The use of negative themes in television food advertising

Simone Pettigrew, Michele Roberts, Kathy Chapman, Pascale Quester, Caroline Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The ability of food advertising to trigger food consumption and influence social norms relating to food consumption has resulted in increasing attention being given to the prevalence and nature of food advertising. The present study investigated the use of negative themes in food advertisements aired on Australian television to determine the prevalence of depictions of violence/aggression, mocking, nagging, boredom, loneliness, food craving, mood enhancement, and the emotional use of food across 61. days of programming time. The results suggest that advertisers are using negative themes to capture attention and invoke an emotional response in the target audience. Sixteen percent (14,611) of the 93,284 food advertisements contained negative themes, with mood enhancement and food craving being the most commonly depicted negative themes. Advertisements with negative themes were more likely to be for non-core foods and to be aired during children's popular viewing times than at other times. The potential for negative themes in food advertising to promote unhealthy food consumption behaviors among children is likely to be of concern to policy makers. Building on this exploratory study, further research is needed to investigate how nutrition-related decision making is affected by exposure to food advertisements employing negative emotional themes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)496-503
Number of pages8
JournalAppetite
Volume58
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Apr 2012

Keywords

  • Children
  • Emotional eating
  • Food advertising
  • Negative emotions
  • Social norms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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