Brand recognition as early as three years old: all types of marketing
offensives should be regulated!

MONTREAL, March 3 /CNW Telbec/ - Right after the release of a study in the Psychology & Marketing(1) journal concerning brand recognition by children, many groups across Canada reacted and asked for an efficient regulation of food marketing, as suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO). "This new study shows that the intensity of the promotion contributes directly to the global obesity epidemic, as the WHO has been claiming since 2006", says Suzie Pellerin, Director of the Quebec Coalition on Weight-Related Problems (Weight Coalition).

"With the constant exposure of certain brands during the Olympic Games, we should not be surprised that McDonald's has the highest rate of recognition by children in the study with 93%!", she adds. McDonald's and Coca-Cola each gave 212 million Canadian dollars to be part of the 2010 Olympic Games. According to a recent survey conducted by Ipsos Descarie with 2300 respondents, 38% of adult Canadians are wondering if the sponsoring of the Vancouver Olympic Games by McDonald's was appropriate. And as for the Coca-Cola sponsoring, 29% of the respondents think that it is not very or not at all appropriate.

"At the beginning of 2010, the WHO invited all its Member States to regulate in order to reduce the exposure and impact of fast-food marketing on kids, in its global strategy to fight chronic diseases. It also encouraged them to consider all types of marketing that tend to create a relationship between the child and a brand, like sponsorship, product placement, sales promotion, use of well-known personalities, brand mascots or characters popular with children, websites, packaging, point-of-purchase displays, emails or text messages, philanthropy, viral marketing, etc.", says Paul Lapierre, Chair of the Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada.

For the Chair of the Childhood Obesity Foundation, Dr. Tom Warshawski, there is clear evidence that both marketing to children as young as 3 is effective and that children this young are defenceless against the persuasive power of advertising. "Children who believe in the Easter Bunny will also swallow the line that happiness comes in a soft drink can. It is time for policy makers to seriously study whether allowing marketers full access to naïve, trusting children is in society's best interest," he concludes.

Researchers had established that the recognition of brands and their meaning was perceptible as early as 7 or 8 years old. However, the study published this month in the Psychology & Marketing journal shows that kids between 3 and 5 showed an emerging ability to use ads to define which products will be the most amusing and will make them popular, even if they don't know how to read yet. From a very young age, they associate the product, the brand and its logo, along with its potential usefulness in their daily life. So, the popularity of a brand and the peer pressure that comes with it have an indisputable impact on the positions and requests of young children.

About the Quebec Coalition on Weight-Related Problems

Created in 2006 and sponsored by the Association pour la santé publique du Québec since 2008, the Quebec Coalition on Weight-Related Problems is working toward the adoption of specific public policies in regard to weight related issues. It acts within three strategic areas (agri-food industry, sociocultural and built environment) to foster the development of environments that enable healthy choices and prevent weight related issues. For more details:

About the Childhood Obesity Foundation

Founded in 2004, the mission of the Childhood Obesity Foundation is to identify, evaluate and promote best practices in healthy nutrition and physical activity to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity. The vision of the Childhood Obesity Foundation is children and youth of Canada free of chronic diseases that ensue from obesity.

About Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada

CDPAC is a network of ten national organizations who share a common vision for an integrated system of research, surveillance, policies, and programs for maintaining health and prevention of chronic disease in Canada. 30

    (1) Cornwell B., McAlister A., Children's Brand Symbolism Understanding:
    Links to Theory of Mind and Executive Functioning, Psychology &
    Marketing, Vol. 27(3): 203-228 (March 2010).

SOURCE Quebec Coalition on Weight-Related Problems

For further information: For further information: Suzie Pellerin, Coalition Director, Cell.: (514) 235-3766; Dr Tom Warshawski, Chair of the Childhood Obesity Foundation, Cell.: (250) 212-3039; Craig Larsen, Executive Director of the Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada, Cell.: (613) 852-2504; Source: Amélie Desrosiers, Communications Officer, Quebec Coalition on Weight-Related Problems, (514) 598-8058, ext. 233, Cell.: (514) 475-7431,

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Quebec Coalition on Weight-Related Problems

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