Not your grandmother’s commercials: ‘Kidvertising’ in the digital age 

Ottawa Citizen 

  • “A new study by University of Ottawa researchers [lead by Dr. Monique Potvin Kent] found that 72 per cent of children and youth were exposed to food marketing through social media in a single 10-minute window.” The research suggests that “young social media users are exposed to more than 12 food and beverage snacks every hour [and about] 90 per cent of the products promoted in these ads are unhealthy.”
  • “These are not your grandmother’s commercials. Food and beverage manufacturers have neuropsychologists working with them. They use MRIs. It’s hard to defend yourself against ads.” (Dr. Potvin Kent)
  • “We have seen a huge proliferation of ads online. Entertainment is blended with marketing. It’s hard for children to understand that they’re being marketed to” (Dr. Potvin Kent)
    · While studies have shown that children have brand awareness by age two, they start to recognize something as an ad by age six and do not begin to think critically about what they view until age 11 or 12.
  • Children also use social media to follow their favourite products and encourage their friends to do so as well and are therefore “…doing the work of a marketing firm…” (Dr. Potvin Kent).
  • “Children 11, 12 and 13 years old are doing the work of a marketing firm when they’re forwarding things to their friends,” said Dr. Potvin Kent. 
  • If Bill S-228 becomes law, “Health Canada would be responsible for creating the regulations around it. ‘There is no silver bullet, but this will help,’ said [Nancy Greene] Raine”.
  • Nancy Greene Raine stated: “The advertisers know it works. If you create a customer by the age of 10, you have a dedicated customer for life.” 

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