Unilever will end marketing to young kids to fight childhood obesity
There are certain products that have long been deemed inappropriate to market towards kids. CPG brand giant Unilever is adding its entire product portfolio to that list.
By the end of 2020, the CPG conglomerate will no longer market or advertise its products to children under 12, the company shared in a post on its website. Unilever will not use any influencer, celebrities or social media personalities who appeal to children under 12 or who are that age themselves to promote products and will only use cartoons to advertise a limited number of products with a particular nutritional profile. The company is making the move in an effort to help fight childhood obesity, which the World Health Organization has identified as one of the biggest dangers to public health in the new century.
Unilever-owned Wall’s Ice Cream will be the first brand to bear a Responsibly Made for Kids logo on products with a reduced amount of sugar and calories. The marketing will be aimed at adults who make the purchase decisions.
Studies dating as far back as the 1990s have established that children exert a significant amount of influence on what their parents buy in cases where children will be the primary consumers (as is often the case with junk food and toys).
More recent studies, such as one conducted by Facebook and reported on Social Media Today, state that kids in the social media era have even more of an impact on parental buying decisions. These days, 71 percent of parents believe that children hold sway over how much they spend on products.
Trying to keep kids from getting hooked on junk food is not the only change Unilever has made to meet the demands of a consumer that is both more health-conscious and more concerned about issues of corporate responsibility.
Unilever recently acquired better-for-you snack brand Graze, winning a bidding war against major CPGs including Kellogg’s and PepsiCo, as reported by Bakery and Snacks. Graze makes better-for-you products such as snack bars and trail mixes free from artificial ingredients.
- Why we’re changing the way we market products to children – Unilever
- What Influences the Purchase Decisions of Parents? [Infographic] – Social Media Today
- Children’s Influence in Purchase Decisions: a Review and Critique – The Association for Consumer Research
- Unilever acquires UK snack brand Graze to accelerate growth in the better-for-you sector – Bakery and Snacks
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is Unilever taking sufficient actions in changing its marketing strategy to avoid marketing directly to children and implementing a Responsibly Made for Kids logo? Do you see other big CPGs making similar moves?