Multinational food manufacturer, Kellogg’s, has taken out two of the five Shame categories in the 2017 Parents’ Voice Fame and Shame Awards. Recognised in the Digital Ninja and Smoke and Mirrors categories, Kellogg’s was shamed for reportedly promoting some of its most unhealthy products to children. Now in their 13th year, the Fame and Shame Awards aim to highlight the worst of junk food marketing to kids.
Kellogg’s’ Halloween partnership with Shazam received the Digital Ninja award for “most obviously targeting children and driving active participation in the brand”.
“Kellogg’s has once again disregarded the health of Australian children by developing campaigns which target a young audience. The use of augmented reality technology, in conjunction with a Halloween campaign, is clearly designed to appeal to children,” said Alice Pryor, Parents’ Voice Campaigns Manager.
Kellogg’s also picked up the Smoke and Mirrors award for its LCMs commercial for reportedly making an unhealthy product appear healthier than it is. “Despite the featured LCMs bars scoring as low as 0.5 health stars, Kellogg’s has presented them as an appropriate everyday addition to lunchboxes,” said Pryor.
Derek Lau from Kellogg’s said, “We disagree the Halloween promotion targets children. The content is activated through the Shazam app and you have to be 13 and over to use it, so this is clearly targeted at mums and teens.”
“Halloween is a time for fun family time – something that most Aussie families would agree with. It’s a shame Parents’ Voice can’t see this,” he said.
“The claim of ‘no artificial colours/flavours’ in the ad is truthful and factually correct. Parents’ Voice is wrong in shaming the LCMs ad for misleading claims. The LCMs range – from 0.5 to 3.5 health stars – were all represented as part of a healthy balanced lunchbox while the voiceover spoke to mum as the target audience.
“It’s disappointing to see LCMs unfairly targeted for misleading product claims when there were none.”
The Foul Sport award was presented to Coca-Cola for its POWERADE Powerscore campaign. The campaign reportedly used sporting identities including former Australian cricketer, Mitchell Johnson, and rugby league star, Billy Slater, to promote unhealthy food and drinks to children.
“Parents are increasingly frustrated that children are constantly exposed to products which are inconsistent with healthy lifestyles and indeed, sporting careers,” Pryor said.
Coca-Cola’s Coke Summer took out the final Shame award, becoming the inaugural Bother Boards recipient for “using interactive billboards in shopping centres, indoors or outdoors, in an attempt to influence children”. Parents’ Voice said the billboard in question asks teenagers to use their phones to connect to the panel, throwing ice cubes at cans of Coke, with winners receiving a can dispensed directly from the panel.
“This new technology sets a bad precedent and further exploits children vulnerable to persuasive food and drink marketing,” said prof Matt Hopcraft, CEO of the Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch.
“Two in five Australian children aged 12 to 14 years have tooth decay in their adult teeth. Campaigns such as these make matters worse and encourage younger children to aspire to these unhealthy behaviours.”
McDonald’s’ Made for Family/Despicable Me 3 Family Box commercial claimed the Pester Power award. Featuring a young boy wearing a minion bodysuit and visiting McDonald’s.
A spokesperson from Parents’ Voice said, “We certainly haven’t targeted the nominated companies or award winners. Australian parents nominate these campaigns throughout the year and it’s our job to highlight their dissatisfaction. Parents are sick of food and beverage companies marketing their most unhealthy products to kids.”
While Parents’ Voice said they are dismayed by the range of the Shame awards this year, its members awarded companies encouraging children to adopt healthier food and drink choices. ALDI, Aussie Apples and Netball Australia were recognised.
Coca-Cola was also awarded a dishonourable mention, along with their partner, The Salvation Army, who have teamed up to bring the Coke Christmas Truck to Australia. Parents’ Voice is petitioning to end the truck’s journey before its planned conclusion at Sydney’s Carols in the Domain.
“Parents are angry that despite Coca-Cola stating they don’t market to kids under 12, they are now a major sponsor of Carols in the Domain. The Coke Christmas truck is stealth marketing aimed at Australian kids. This targeting of Australian kids must end,” said Pryor.
Parents’ Voice said the sample size was around 200 parents with some voting in certain categories and not others and that they received an average of 8.4 nominations per category.
Coca-Cola has been contacted for comment.