Food manufacturers "seduce" children with online games | RetailDetail

Food manufacturers "seduce" children with online games

Food manufacturers "seduce" children with online games

Online games are cheaper and more effective than tv ads in an attempt to lure children towards food products, an Australian-New Zealand university research shows.

"More dangerous" than TV ads

The Kellogg's tiger teaches children to play baseball, Nestlé gets children to fling Angry Bids in a breakfast bowl while Paula the Cow (from Dr. Oetker) shows children around her crazy farm. These may seem like innocent online games, but they are "more dangerous than tv ads" according to Australian and New Zealand researchers.


477 children, aged 5-8, were asked to play Froot Loops, a game that gives more points for cereal than for fruit. Afterwards, they were asked which was their favourite breakfast and 65 % chose Froot Loops. Only 35 % of children chose Froot Loops if they hadn't played the game. A Mexican research had shown similar results, but with Oreo cookies: 65 % chose Oreo cookies out of an entire range of snacks after playing a similar game.


"It works better than TV commercials as those are over after 20 seconds, while an internet game can keep a child busy for far longer", Jaap Seidell, food and health professor at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, said.


Health-focused groups are critical

An increasing number of health-focused organizations are calling for rules for these "hidden temptations". "It is much cheaper for manufacturers of unhealthy food. Sponsored games, social media offers, it is all part of the deal", Jaap Seidell said.


Tim Smits, researcher at the KU Leuven, agreed: "It is a typical consequence. Children associate fun with Kellogg's and that is why they suddenly crave cereal more. When my colleague showed children an interview with a footballer who advertised a potato chips brand, everyone immediately craved potato chips afterwards", he explained in Het Nieuwsblad. "Parents have very little impact on this type of advertising and therefore the government needs to create strict rules", he feels.


59 % of 9-16 year old children in the European Union has a social media account and social media advertising is extremely effective for this particular age group. They also want what their friends like. What is worse is that they are still unable to differentiate between advertising and reality. There are clearer boundaries on TV as there is a separation between content and ads, but that boundary is not as clear on the internet and even vaguer in games, the researchers say.

Questions or comments? Please feel free to contact the editors

C&A expands web shop to 11 new countries


Clothing chain C&A introduced another eleven countries to its web shop, instantly more than doubling the range of its online activities.

New Esprit CEO hails from New Look


Fashion chain Esprit will get a new CEO: Jose Manuel Martínez will leave the company and pass on the baton to Anders Kristiansen. New Look’s former CEO has to bring growth to Esprit, particularly through ambitious plans for China.

Dior exchanges Belgian CFO for British one


After eleven years as Dior Homme’s Chief Creative Officer, Belgian Kris Van Assche is to leave the fashion label to find new challenges. British designer Kim Jones will replace him.

Suitcase brand Rimowa cancels all dealer contracts


Suitcase brand Rimowa, part of luxury group LVMH since 2016, has stopped all of its dealer contracts. It wants to initiate a new procedure soon and only a fraction of the current dealers will get a new contract.

H&M disappoints once again


Swedish fashion chain Hennes & Mauritz had to present less than favourable results for its new fiscal year: investor trust has dwindled, now that sales in its home territory have also dropped for the first time in decades.

Bureau of Competition approves Yoox Net-a-Porter bid


The Italian Bureau of Competition has approved Swiss Richemont’s acquisition of Italian fashion webshop Yoox Net-a-Porter. The full bid, yet to be accepted, values the company at 2.7 billion euro.

Back to top