US fast food firms to launch anti-obesity advertising campaign
NEW YORK - US fast food firms, including Coca-Cola and McDonald's, are to launch a major advertising campaign in an effort to persuade consumers that eating too much of their products is bad for their health.
The companies are reported to have backed the initiative, as they attempt to avoid the lawsuits that have plagued tobacco companies for more than 20 years, which could see them pay out millions to obese Americans.
The campaign, codenamed Activate, will kick off with a $2.4m (£1.6m) online marketing push in two weeks. Television and press advertising will follow. Other companies backing the campaign include Unilever Bestfoods, Procter & Gamble, Sara Lee, Heinz, Burger King, Pepsi, Kellogg's and Nestle. It is also backed by the International Food Information Council.
Michael Mudd, senior vice-president of corporate affairs at Kraft, told The Times: "It is designed to help kids between the ages of nine and 12, and their parents, to improve their eating and activity."
The move follows a $50m class-action lawsuit filed in the States against fast food companies for causing obesity.
It also comes as more groups call for the introduction of a "fat tax" on junk food, a move that would be strongly opposed by companies in the industry. Supporters of the tax say that financial motivation is more powerful than health motivation.
According to figures released by the US Surgeon General, obesity-related illness cost America $117bn last year, compared with $23bn in costs on smoking-related illness.
If you have an opinion on this or any other issue raised on Brand Republic, join the debate in the Forum here.
Latest jobs Jobs web feed
- Account Director - Top London Advertising Agency c£50k Fill Recruitment Ltd c£50k, Central London
- Senior Brand Manager Ball & Hoolahan £55,000 + Car/Car Allowance, London
- Midweight Creative Team - digital and direct The Industry Club London Ltd £35,000, Central London
- Marketing Analyst JV Recruitment £30000 - £40000 per annum, Benefits: Benefits, Halifax
- Midweight Designer Pitch Consultants £25000 - £30000 per annum, West Midlands
- Senior Art Director Pitch Consultants £35000 - £45000 per annum + benefits, Warwickshire