Drum roll: Annual ‘junk food’ Fame and Shame awards announced

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 5th December 2018

THE world’s largest food and beverage company, Nestlé has taken out the Smoke and Mirrors category in this year’s Fame and Shame Awards, highlighting what it says is the worst of junk food marketing while also celebrating those promoting a healthy lifestyle to kids. 

Now in its 14th year, the national Fame and Shame Awards is run by Parents’ Voice, an online network of parents who are interested in improving the food and activity environments of Australian children. Parents’ Voice was formed in 2004 and represents thousands of Australian parents, carers, and health professionals. Parents’ Voice is supported by Diabetes Victoria, VicHealth and YMCA Victoria.

Nestlé’s campaign called for children to ‘add more to milk’ with MILO, neglecting to mention that it contains 9g of added sugar.

“Behind the smoke and mirrors, MILO only gets a 1.5 Health Star Rating without milk”, said Alice Pryor, Parents’ Voice campaigns manager.

McDonald’s and their ‘Happy Land’ app received the Digital Ninja award for being the digital media campaign most obviously targeting children and driving unhealthy participation in the brand.

“Using popular SnapChatlike features such as digital masks, in conjunction with featuring the animated character ‘Happy’, the app is designed to increase children’s brand affinity with McDonald’s,” said Ms Pryor.

The Coles Little Shop campaign claimed the Pester Power award for 2018. Featuring discretionary products that appeal to children, including Nutella, Tim Tam and Oak chocolate milk, the campaign encourages children to nag their parents to purchase these mini food replicas. 

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Nicole French, a parent member of Parents’ Voice, said: “The level of pestering the Coles Little Shop campaign encouraged in children was almost unprecedented. Through play with these products, our children learn unhealthy habits that may last a life time.” 

The Foul Sport award was presented to PepsiCo for its Gatorade ‘The Game is Never Over’ campaign.

The campaign used sporting identities, including AFL star Scott Pendlebury, to promote Gatorade to children. 

“Parents are fed up with sports drinks such as Gatorade marketing to kids via their sporting heroes,” Ms French said.

“With nine teaspoons (36g) of added sugar per 600ml bottle – three more teaspoons of added sugar than the recommended daily intake for adults – Gatorade is more likely to lead to weight gain than sporting prowess.” 

Jane Martin, executive manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition, said that this type of unhealthy food marketing is undermining efforts by parents, schools and communities to encourage healthy habits.

”We know marketing works; it directly impacts what children eat and what they pester their parents for,” Ms Martin said.

“Today’s awards expose the sneaky tactics big brands continue to employ in order to manipulate kids into eating their products.

“Whether it’s using fun, colourful packaging, or targeting kids online through emotionally persuasive and immersive games, the industry has no shame and will always put profits ahead of kids’ health.

 “When around 40% of the energy in the average Australian child’s diet comes from junk food, it’s time for the Government to stop leaving industry to make its own sham rules.”

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Fame awards

In the Parents’ Choice Award for Food, the Phenomenom campaign won, featuring springboard videos and interactive lessons for children, making food a core component in education. 

“We’re pleased Phenomenom, produced by former Masterchef contestant Alice Zaslavsky with funding from Horticultural Innovation Australia, has found a way to appeal to the inquisitive minds of children, promoting healthy food in a creative and accessible way,” Ms Pryor said.

The second and final Fame category: Parents’ Choice Award for Physical Activity, was awarded to VicHealth for the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign. “This Girl Can” inspires women and girls to embrace a variety of physical activities to get them moving every day.

Chair of the Parents’ Voice Steering Committee and parent Ari Kurzeme voted for the VicHealth campaign and was impressed by its positive message.

“‘This Girl Can’ presents a great opportunity and invitation for young women to try activities that suit them, to have fun whilst moving and says that sweating is okay – even beneficial,” Kurzeme said.   

Ms Pryor added: “This year’s Fame and Shame Awards underscores the failure of the self-regulatory advertising environment in Australia. We continue to be shocked by the amount of junk food and drink ads aimed at children. 1 in 4 Australian kids are above a healthy weight. This targeting of Australian kids must end”.

 

Fame and Shame 2018 – Winners List

 

Fame

Fame Parents’ Choice – Food congratulates a food advertisement that promotes healthy eating to children in a fun and appealing way.

  • Winner Phenomenom!

Fame Parents’ Choice – Physical Activity awarded to an advertisement that encourages children to get moving.

  • Winner VicHealth ‘This Girl Can’

 

Shame

Shame Digital Ninja given to the brand which has used digital media in the most obvious way to target children, gaining their attention; driving active participation in the brand and encouraging pester power.

  • Winner McDonald’s – ‘Happy Land’ Happy Studio App

Shame Smoke and Mirrors awarded for the use of misleading claims on children’s foods that make an unhealthy product appear healthier than it is

  • Winner MILO – ‘Add more to milk with MILO’

Shame Pester Power awarded to the food marketing campaign that uses techniques which appeal to children, leading to them nagging their parents for unhealthy foods.

  • Winner Coles – Little Shop

Shame Foul Sport for a company, team or athlete who uses sport to promote unhealthy food and drinks to influence children.

  • Winner PepsiCo – Gatorade ‘The Game is Never Over’