| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Nov 19 Children and teens are seeing
fewer ads for sugary drinks on television, but they remain a
prime target for marketers through other means such as product
placement and social media, a report released on Wednesday
The report, conducted by researchers at the Yale Rudd Center
for Food Policy and Obesity, said kids ages 6 to 11 years old
viewed 39 percent fewer television ads for sugary drinks in 2013
than in 2010. Teens saw a 30 percent drop. The number of ads
found on websites mostly visited by children also declined
during the period, according to the report.
The report was based on Nielsen data on advertising exposure
from 2013 and was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
But Yale researchers said that beverage companies continued
to reach children and teens through sites like Facebook
and Twitter as well as mobile apps, and much of that
marketing promoted unhealthy products.
"They're trying to talk about offering healthier choices and
lower sugar products, and that's really great," said Jennifer
Harris, the lead author of the report. "But if they keep
marketing their high-sugar products to children and teens, they
can't say they are being a part of the solution."
Under a voluntary program called the Children's Food and
Beverage Advertising Initiative, major soda companies do not
advertise beverages other than juice, water or milk-based drinks
to any audience that is comprised predominantly of children
The Yale report examined total advertising, not just
advertising on children's programming. Researchers found that
with some brands, children's exposure to unhealthy drinks has
increased since 2010. Preschoolers saw 39 percent more
television ads for PepsiCo Inc's sugary drinks.
Meanwhile, both teens and kids ages 6 to 11 saw more television
ads for Red Bull GmbH.
A Pepsi spokesman called the findings "misleading" and said
in a statement that "the truth is that PepsiCo is, and will
continue to be, a responsible marketer, particularly when it
comes to children."
The American Beverage Association, an industry trade group,
said the authors of the Yale report do "not adequately
differentiate between marketing to children, who are widely
viewed as a special audience needing particular care, and
marketing to teens and general audiences."
(Reporting by Anjali Athavaley; Editing by Bernard Orr)