Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Soft Drink Makers Targeting Youth Online

As marketers have expanded online, children and teenagers are seeing far more soda advertising than before, with blacks and Hispanics the major targets, a new study finds. The report from the Yale University Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity also said many fruit and energy drinks, popular with teenagers, have as much added sugar and as many calories as regular soda. Children’s and teens’ exposure to full-calorie soda ads on television doubled from 2008 to 2010, fueled by increases from Coca-Cola and Dr Pepper Snapple Group. Black children and teens saw 80% to 90% more ads than white children, including twice as many for the 5-Hour Energy drink and Coca-Cola’s vitamin water and Sprite. Hispanic children saw 49% more ads for sugary drinks and energy drinks on Spanish-language TV, and Hispanic teens saw 99% more ads. The report also found that companies rely heavily on social media sites to reach young people, who spend more time on websites than they do watching commercials. Twenty one beverage brands had YouTube channels in 2010 with more than 229 million views by June 2011, including 158 million views for the Red Bull channel alone.