This may very well be the line that has recently dropped out of many parents’ mouths as Weetabix, a popular cereal brand in the U.K., has been experimenting with a whole new type of advertising.
Weetabix is a whole grain cereal similar to America’s shredded wheat-style cereals. The company has begun hiring children with very busy social lives to wear the company logo while they attend their extra-curricular events. In return, the children are earning about $400. The company is intending to send the message that children who eat Weetabix can pack more into their day than their friends who opted for a different breakfast.
This move hasn’t come without controversy. Many opponents of this campaign are claiming that children are being sold as mobile billboards. As these socially active kids attend their clubs and run the sports fields, they are reaching a whole new market of potential consumers.
Who’s right? The company that claims their truly healthy product will help facilitate a more active and rich life? Or are the nay-sayers on to something? Are the children just being used as pawns in a new money making scheme?
If the company wasn’t promoting a healthy product, it’s doubtful the idea would ever leave the brainstorming session. It’s hard to imagine any company being so bold and expecting children to advertise their sugar bomb cereal. However, if this campaign keeps growing, it’ll be very interesting to see what new world we may be living in.
As far a Weetabix’s campaign- is it a bad thing? What if more kids start eating a whole grain breakfast as a result? Is it negative if it happens as a result of peer influence? As adults we often are influenced by our peers when it comes to nutrition and fitness. When Ms. Jones explains at the gym how she lost weight and got healthy, we’re all ears and ready to head home and try it ourselves. If the end result is a healthy lifestyle, any means necessary seems acceptable- especially for our kids. With the childhood obesity rate climbing daily, making an active kid an example or an advertisement seems more than appropriate.
August 4th, 2011