Youtube Twitter Facebook Thai Language English Language
The Truth in Advertising of Food and Beverages for children
February 1, 2015

Media Monitor, in collaboration with Food and Nutrition Policy for Health Promotion had conducted a study on advertisements of food and beverages in children’s programs, aired on 4 free TV channels, that is, channel 3, 5, 7 and 9. They found that 94% of food and beverages in advertising are products with inappropriate nutrition. Moreover, advertisements often use celebrities and cartoon characters as presenters as well as mockups to make food look oversized.

Contents in the advertisements focus on the taste, encourage excessive consumption and persuade children to eat their products instead of staple diet. The wordings make the price seem cheaper, make the users seem more outstanding than others, and contain sexual contents which are inappropriate for children

Besides, all forms of product placements are found “the most” in the programs with G-rated content which are broadcast during time bands for children.

“Such advertisements arouse children’s need for consumption while advertising law does not cover advertisements containing forms and contents unsuitable for children,” said Dr. Uajit Wirottrairat, Director of Media Monitor.

Dr.Suriyadeo Tripathi, MD. Director of National Institute for Child and Family Development, Mahidol University said, “At present there are lots of tactics and gimmicks in advertising, inducing children who are easy to be tricked to consume, especially those less than 6 years. They cannot differentiate imagination from true world. Thus, they become victims of such advertisements and are affected in 3 ways. First, risk of physical health increases such as obesity, anorexia and malnutrition. Second, risk of mental health increases such as children imitate inappropriate behaviors seen in media. And third, social and culture risks and wrong values occur, for example, consumption of the products advertised can enhance abilities and beauty.

“It’s time to take action seriously by enforcing the existing law and making it more concrete.”

Ms. Khemporn Wirunraphan, manager of The Child Media Project, said “Media is a key factor of children’s learning. Children and youths spend a lot of time using media so advertisements have a great influence on their attitudes and behaviors inevitably.

“I’d like to see the conscience-stricken producers who do not aim at only profits, but also care about effects on children. The agencies responsible for monitoring and controlling of advertisements like professional associations and government sector like NTBC must place importance on advertisements that children can reach, set a different criteria from those advertisements during adults’ programs. They must educate in benefits and harms of media to children and parents, let parent associations and social sector participate in monitoring. They should stop shifting the responsibility to one another. Instead, they are supposed to work together to develop their children and youths.”

And one of the measures is law and mechanism that control advertising. It’s time to establish the standard, increase regulations and set the mechanism to particularly control those advertisements aired during children’s programs, especially advertisement of food containing no useful nutrients, improper contents, technics to stimulate and promote more consumption in children.

“Thailand should have a strong measure about the issue like other countries such as England and Australia where there’s a mutual control mechanism between government and business sectors. It was set up to monitor and give a punishment to the producers of advertisements that violate regulations. Imposing a law or measure is not only a method to protect the health of children and youths, it’s also good for social and government sectors in reducing the expenses of non-chronic diseases in the future as well,” said Nongnut Chaichuen, an academic of Food and Nutrition Policy for Health Promotion.