Have you ever been watching television and right in the middle of your show been flooded with an endless amount of commercials? If you answered yes, I’m willing to bet that one of those advertisements were for one of the many fast food companies in the United States. In our country, fast food corporations have a dominating grasp on the consumer and the market as to which they are tackling. Some are calling it a pandemic, the next tobacco, and even a deadly drug that is being given to us willingly without any restrictions.
Society has come to see this so called viable source of food as a quick, convenient way of getting the nutrition needed during our everyday lives. The only reason as to which we have been able to convince our minds that what is being offered is ok is due to the intense advertising campaigns, which these multi-million dollar fast food companies run. With ads directed at adults showing how a quick burger can be convenient on the go to a full blown marketing campaign directed at kids from ages three to thirteen, fast food companies have been able to brainwash most of America without any real restrictions.
To ensure the health and well being of our countries youth, fast food companies must take more responsibility and be required to have restrictions on their marketing campaigns. Toys, Play place’s, clowns and kid’s club are only a few of the many marketing ploys which giant fast food companies have enacted to grab the youth demographic and capitalize on it. What kid is going to deny a fun finger food like french-fries, a cheeseburger, and on top of all that a toy! It’s like the big brother stealing candy from his younger sibling.
In America, we have determined that the age of 18 is when one is considered an adult and liable for his own actions. Yet we allow major companies, which are detrimental to our overall health, to spend billions of dollars on marketing tactics that our directed solely at our countries youth. How can we expect these young children to make decision about poor food choices and living a healthy lifestyle when there is a toy involved? Schlosser touches on the growing problems with marketing that is aimed directly at the youth.
He admits that studies don’t by the FTC show that young children cannot tell the difference between advertisements and actual television shows (192). This gives these companies a huge advantage over their target market. The child’s brain is under constant development and when they are exposed to so many advertisements daily for these fun, exciting foods that come with toys and feelings of fun, they are bound to give in do to their sheer mental capacity.
In Eric Schlossers article “Your Trusted Friends” he states, “The typical American child now spends about twenty-one hours a week watching television- roughly one and a half months of TV a year” (193). This being said, children are seeing hundreds of these brainwashing commercials a week. Fast food corporations are pretty much stealing from the helpless with out any repercussions. Without any restrictions theses billion dollar empires are going to continue to target the heart of America, which will inevitably leading to a completely unhealthy nation who is blinded by the advertisements.
It is time someone steps in and makes a change to benefit those who are suffering the most from this outrageous marketing scheme, our nations youth. That someone I speak of is the government. We need stricter policies on advertisements and target audiences. It’s one thing for an adult male to make a decision to eat the unhealthy food offered by these companies. Being an adult he should be able to understand the consequences of eating fast food. It’s the eight-year-old child who does not.
If fast food companies are going to base their marketing campaigns around children they should be inclined to help support positive programs for theses children such as schools physical education, summer programs and other activities that will teach kids to become active. The government needs to formulate a plan that would implement strict tax laws on marketing campaigns directed at younger audiences we could use these tax dollars for these types of programs that would counter the effects these companies products are having on the kid.
I doubt parents would feel as bad giving McDonalds their money for non-nutritious food if they new a few pennies out of the cost of a cheeseburger would be going to her child’s elementary school P. E. fund. Kids will always love toys, fun foods and a happy time and these companies know that. There is no stopping the marketing that will be pushed at these kids. But what we can do is hold the companies responsible and demand that they give back.
Our country over the past decade has been through everything from wars to recessions and the last thing we need is to only worsen the poor health of our country due to fast food. Our most impressionable citizens, our youth, are being flooded every day by the intense marketing schemes from fast food companies daily. These empires that have been built on our bad eating habits and poor decisions are only going to get worse and effect our children as well grandchildren if we don’t start finding solutions to counteract what these companies our doing to us.
And I say counteract because we cannot bring these companies down. What we can do is hold them accountable and demand that they give a fraction of what they put into these giant marketing campaigns back to our nation’s children and the programs that are needed to keep them healthy. If we are going to make certain that our country lasts we must make fast food companies more responsible for the elaborate schemes they direct at our children. With some push and demanding of change from our government concerning this issue we can ensure the future health of our country.
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