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FTC To Analyze Food Marketing To Kids

Looks like the FTC will be required to conduct an extensive analysis of TV and radio ad time expenditures on food industry marketing to children.

A bill, introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), an outspoken critic of TV marketing to kids, made it into the Senate Commerce, Justice and State Appropriations bill that passed out of a House/Senate conference committee last week.

The Harkin bill requires the FTC submit a report to the Appropriations Committee by July 1, 2006, "documenting food industry marketing activities and expenditures targeted toward children and adolescents."

Those include commercials on TV and radio (including product placement), print, in-store marketing, Internet, movies, and video games.

Responding to the provision, Association of National Advertisers Executive VP for Government Relations Dan Jaffe said that the industry has done its own analysis, and it doesn't link food marketers with obesity.

"We carried out an analysis of Nielsen data with the Grocery Manufacturers of America that demonstrated broadcast advertisements for food, beverage, and restaurants have declined over the past 10 years in the U.S., while obesity rates were rising," said Jaffe.

"The ANA will continue to make sure that the analysis regarding the role of advertising to children is systematic, accurate, and that First Amendment values are protected."