Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ads targeted at Children- Ethical Issues

The recent trend by major multinational companies of stop advertsining to chilldren must have been noticed. This issue has come into limelight in the recent years against the rise of child-obesity in the developed countries. Kellogg’s is the latest to join the band wagon, with its voluntary initiative to restrict ads aimed at kids for products that don't meet certain nutritional standards. The voluntary nature of the action is suspect as it is under pressure from health activists and many law suits, but anyway the move is a step in the right direction. Restrictions are also planned in schools in the US on the availability of junk food in schools, and allow only water, milk and juice-based drinks in vending machines and regulate the size and nutritional composition of foods sold. In India also in many states the sale of colas has been restricted in schools. Initiative of the cola majors to broaden their portfolio to include products other than the colas and gradually moving into juices and other healthier alternatives is a reflection of this changing trend.

The ethical question to be raised here is that the companies would have always known that they were advertising unhealthy products to children who would not understand the significance and force their parents to buy the product. We are not talking about small companies , most of these companies are in the top-rung of the fortune 500 list?????



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