Takes Issue with Food Marketing to Kids
Trade Commission intends to issue compulsory requests
for information about food marketing to kids— much of
it on TV— to a broad range of food, fast food and
beverage marketers as it tries to assess the breadth
of the marketing for a congressional report.
Formal notice of plans for the "compulsory process
orders" are expected to be announced in a public
notice this week, with individual company requests
likely being sent out this summer after the FTC seeks
public comment and its plan gets a needed OK from the
Office of Management and Budget.
FTC chairman Deborah Platt Majoras, announced the
plans in a little noted April 12 speech to the Food
and Drug Law Institute saying the FTC wants to gather
a far more detailed view of company food marketing
practices to kids than has been readily available.
"We hope to get a more complete picture of marketing
techniques for which publicly available data have so
far been lacking," she said.
While information about marketers TV food advertising
is generally available, there has been some confusion
about the extent food marketers use other vehicles
including movies, videogames and the internet for
product placement and advertising on kids web sites.
Some of those vehicles are web sites from media
companies like those from Disney, Viacom's Nickelodeon
and Time-Warner's Cartoon Network. The FTC request
could increase scrutiny of food marketing activities
on those web sites.
Ms. Majoras said the FTC wants to look broadly.
"This effort is exploring not only traditional TV,
print and radio advertising, but will provide an
analysis of all of the many other ways that the
industry reaches children -- through in-store
promotions, events, packaging, the Internet and
product placement in video games, movies and
Ms. Majoras also said the FTC is planning a second
joint workshop with the Department of Health and Human
Services about kids food marketing on July 18. The
first workshop in 2005 pushed marketers to rein in
their marketing of unhealthy food choices. She said
the new workshop will look at progress since the