01 July 2012

Will Philippine advertisers follow Disney’s move?

When the Walt Disney Company decided to stop the licensing of its characters for McDonald’s Happy Meals, it did so with the intention of helping in the now worldwide campaign to reduce the incidence of obesity among children.
The colossal entertainment company realizes the connection between advertising and marketing to children, and the increased desire among them to patronize unhealthy food products.
Disney did not stop there.

Around 2007, it also resolutely introduced more healthful food options at its iconic theme parks in California and Florida. The company added carrots and low-fat milk in children’s meals. The move is along the same line as Michelle Obama’s famous campaign to combat the childhood obesity epidemic by pushing for healthful eating. It was therefore unsurprising that the American First Lady lauded Disney’s move.
“This new initiative is truly a game-changer for the health of our children,” Obama said. “So, for years, people told us that no matter what we did to get our kids to eat well and exercise, we would never solve our childhood obesity crisis until companies changed the way that they sell food to our children. We all know the conventional wisdom about that. ... Today, Disney has turned that conventional wisdom on its head.”
Upping the ante, Disney is now the first major media company to ban all forms of junk-food promotion and advertising on programming that targets children. It now has new standards for food and beverages advertised on Disney XD.  Saturday morning programs on Disney-owned ABC television stations also follow this new policy.
Additionally, food and beverage advertisers who wish to promote their products on Disney Channel or Disney XD will soon be required to observe stringent guidelines regarding serving size, calories, fat and sugar content.
The impact of all these on broadcasting and advertising excites advocates for children. Finally, a giant is taking up the cudgels for parents who are helpless in pulling away children from the clutches of advertising and media.
The question is: will Philippine advertisers follow suit and finally think of the child as paramount?
(If interested in the advocacy for family-friendly television, visit anaktvweb.com or email the foundation at anaktv_seal@yahoo.com.)




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