Today is about advertising to children and you are going to learn A LOT. I grew up in the 80’s and you’ll be very surprised to learn how you can pinpoint this era as the jumping off point into our exposure to a wide variety of TV shows, toys and ultimately food that helped to derail our health.
In this podcast, I share the insights into how toys and cartoons are linked with kids of that day growing up not as healthy as other generations and the carry over effect this has had in us getting sicker and fatter. I share insights into how advertising is directly aimed at children and the effect it has on them that they can’t control. It involves some sketchiness by Ronald Reagan, G.I Joe, McDonald’s and even Romper Room. Yes, you read that correctly.
So grab your walkmen, your acid wash jeans, and your favorite mix tape. It’s time.
Here are Some G.I.Joe Fun facts: It was the very first animated TV miniseries & started in that 12 weeks out from Christmas sweet spot time. The G.I also stands for “Government Issue” and the larger original dolls become smaller due to higher plastic prices from increased oil prices. Also, G.I. Joe figures are all made to be dishwasher safe if you hadn’t been sure..
In This Episode On Advertising To Children You Will Learn:
Part 1: The Evolution Of Toys & Cartoons Which Set the Stage.
The podcast has 3 sections to it. In the first part It starts with Barbie as one of the first big hit toys. Wanting to capitalize on younger male demographic Hasbro develops G.I Joe but calls them action figures so younger boys don’t think they’re playing with dolls. This will ultimately lead to the G.I Joe cartoon series which was one of the first main shows with the primary intent of being a multi-episode commercial. In the rest of part 1 you will learn:
- Why the sales of G.I Joe plummeted in the 60’s
- Who the company Mego was and the new approach they took
- The biggest mistake in the history of toys
- How Kenner began to dominate the market and the reintroduction of G.I Joe
- The role of the ACT (action for children’s television) preventing the targeting of ads to kids
- What the new chairman of the FTC appointed by Ronald Reagan did in 1980
- Why we saw a tidal wave of new cartoons in the 1980’s
- How selling things and cartoons became one and the same
- The final push to stop all this in 1988 and what Reagan did as one of his final acts
- The way advertisers and cartoons took advantage of everything going on
Part 2: How Advertising Effects Children:
In this part, we look at what all the stats say as far as it applies to advertising to children. The main issue is how kids under 12 really don’t have the ability to tell the difference between a show and ads and how the advertisers know this. When you also combine the fact that ads target emotions and kids are not fully emotionally developed yet it sets up the perfect storm. This part of the podcast will look at:
- The different areas in life where children completely dictate a families money spending
- What purchase power is and the obscene amount of money that brings that economy
- Why pester power is a very real thing and how companies are more than aware of it
- The amount of money spent on advertising to children and its increases over the years
- Emotions in advertising and how political campaigns focus on them too
- Research from the American Psychology Association task force and why they said advertising to children should be banned
- How this continues to effect us into our adulthood
Part 3: Nutritional Damage That Comes From Advertising To Kids
In part 3 of the podcast, we look at all the ways food companies target children to entice them into their products. Fast food is the most guilty of it and McDonald’s, of course, leads the way with a complete focus on children while completely disregarding their health. I look at how other countries have moved away from targeting kids and the effect it’s had. In the 1980’s there was a huge movement into some of the unhealthiest food in history while at the same time advertising was focused on shoving this stuff down our throats, literally and figuratively. In part 3 you will learn:
- The correlation between seeing junk food ads and weight gain
- Why an ad for one product can actually make you end up eating something different but just as bad
- The extra amount of junk food kids eat that watched shows with junk food commercials compared to those who didn’t watch
- Why fast food and snack companies take a drug dealer approach to kids.
- The amount of product placement in TV shows let alone advertising
- The approach Europe and other countries have taken in regards to advertising to children
- The different approach Quebec took in the 1980’s and the effect that has had on children’s health
- The amount of money McDonald’s spends on advertising specifically to children and how much is spent just advertising the ‘Happy Meal’
- The way companies take a round about way to advertise while trying to look like the “good guys”
- How food companies are crawling into the schools
- The future of advertising to kids and all of us online
Hopefully Now You Know, & Knowing Is Half The Battle!
You’ll now understand the real reason that little educational segment was tagged onto the end of G.I Joe cartoons and I hope you learned more about advertising to children and advertising in general. It’s no great shock that corporations do not have our best interests in mind and I think it’s important to take a trip back in time to see how this targeting really took off.
Moving forward with your health goals it’s important to be as educated as possible and it’s really fundamental to get an understanding of how advertising is targeted at all of us. We’re never going to avoid it we just need to develop the right tools to process and not let ourselves get manipulated by it. You can see how these companies really went after us when we were kids in the 80’s and how that’s progressed through the years.
If you liked this show make sure you subscribe on iTunes and if you really liked it feel free to share this around with anyone you think might enjoy it. Also, make sure to sign up for the free eBook I send out for signing up to the email list called: The Healthy Eating Starter Kit
So after all these issues with the 80’s let’s end it on a GOOD 1980’s moment, the original opening theme of Punky Brewster: