In the today’s world of consumerism, children have become a major asset to consumers and producers now have a greater impact on the health and attitudes of their juvenile customers. Professor of Sociology, Juliet B. Schor, and undergraduate sociology major, Margaret Ford, in their article, “From Tastes Great to Cool: Children’s Food Marketing and the Rise of the Symbolic,” analyze food marketing strategies on the lives of youth. After conducting research and studying, Schor and Ford concluded that the food industry’s advertising is a major cause of unhealthy lifestyles of children.
Schor and Ford’s purpose is to educate readers about the harmful impact of food advertising on young consumers. As the title suggests, food marketing impacts the attitudes and decisions of young people because advertisers try to appeal to a “cool audience. ” The intended audience includes students of sociology and psychology because “From Tastes Great to Cool” is an article in a symposium, The Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics. Schor and Ford begin their article by evaluating the growth in consumption patterns of young consumers over time.
According to their research, commercialization has a greater effect on the lives of children compared to earlier years because of the growing popularity of social media and television. Social media and television have transformed into an advertising outlet for junk food marketing. Ford and Schor suggest that “children are exposed to between 20,000 and 40,000 ads per year” and “expenditure on marketing to children went from $2 billion in 1999 to approximately $15 billion in 2004. ” They also reference D. F. Robert’s study to address the greater exposure to junk food advertising on racial minorities and low income families.
Schor and Ford list and analyze common ways food marketers try to appeal to customers, such as giveaways, branded books, sponsored events, representatives, and promoting at schools. Schor and Ford state these facts to introduce the relationship between producers and child consumers. In the article Ford and Schor address criticism that often comes from producers. According to the article, “Critics argue that actual amounts of money are often small and less than is promised, and that the benefits do not outweigh the negative impacts, especially when the products are junk food. In order to address critics, Ford and Schor investigate how effective food marketing is and the influence of food advertisers on children’s health. Through their research Ford and Schor came to the conclusion that exposure to junk food ads leads to unhealthy choices.
According to Schor and Ford, “The increase of marketing to children has coincide with significant deterioration of healthfulness of children’s diets, higher calorie intake, and a rapid increase in rates of obesity and overweight. For example, the intake of soda has nearly tripled for boys and double for girls. Ford and Schor also support their argument with the fact that obesity rates have increased as children are more exposed to food advertising. Ford and Schor further support their argument by reviewing the history of the messages of marketing. Advertising has changed from being honest, concrete, simple, and informative to expensive, symbolic, and appealing to counter-culture. In early decades, commercials conveyed intrinsic benefits of the products.
Due to the rise of a mass consumer society, advertisers in the 1950s and 1960s, or the creative revolution, began to advertise more symbolic and cultural-driven values by stressing the “cool” image they want their products to convey (Nike represents power and athleticism). Ford and Schor suggest that symbolic marketing of food persuades children to eat particular foods because of it affects their social identity not because of tastefulness or healthfulness.
Ford and Schor believe that the youth’s desire to be “cool” and the segregation of adults from children prompts junk food producers to utilize an “anti-adult” message in their ads. Ford and Schor juxtapose junk food with drugs to address the symbolic relationship of adults and children; junk food contains high amounts of sugar that make children hyper and a nuisance to parents. Schor and Ford also define the relationship between tobacco and junk food to prove that junk food marketers have cynical ambitions. After reading this essay, readers will have more knowledge about physiological effect of food marketing strategies.
Schor and Ford successfully counter any arguments against their belief because of their extensive research. They use other studies to further prove themselves and show they are accountable. In order to make their article understandable, Schor and Ford organize their article in logical order to show the effects and history of food advertising. At the end of the article, Schor and Ford state their thesis, “Reduction of exposure to marketing will undoubtedly be a central part of any successful anti-obesity strategy.
After summarizing their arguments, Schor and Ford state their thesis to persuade readers to believe that rise of food marketing has a significantly negative impact on the health of children. Because Schor and Ford intended to have an audience with some insight on sociology, their article is rampant with statistics and facts. They establish a factual tone by referencing expert studies in order to prove their argument-food marketing has a negative effect on the health of children.
In the article, the construction of sentences are constant and sentence lengths are long because they interpret studies and statistics Ford and Schor want readers to get a better understanding on how the attitudes of children are easily influenced by marketers. The style of their writing educates the reader about psychology and advertising. The growing influence of marketing on juvenile consumers encouraged Schor and Ford to analyze the impacts of food advertising strategies on the health of children. Schor and Ford execute their argument by demonstrating the decline of healthfulness as junk food advertising increases.