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City Ottawa Marketing Kids

Marketing To Children And What You Need To Know About It

It’s no secret that companies have been marketing to children for a long time. Television commercials, billboards and magazine print ads have long promoted unhealthy food and beverage choices for our children, making it hard to keep a lifestyle on track.

In fact, did you know that children view four to five food and beverage ads per hour. When you consider children watch on average two hours of television a day – the number of food and beverage ads viewed by our children adds up.

How are children and youth vulnerable to marketing?

Did You Know Ottawa Marketing Kids

Children believe what they see, especially at the younger ages. I’m going to warn you in advance that the following stats are a bit staggering.

• Before the age of five, most children can’t tell the difference between and ad and a television show. Marketers are getting smarter and making the commercials look more like tv shows.
• Before the age of eight, children are unlikely to know the reasons behind marketing.
• By the age of ten to twelve, children know that ads sell products, but they are often unable to judge an ad. Of all forms of marketing, youth in particular are vulnerable to digital marketing. It is viewed as entertainment, grabbing their focus and attention.
• Healthy habits start in childhood. Children learn about nutrition through the marketing of food and beverages. Unhealthy eating over the course of time is linked to multiple diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and stroke.
Marketing influences foods that children eat and that they ask their parents to buy. Marketing can influence kids to eat unhealthy foods. It also makes unhealthy foods seem “normal.”

Healthy Eating

When you add in the fact that a lot of our kids are watching YouTube on their iPads and computers nowadays, there is more reason than ever to be worried about the type of marketing they are being fed. Understanding that the state of marketing to our children is clearly a problem that needs to be looked at, here is what is being done in Canada and around the globe to help.

In Canada…
• The Canadian Federal government has committed to “introducing new restrictions on the commercial marketing of unhealthy food and beverages”.* Work has begun on improving food labels, reducing salt and eliminating trans-fats.
• Senator Nancy Greene Raine presented an Act to prohibit direct food and beverage marketing to children 13 and under. Specific instruction on labelling, packaging and advertising directed at children would also apply.
• Quebec is the only province to have banned commercial advertisement directed at children under 13. Results show that Quebec is the highest consumer of fruits and vegetables and has the lowest obesity rates for six to eleven year olds since making this change. Experts note that Quebec “has reduced fast food consumption by $88 million a year.”

Around the world…
• In 1991, Sweden banned ads to children 12 and under and banned mail ads for children younger than 16.
• In 1992, Norway banned television ads for children under 16 and banned all ads that could be seen to exploit the vulnerabilities of children.
• In the UK in 2006, ads for products high in fat, sugar and salt found in television shows for children ages four to 15 were banned.
• In 2011, the Spanish Parliament approved a law on Nutrition and Food Safety, which stated that kindergartens and schools should be free from advertising.
• In 2014, Brazil determined all ads directed at children under 12 to be “abusive”.
• In 2014, Mexico restricted television marketing to children and in movie theaters during the afternoon and weekends.

In short, the world is starting to take notice and has been taking steps to help protect our children from the marketing of unhealthy food and beverages. Now it’s your turn to share your thoughts on the subject.

What Can You Do To Help? Have Your Say!

Ottawa Public Health wants your opinion about marketing of food and beverages to children and youth. Complete this brief online survey to tell them what you think.

To be eligible, you need to be 16 years of age or older and live in the City of Ottawa. By completing the survey, you will help them better understand what people in the City of Ottawa think about marketing to children and youth. They are also accepting written briefs or submissions by email or mail. Please send your written response to: m2cy@ottawa.ca or contact name 100 Constellation drive, ON K2G 6K8.

*Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in this program*

My Blogging Story: From Hobby To Business

Business Blog

I figured I would write this sooner or later, so when the folks at InNetwork asked me to share my story as part of their #influencemktg campaign, I figured now was as good time as any. So, yeah, this post is sponsored by them, but I’ll be doing the story telling from here on out.

Oddly enough, my blog kind of fell into my lap. I have always had an interest in writing and while frantically entering domain names into GoDaddy’s search bar, I stumbled upon CanadianDad.com. Being that this was only a year and a half ago, I was shocked to see the domain name still available, so I scooped it up and began planning my new endeavour. Now I had never intended for this to be a business. I just thought it would make for a great place for me to share my stories and to practice my writing, until one day I signed a huge book deal and became wildly famous, like Bill Cosby! I definitely got the sharing and writing stuff down to an art form. The book? It’s going to have to wait.

A funny thing happened along the way though. I started receiving emails from marketing firms, asking if I wanted to write about their products and services. For a while, I would basically say yes to everything, and eventually I got so tied down with all the free press I was handing out, that I barely had time to do any writing of my own. That’s when I started learning about the business of blogging and how I could maximize my own potential in order to create a space I could be proud of.

In the year and a half that I have been running my site, I have narrowed down my focus to a few key elements. First and foremost, my goal is to encourage an active and engaged fatherhood, and to buck the media’s portrayal of father’s as lazy imbeciles. Next, I want to encourage kindness and the use of our voices to do social good. We spend all this time cultivating our followings on the social media networks, but what good are they if we don’t use them to give back to our communities and global networks. Finally, I want to help educate brands, PR firms and marketers understand that blogging itself, is a business, and if you want me to spend three hours coming up with a creative way to talk about and promote your company, that I will need to be compensated accordingly.

What started as a hobby for me has now turned into an amazing part time job, where I get the chance to attend conferences, consult with brands and bloggers alike, speak at events, raise money for charity and most importantly, give my kids experiences that I would have never imagined possible. I have been inspired on more than one occasion and I hope that I have inspired a few along the way as well. Blogging is more than just throwing a few words on the internet and walking away. It is a growing form of communication that covers everything from raising global awareness to talking about that new Eco-Store down the street. It’s a fast growing trend and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

Just in the short time that I have been blogging, I have seen tremendous growth in the personality and quality of the marketing pitches I receive. There seem to be a few companies on the cutting edge, who completely understand that not only is my time worth money, but also that the more creative your idea, the more likely I am to want to participate. I still get the mass mailings that address me as a Mom, but where I used to get upset and write about my displeasure, I now take it as an opportunity to politely write back and educate the company or firm on how I like to operate. It doesn’t always pan out, but it’s definitely better than acting like an angry maniac and I’ve made some really great connections with this approach. I’m looking forward to what the future brings for Canadian Dad and maybe someday I’ll get that Bill Cosby book deal.

And now a word from our sponsor. I took on this sponsored post because the pitch I received from InNetwork.Net was incredibly well laid out, with all the details of the post, a specific idea (that I was totally into) and a proposed rate attached. My dealings with their staff were all incredible and they gave me very little option but to accept. Part of me doesn’t want you to go to their site to sign up as an influencer because then there will be fewer jobs for me. I guess there’s nothing wrong with a little healthy competition though, right?

Thanks for listening to my story. Hopefully you’ll stick around to see where this thing goes next.