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Entries in Advertising (6)

Thursday
Mar152012

CDC Launches Graphic Anti-Smoking Campaign

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- In A Tip From a Former Smoker, Terrie, a frail, bald and toothless 51-year-old woman explains to viewers in her achingly raspy voice how she gets ready for her day. We see her putting in false teeth, adjusting her wig and placing her hands-free voice box on her throat before she ties a scarf around her neck to cover the hole there. Such a hole is usually the result of a laryngectomy, surgery that removes cancer-ridden parts of the throat.

The 30-second PSA is part of a $54 million campaign called Tips From Former Smokers launched by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday. Using graphic, true-to-life images, the ads are intended to shock people into giving up their smoking habit.

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The campaign is an attempt to counter the more than $100 billion that tobacco companies spend on marketing and promotion, but is “a drop in the bucket in terms of what it’s going to cost us when compared to what tobacco companies are spending to market cigarettes,” said Dr. Tim McAffee, director of the office on smoking and health at  the CDC.

“They will spend in two days what we will spend in one year to combat their marketing. We need to make sure the American people understand the risks instead of receiving information from marketing campaigns that are carefully crafted to promote cigarette smoking.”

The CDC’s anti-smoking advertising blitz has been in the works for more than a year, but the CDC decided to launch it now after a recent surgeon general’s report  found that the decline in smoking had slowed in adults and  come to a virtual halt in young people.

About 3 million American high school students and more than 45 million adults smoke cigarettes. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., according to the CDC.

CDC health officials analyzed the impact of graphic smoking advertising campaigns throughout different states and different countries, said McAffee. The uncomfortable photos and videos of former smokers seem to convey the dangers of smoking in a way that encourages people to quit.

“Most smokers know they’re going to shorten their lives from smoking, but a lot don’t realize that smoking does not just kill but leads to long-term suffering,” said McAfee.

They hope that the billboards, radio, print and TV ads will sway up to 50,000 Americans to quit smoking.

“We expect over half a million people to be inspired and encouraged to quit and about 50,000 to quit permanently after seeing these ads,” said McAffee. “We have scientific evidence that shows that these graphic ads can be successful in getting the word out for people to quit.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct122011

Food Marketing to Kids Argued on Capitol Hill

George Doyle/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Calling proposed regulations for marketing food “radical,” members of the food and advertising industries butted heads with representatives of three government agencies during a contentious hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday.

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee members debated the merits of a federal proposal that could restrict the types of foods marketed to children.

In 2009, because of growing worry over childhood obesity, Congress asked the Federal Trade Commission, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create an Interagency Working Group to come up with recommendations for marketing food to children.

Last April, the group released a preliminary list of proposed requirements, which called for reduced levels of sodium, sugar and saturated fats in foods marketed to children.

Wednesday’s hearing ranged from arguments over whether the proposed tighter standards would help curb childhood obesity or contribute to job loss, as some Republicans have suggested. Some questioned whether the government should be regulating food marketing at all.

“We believe these are very radical proposals. There is nothing in these proposals that answers the key question that Congress has asked,” said Dan Jaffe, executive vice president of the Association of National Advertisers, at Wednesday’s hearing. "Across the board, we think proposals as they now stand should be withdrawn.”

Dr. William Dietz, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, disagreed. “We know there is a linear relationship between television viewing and obesity,” he said. “And it appears that food marketing to children plays an important role. The more television a child watches, the more likely they are to consume food while watching television. And those foods are more likely to be the foods that are advertised on television.”

Senior Marketing Counsel for Campbell’s Soup Co. Jim Baughman countered, saying, “I think the misconception is that food companies can control what people eat. In fact, we don’t control what people eat -- they control what we can sell to them, and we have to be very conscious of that. Certainly, the criteria that have been set out in the proposal would make it impossible for us to comply.”

Jaffe said that an analysis of the proposed regulations found that of the 100 most popular foods for children, 88 would be banned from advertising -- and that could include yogurt.

Members of the subcommittee -- not just the food and advertising industries -- also debated some of the Interagency Working Group’s proposals.

“Please don’t misunderstand. I am very concerned about the obesity epidemic in our nation,” Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., said. “I have four young grandchildren, and I want them to make good dietary and lifestyle choices and grow up healthy. Parents, not government bureaucrats, are in best position to make sure good choices are made.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun292011

Photoshopping Sends Unhealthy Message to America's Youth, AMA Says

Goodshoot/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- In the age of digital manipulation, when images are often "doctored" by editors with the precision of surgeons, the most powerful medical organization in America weighs in to say that rampant Photoshopping sends an unhealthy message to America's youth.

The American Medical Association has urged advertisers, especially those in teen-oriented magazines, to work with child and adolescent health agencies to develop guidelines that set some Photoshopping boundaries.

"Photoshopping, especially as it's related to children and adolescents, gives them an unrealistic expectation of what they might expect to look like as they grow up," said Jeremy Lazarus, AMA's president-elect. "So there are adverse health consequences as a result of that."

Several studies have linked exposure to manipulated pictures to eating disorders and other health problems. The danger is that young people measure themselves against body types that can only be attained with the help of photo-editing software, psychologists say.

"We often forget, because of the bombardment of these images, that Americans don't look like this," said David Sarwer, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. "They are these idealized images of beauty where everything is perfect, and there are no blemishes and no wrinkles and no cellulite."

Even Kate Middleton's picture-perfect wedding apparently wasn't perfect enough for Italian magazine Grazia, which edited her waist to make it tinier. In one 2009 Ralph Lauren ad, the Photoshopping was so severe it made the model's head bigger than her waist.

In the aftermath of the controversy over that ad, Lauren released a statement apologizing for the retouching.

"We have addressed the problem and going forward will take every precaution to ensure that the caliber of our artwork represents our brand appropriately," he said.

Precautions that Sarwer hopes will transform into a new normal for the industry.

"It's fantastic that the AMA has stepped out and made this statement," said Sarwer. "I truly hope that not only do other professional and medical societies echo and share in this statement and in this belief, I also hope obviously that the magazine publishers in our country and around the world also recognize that they do have a responsibility to their viewers and to the purchasers of their magazines."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun272011

Pediatricians Suggest 'Media Diet' for Obese Kids

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Childhood obesity has become an epidemic in America -- with 17 percent of children aged two to 19 obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That's more than three times as many as in 1980.

That huge increase has families, doctors and the government looking for ways to curb the problem. A report released Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics has a new suggestion: ban companies from advertising junk food during children's television programs.

The AAP has long called for parents to put their kids on a "media diet." Studies have shown that watching TV or surfing the Internet displaces more physical, healthy pursuits, and people tend to snack more on junk foods with low nutritional value when they're in front of the TV. Recent research also shows screen time interferes with kids' sleep, itself a risk factor for obesity.

Now the organization is going a step further by calling on Congress to ban fast food and junk food ads during shows directed at kids.

Dr. Victor Strasburger, the pediatrician who authored the statement, says it's "time for Congress to man up against the food industry," by instituting a ban. He explains that years of studies have shown that kids are psychologically defenseless against advertising, that they don't understand the selling intent of ads, and that the current voluntary regulations aren't enough.

Keith Ayoob, a pediatric nutritionist and director of the Nutrition Clinic at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, says a ban on fast food advertising might happen, but it probably won't make much of a difference: "There was kids' TV before there was an obesity crisis. They advertised sweet, high-calorie food for kids, but nobody cared until obesity became an epidemic."

Ayoob also questions how the government will determine what foods and companies would not be allowed to advertise if ads for junk food were banned. "It's not like it's tobacco. It's food."

Dr. Strasburger says a ban on junk food advertising to kids isn't the only and final solution, and TV itself isn't to blame for the obesity epidemic. Still, he says, the "least healthy foods are being advertised on television most heavily to our kids. It's a contributing factor we can easily do something about."

The AAP has a few other suggestions for parents. Keep TVs and computers out of kids' bedrooms -- that makes it easier to regulate how much time they spend in front of the screen. The AAP recommends limiting screen time to no more than two hours a day, and not right before bed.

Ayoob explains, "If kids aren't allowed to sit in front of a TV for hours, they will have to do something else. Six hours of screen time is equal to six hours of bed rest. Obviously, that's not something that we recommend for kids." Dr. Strasburger also says parents should watch TV with their kids, so they can teach them about advertising and healthy eating habits, despite what they see in the ads.

"When kids spend seven hours a day watching television or on the computer, it's time to think about how that influences them," Strasburger says, "and how we can do the best in homes and at an institutional level to give our kids the best chance in life."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar072011

Popular Characters Influence Food Preferences for Kids, Study Shows

Jupiterimages/Pixland(PHILADELPHIA) -- If a food is branded with your child's favorite cartoon character, it could make them think it tastes better, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that children who ate a food with popular characters on the packaging thought the food tasted better than those who ate the same food that did not display a character.

Although the study, published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, was specific to one location is the U.S., similar studies have reached the same conclusion. Study authors believe the influence of characters in food advertising could have a negative effect on nutritional choices.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov232010

FTC Asked to Investigate Faulty Online Health Marketing

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(WASHINGTON) – The Federal Trade Commission has been called on to investigate potentially illegal marketing practices that target a growing number of Americans seeking medical information and treatment online.

In a complaint filed with the FTC, the Center for Digital Democracy, U.S. PIRG, Consumer Watchdog and the World Privacy Forum called on the commission to protect consumers from insecurely providing personal data when looking for health information and services on the Internet.

The filing has asked that the FDA, which has been pressured to expand the rights of health marketers online, await a study and report from the FTC before taking any action.

At issue are the types of online targeting techniques and methods used by advertisers and what type of personal data is being collected through those methods.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio