Today there is a great deal of controversy about the marketing of sugared cereals to children. Children's advocates maintain that the marketing of sugared cereals is taking a huge toll on children's well being. The cereal companies and marketers argue that it is a great economic business and that children deserve the right to choose cereals that they enjoy and that it is the parent's responsibility to decide what is appropriate for their diet. While there is an element of truth in both positions, the children's advocates position is clearly stronger.
Marketing to children has a been on the rise since the 1970's. The marketing products to children increased from 4.2 billion dollars in 1980 to 40 billion dollars in 2008. The steep rise in purchases for children followed the deregulation from the Advertising for Children's Act in 1981(Barbaro, 2008). Today the marketing to children follows a formula where a suite of products reinforce each other in various aspects of children's lives; so that characters in children's television shows and movies are used to sell toys and action figures which are used to sell sugared cereals which in turn encourage interest in the movies toys and music videos. Sugared cereals play a key role in this marketing system and some would argue because of their important role in reinforcing and maintaining the whole marketing cycle. Today there is an estimated one third of the people that live in the United States are considered over weight or obese(Barabaro, 2008). While the obesity rates keep rising there was experiment done that provides evidence that suggest that there is link between the advertisement of sugared cereal and consumption.
The cereals companies and marketers are not left speechless towards the critics of advertising sugared cereal to children and show a well spoken and defensive side of the argument. The cereal companies and marketers find the advertisement of sugared cereal contributes to a very lucrative business. They say that this lucrative business provides a substantial number of jobs and money that gets circulated in the economy and that a nation in the middle of an economic crisis would last need any of these businesses to fail. Food marketers state that there is no sufficient evidence that can link food marketing and obesity. Kellogg's argues that cereals that contain higher amounts of sugar are not necessarily un-healthy. They gave Froot Loops as an example and said that even though Froot Loops has high sugar it also provides a good source of vitamin C and vitamin A (Rochman, 2009).
The critics say that there is nothing good that comes from the marketing of sugared cereals to children and that it in fact is a great misuse of money and at the same time bad for children. The critics say that the billions of dollars that go into manipulating children into buying and consuming sugared cereals could very well had been spent on advertising healthy cereal and the out come of profit would of be the same. They go on to point out that there is ample evidence that sugared cereals are causing children to become obese and that these people become obsess adults.
The best evidence of the effect of advertising sugared cereals comes out of the "Quasi-Experiment" by Marvin Goldberg. This experiment examines the consumption of sugared cereal by children in Quebec where advertising to children was banned. This research shows that French speaking children in Quebec did not have as much sugared cereal as well as the amount of cereal in there houses compared to other parts of North America. The study shows that English speaking children in Quebec, who have access to television programming that is not covered by the ban, consume more cereal as well as more sugared cereal than the French speaking children in Quebec. Goldberg states "The Quebec law served to reduce children's exposure to commercials for sugared cereals and hence appears to have reduced