Food & Beverage Advertising and Youth: a focus-group analysis of what youth find appealing in food and beverage marketing
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Youth perception of print and outdoor food and beverage advertising was gauged to identifying aspects of ads that characterized them as youth oriented. Two sets of focus groups totaling 125 participants were conducted; one with children aged 8-15 focusing on print ads, and one with participants aged 11-14 emphasizing outdoor ads. Qualitative analysis of focus groups highlighted appeal of ads perceived as easily comprehensible, emphasizing flavor, evoking happiness and containing colors. Participants disliked ads described as boring and deceptive. Opinion of the ads were heavily influenced by attitude toward the product, with perceived health having mixed effect on appeal. These finding suggest that through use of certain characteristics, food and beverage ads can specifically target youths. The use of child attracting elements in ads promoting products falling outside of the dietary guidelines for America may contribute to youth consumption of unhealthy products and youth obesity.