear winner of the Shame Award for Pester Power.

“The kind of sneaky advertising shown as part of the LCM lunchbox advertisement makes me angry on behalf of so many parents. Not only does it appear as though having an LCM in your lunchbox makes kids more popular amongst their peers, the fact that this child appears to have one every school day suggests it is more than just an occasional treat.

It's not all bad news, with the panel giving Aussie Bananas a thumbs up for its well known ‘Nature’s Energy Snack’ campaign.

In a tough field where all the nominees used clever marketing techniques to promote healthy eating in a fun way, Aussie Bananas’ witty design appealed to older children and their parents, while it's vibrant approach and catchy jingle resonated with a younger demographic. 

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