New Media but Same Old Tricks: Food Marketing to Children in the Digital Age

Curr Obes Rep. 2015 Mar;4(1):37-45. doi: 10.1007/s13679-014-0128-5.


'New media' refers to digital technologies, which offer unmatched opportunities for food companies to engage with young people. This paper explores the emergence of food marketing using new media, the potential impact of this marketing on young people, and current and potential policy responses to limit exposure to these promotions. Foremost in any informed policy discussion is the need for robust evidence to demonstrate the need for intervention. In this case, such evidence relates to the extent of children's exposures to commercial food promotions via new media, and the nature of these promotions. Approaches to, and challenges of, collecting and assessing these data are discussed. There is accumulating evidence that food marketing on new media is increasing and influences children's food preferences and choices. The impact of integrated campaigns, which reinforce commercial messages across multiple platforms, and of new media, which engage personally with potential consumers, is likely to be greater than that of traditional marketing.

Keywords: Beverage; Digital media; Food; Marketing; New media.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diet*
  • Food Industry*
  • Food Preferences*
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Marketing*
  • Mass Media*
  • Pediatric Obesity / etiology