Cancer Council criticises use of Warner Bros characters in marketing to kids

Cancer Council NSWThe Cancer Council of NSW has criticised the use of cartoon characters in marketing unhealthy foods to children, a week after a Roy Morgan study which revealed the favourite cartoon characters among Australian kids was released.

The Young Australians Survey found that the Warner Brothers-owned Batman and Superman were the favourite super heroes among children aged six-13 in 2011.

Clare Hughes, nutritionist at Cancer Council NSW told Mumbrella: “Recent research shows that companies are using cartoon characters to promote more than 240 foods which are high in sugar, salt and fat. These characters are cute, fun and appeal to kids. But when 70% of foods featuring characters are unhealthy, these characters are sending our kids all the wrong messages about what foods they should be eating”.

The research carried out by CCNSW last year showed that 81% of the products using character licensing stocked by supermarket chain Coles were classified as unhealthy. Of these products Warner Bros promotional characters were described as dominant among this range.

“Cartoon characters do become very appealing brand ambassadors that are enticing to children. But the promotional characters highlighted in the Roy Morgan research may also hit a nostalgic spot with parents, as they too would have grown up with Batman and Superman and in turn may be more likely to purchase a brand with these characters on them. Ideally what we would really like to see is promotional characters being used to encourage kids to eat healthy foods,” said Hughes.

Warner Bros declined to comment.

The Roy Morgan survey asked children “what is your favourite super hero?” Warner Brother’s characters fared well in the survey, with DC comics characters taking the top two slots. The top ten characters overall:
  1. Batman
  2. Superman
  3. Spiderman
  4. Wonder Woman
  5. Iron Man
  6. Ben 10
  7. The Incredible Hulk
  8. X Men
  9. Catwoman
  10. The Green Lantern



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