Junk food akin to drugs, according to ad

The whole debate over junk food advertising and its link to childhood obesity is one that will never go away. In the Sun-Herald today, there was an article about a controversial commercial that has been released online, which you can watch here. It’s been quite popular with over 230,000 hits on Youtube.

The ad made by Sydney agency, Precinct Studios,  shows a mother preparing heroin. As she is about to inject her son, the scene changes to show him eating a hamburger. It ends with the message: “You wouldn’t inject your children with junk so why are you feeding it to them?”

The ad blames parents for the obesity epidemic saying feeding them junk food is like injecting them with drugs.  This view is backed up by the managing director of the agency, Henry Motteram who told the SMH “it’s not their fault. The more I thought about it, the more it came back to the parents every time.” He adds that giving junk food to children is the same as child abuse.

While I believe that parents hold some responsibility for what their child(ren) consume, feeding them junk food is definitely not like feeding drugs. That is, unless it’s their staple diet and they are eating nothing else. But that does not seem to be the ad’s position. The ad is advocating NO JUNK FOOD at all. There is nothing wrong with the occasional hamburger. I’m all for it.

Those who disagree with the ad like Karen Sims from lobby group the Parents Jury say that advertisers are part of the problem. “Parents cop the blame for childhood obesity but that’s simplistic view,” she told the SMH. “There are plenty of products which are marketed as being healthy when they are not. Then there are the products which make children believe the world won’t spin unless they have them.”

With the exception of the argument that advertising contain false information about being healthy (this is where I strongly support the outrage of parent groups), at the end of the day, parents have the final say. Using Sims’ terms, it’s simplistic to just blame advertising for creating overweight kids. The food industry is a business and companies need to market their products.

Parents should encourage their children to develop good habits including healthy eating from an early age. They don’t have to give in to the advertisers or their kids when they beg them to buy whatever it is they want. There are a lot more dangerous threats than junk food advertising outside and you can’t censor everything.


About Brendan

2 Responses to Junk food akin to drugs, according to ad

  1. Joseph says:

    Great work Brendan! I came to your website from your twitter update and didn’t actually know it was your website at the beginning. Your writing style convinced me that I was reading the words of a published journalist in some fancy website. Keep it up.

  2. eden says:

    agreeed !
    your writing style has gotten better

    BUT …my parents practically never let me eat junk food when i was younger 😦
    so what does that mean for me huuuuh ?!

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