Social media as a way around advertising regulations

Junk food companies use Facebook to get around children’s television advertising restrictions. News.com.au, October 18, 2014.

An interesting article describing how junk food companies work to finesse their way around laws established in Australia to stem the consumption of junky foods by kids. The technique is simple: go directly to advertising to kids on Facebook. Apparently Australian legislators have set limits on junk food advertising to kids on TV but not via the social media.

So junk food companies, in their relentless, dare I say amoral, pursuit of profit, go directly to kids where they live, so to speak, that is on Facebook. Similar snappy advertisement, similar outcomes, namely kids buying into these advertisements and hence purchasing these high carb, high sugar, high fat foods in vast amounts.

What makes this technique even more insidious is that the kids can now, if they have the purchasing power, buy the items directly from the Facebook page of the fast food company. As a recent study at Sydney University in Australia indicates, the causal correlation between these ads being consumed and kids’ obesity rates increasing is fairly clear.

As I’ve long said, the makers of media, and in this case the maker of media-based advertising are usually one or two steps ahead of media researchers, and now we can add a few step ahead of legislators too.