Advertising and manipulation

Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

Still on the subject of obesity and advertising here’s a thought provoking section of a report in yesterday’s Evening Standard (London evening paper).

The ultimatum came as extraordinary new evidence emerged of how food companies and advertisers seek to “infiltrate” children’s culture to by-pass the protective influence of parents.

A submission from advertising agency Leo Burnett to the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising for one of its “effectiveness” awards boasts how its campaign for Kellogg’s Real Fruit Winders “entered the world of kids in a way never done before” and “managed not to let Mum in on the act”.

Sugars make up a third of the product which won a Tooth Rot award in 2002.

The committee report quoted one industry publication saying that an eight-year-old boy was the perfect target for advertising as “he had 65 years of consumption ahead of him”.

Have you ever had the experience of being with a friend in a restaurant or shop and seen them be nasty or manipulative to the staff? Or tried to do business with someone who brags about how he squeezes suppliers or gets more money from customers? Doesn’t that make you a little more cautious about your relationship with them?

I think of this whenever ad agencies brag about how clever they are at manipulating people.

It strikes me that agencies who are proud of manipulating children will surely revel in doing it to their supposedly revered clients.

I don’t trust those advertising effectiveness awards as proof that agencies work. But as evidence of their values… they can be very revealing. Perhaps they also provide insights into the values of their clients?

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