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Marketing and Obesity

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Obesity is one of the main health problems affected millions of people around the world. The main cause of childhood obesity is false advertising and fast food promotion campaigns attracting many young consumers and their parents. Fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and Wendy popularize and promote unhealthy eating patterns which lead to childhood obesity. Most food sold in such restaurants is fat saturated with high caloricity level. In spite of advertising efforts to promote health conscious menus or calorie free diet, hamburgers and fried potato are the most “dangerous” products sold by fast food (Obesity and Food Marketing, n.d.). The main result of this problem is overweight and overeating, diabetes and coronary diseases. For many children, fast food becomes a distinctive feature of the American life style. Fast food life style is dangerous because it results in disbalance of nutrition and causes eating disorders. All fast food contains high cholesterol level which is the primarily cause of obesity.

Marketing activity has a profound impact on unhealthy behavior patterns.  The impact of advertising on people is based on persuasion so viewers can learn about products and their attributes, form positive images about the products, and then consume them. Second, social learning theory suggests that the behaviors seen in commercials can be modeled. Third, cognitive developmental theory predicts that children can understand the advertising process, learn about commercials, and eventually be able to resist their persuasive tactics. Children who watch more television are also more likely to ask for the products they see advertised, although this decreases with age (Does TV Advertising Make Children Fat, n.d.). The main cons of advertising for children are manipulation of their wants and needs, and creation of false needs and desires. In addition, children are not able to process or fully understand the information presented. For this reason, advertisers should pay a special attention to social responsibility issues and possible impact on children. The main problem is that many marketer use images and heroes from favorite cartoons to persuade children to buy products and manipulate their consciousness (De-Marketing Obesity, b.d.). As a result of past experience, customers have preconceived notions or attitudes that shape their view of reality and hence their decisions. For example, experience with brands that meet expectations results in future purchasing actions, since learning takes place. Reinforcement, which is part of the learning process, encourages repetition and perhaps an automatic response-purchase by habit.

The main problem is that advertising agencies and food producers pay no attention to standards and social responsibility issues trying to sell their products to end consumers. In general, food standards means total compliance with international and national laws and regulations, moral and ethical standards and procedures under which the company operates. In the article, Thus, end consumers may respond differently to certain types of advertising appeals than concrete or formal operational level children. To the extent that an advertising model or spokesperson is genuinely emotionally involved or moved, the consumer's emotional response to the advertisement may be enhanced. After all, it is through just such communication of genuine emotions that advertisements may succeed in making significant statements having high social value. It would seem that the portrayal of genuine and appealing emotional expressions of children participating in activities such as those provided by such a center might be especially valuable in assisting parents to choose an appropriate caretaker to whom they can safely entrust their children. The preceding discussion of emotional responses to advertisements suggests a second issue that consumer psychology might well find of value to address: the extent to which facial stimuli arouse emotional responses.

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