What's on YouTube? A Case Study on Food and Beverage Advertising in Videos Targeted at Children on Social Media

Leeann Tan, See Hoe Ng, Azahadi Omar, Tilakavati Karupaiah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Unhealthy food marketing to children is a key risk factor for childhood obesity. Online video platforms have surpassed television as the primary choice for screen viewing among children but the extent of food marketing through such media is relatively unknown. We aimed to examine food and beverage advertisements (ads) encountered in YouTube videos targeting children in Malaysia. Methods: The social media analytics site SocialBlade.com was used to identify the most popular YouTube videos (n = 250) targeting children. Ads encountered while viewing these videos were recorded and analyzed for type of product promoted and ad format (video vs. overlay). Food and beverage ads were further coded based on food category and persuasive marketing techniques used. Results: In total 187 ads were encountered in sampled videos. Food and beverage ads were the most common at 38% (n=71), among which 56.3% (n = 40) promoted noncore foods. Ads for noncore foods were more commonly delivered as video rather than overlay ads. Among ads promoting noncore foods, the most commonly employed persuasive marketing techniques found were taste appeal (42.3%), uniqueness/novelty (32.4%), the use of animation (22.5%), fun appeal (22.5%), use of promotional characters (15.5%), price (12.7%), and health and nutrition benefits (8.5%). Conclusions: Similar to television, unhealthy food ads predominate in content aimed toward children on YouTube. Policies regulating food marketing to children need to be extended to cover online content in line with a rapidly-evolving digital media environment. Service providers of social media can play a part in limiting unhealthy food advertising to children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-290
Number of pages11
JournalChildhood Obesity
Volume14
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Social Media
Food and Beverages
Food
Marketing
Television
Nutrition Policy
Pediatric Obesity
Malaysia
Insurance Benefits

Keywords

  • social media;

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

Cite this

What's on YouTube? A Case Study on Food and Beverage Advertising in Videos Targeted at Children on Social Media. / Tan, Leeann; Ng, See Hoe; Omar, Azahadi; Karupaiah, Tilakavati.

In: Childhood Obesity, Vol. 14, No. 5, 01.07.2018, p. 280-290.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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