Sugar-coated marketing that's good for the kids, profits too

4 January 2010

Avid Bitterwallet reader Tom isn't a happy man, but that's probably because he went without breakfast this morning:

Don't know if you spotted this advert blatantly trying to encourage kids to eat an unhealthy cereal after school, despite the fact they probably would have had something similar for breakfast. The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) aren't concerned and are just hiding behind a wall of figures and statistics provided by Kellogg's. Despite the fact they claim that the cereal is low in fat, it does not distract from the point they are high in sugar!

It's great to see the Government's money spent advertising healthier lifestyles is well spent and once again big corporations can flatten the whole principle behind it!

It's an old ad, but always worth revisiting, if for no other reason than to comprehend why two primary school children have the inner voices of teenagers. Tom's certainly right in that Kellogg's justification of their position to the ASA has the grace of the Mariinsky Ballet, littered with objective statements presented as facts ("Kellogg's said snacking was a common practice and suitable snacking should be encouraged as part of good dietary practice").

First it argues that Coco Pops is a more healthy after-school alternative to biscuits, crisps and sweets, but it then goes on to argue it's healthier than yoghurt and fruit because of the sugar content. Reading through, it's a wonder a bowl of Coco Pops doesn't gift children with the power of unaided flight. Bravo, Kellogg's!

They said the recommended serving size of 30g for Coco Pops was a true volume that they knew people ate. They said the amount of sugar in one serving of Coco Pops was just 10g, which was less than two teaspoons. They pointed out that a banana contained 17g of sugar, a fruit yoghurt 20g and toast with jam 13g.

Of course, such bullshit-baffles-brains conveniently ignores other facts. For example, "just 10g" of a 30g serving means a third of a bowl of Coco Pops is pure sugar. The average unladen weight of a banana is around 100g, meaning the sugar content is less than a fifth of its volume. Oh, and it's a banana - you know, fruit - the stuff that it's ok to encourage kids to eat as an alternative to chocolate?

Ultimately the ASA swallowed the lot, seemingly happy that children should be encouraged to eat more cereal. Of course kids snack but that doesn't mean they should, of course kids would like to eat chocolate-laced cereal instead, but that doesn't mean it should be encouraged to. And as The Food Commission points out, take all the air out of a bowl of Coco Pops, and the result looks suspiciously like a chocolate cookie.

Still, at least the kids are dictating their own diet with the full backing of a multi-national corporation only concerned with their health and well being. It's just happy coincidence that two children eating an extra 30g serving five days a week adds up to an extra sale of a 600g box of Coco Pops every fortnight. I'm sure the maths hasn't crossed anyone's minds at Kellogg's.

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  • The B.
    What worries me is the mentality of the parents that feed their kids this crap.
  • Nobby
    I prefer a lump of butter (low in sugar) dipped in sugar (low in fat). It's an easy way to make a low sugar, low fat snack.
  • zeddy
    It's the nanny state again isn't it? I mean, kids have to eat sensibly and watch out for all the hidden junk in processed foods but you have to be able to choose freely, don't you? I hope the ASA look again and hammer Kelloggs for it. Poor Kelloggs, they are only trying to make a profit. It's all the parents' fault. They should know better. What's a parent to do with all these conflicting messages? Fucking moronic media!
  • Junkyard
    Nobby - that's an excellent idea, you should release this new snack to the health food market. You'll need a name that gets across the whole butter / sugar combo - which is better, "Sutter" or "Buggar"?
  • d72
    Who actually eats just 30g of cereal?
  • Nobby
    I prefer "sweetie moo moos"
  • dunfyboy
    Most stuff that's low in fat is high in sugar. Take it from a fat bloke.
  • Christ
    Really? A company trying to sell unhealthy food to kids. BW you should take this to the national press you could be famous.

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