Advertising Using Children

I saw a commercial this morning that really sparked a question of ethics. It was for Kellogg’s Frootloops cereal and it involved children telling another child that eating that cereal would make him healthy. Watch the commercial below and see if you can figure out why I was bothered by this.

Did you figure it out? The first point that I would like to raise is that 3 grams of fiber in this cereal doesn’t even come close to what the recommended amount for children actually is. According to the American Heart Association website, children ages 4-8 need at least 25 grams per day and for children ages 9-13, 26 grams is needed for girls and 31 grams is needed for boys. This 3 grams of fiber ploy is also a way to mask the fact that Frootloops contains 12 grams of sugar per serving. Thats not a ridiculous amount, but considering a typical serving portion is around 3/4 of a cup, it’s crazy to think that much sugar will make up a child’s breakfast. According to an article on CBS.com, the USDA recommends capping added sugar at 6-10 percent of daily calories.

Another big problem I had with this commercial was the fact that children were being used to push this information. It seemed so forced to see little kids pretending to know why fiber is good for the body and how eating a bowl of Frootloops will make them healthy. Getting past the personal bias against processed food, it is fair to suggest that the consuming of this cereal probably isn’t written on a doctor’s prescription for the stomach flu. By using children to promote this product, the advertisers for this company are clearly working under the assumption that children watching this commercial will more easily relate to the message and in turn tell their parents that they need to eat Frootloops to be healthy. Brilliant!

Finally I’d like to offer an alternative for the parents of children who are concerned with not only making their child happy, but also keeping them healthy. The first is a cereal that I personally have tried and find to be very delicious. It’s called Clifford Crunch by Cascadian Farm. It offers the same amount of fiber that Frootloops does, but with half the sugar. With only 6 grams of sugar, this cereal is not only good for you, but is also tasty! It is also organic, which is just icing on the cake. Just remember, when in doubt about which cereal is best for your child, remember that the lower the sugar content, the better!

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