Health watchdog starts a food fight with Kraft Heinz over ads that disparage fresh fare | Ad Age

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The Center for Science in the Public Interest is publicly calling out Kraft Heinz for ads that use humor to suggest parents should smother broccoli in cheese, bribe kids with fries, or replace some veggies with some macaroni and cheese to lessen the stress during meals.

Certain Kraft Heinz ads that ran in recent years appear to violate guidelines regarding product presentations and disparagement established by the Children’s Advertising Review Unit of the Better Business Bureau, according to CSPI. And now, the group is asking CARU to weigh in on the matter.

In a March 24 letter addressed to CARU Director Dona Fraser, CSPI highlights some of the ads it finds fault with. The watchdog acknowledges that Kraft is already planning to discontinue the campaigns in question yet writes that it still wants the ad review unit to review the food marketer’s ad practices.

Guidelines issued by CARU include: “Advertising of food products should encourage responsible use of the product with a view toward healthy development of the child. For example, advertising of food products should not discourage or disparage healthy lifestyle choices or the consumption of fruits or vegetables, or other foods recommended for increased consumption by current USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans and My Pyramid, as applicable to children under 12.”

One of the ads highlighted by CSPI is a Kraft macaroni & cheese spot that shows a woman chasing after a child with a forkful of veggies in an unsuccessful attempt to get the kid to eat “one more bite.” Then, when the adult makes Kraft macaroni and cheese, the child smiles during mealtime. That commercial “disparaged healthy foods, a longstanding feature of advertisements from Kraft Heinz,” CSPI wrote. And, according to data shared by the watchdog, it was shown during kids programming on networks such as “Teen Titans Go!” on Cartoon Network, “DuckTales” on Disney XD and “SpongeBob SquarePants” on Nickelodeon.

The Kraft mac and cheese spot used the tagline “for the win win,” a sentiment echoed in a spot for Kraft cheese that showed a standoff at the dining table that ends when broccoli is covered with cheese. Both ads use the Enya song “Only Time” to suggest the relaxation that ensues.

This content was originally published here.

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