Fed Up With Food Marketing to Kids? Nosh On Food MythBusters Film

Sept. 21, 2013 Tired of the $2 billion/year endless barrage of hard sell food advertising hawking toxic crud to children to turn them into life long consumers? You’re about to get some ammo in the media battle for kids’ hearts and minds…

On September 25, 2013, the online premiere of the 6-minute bite sized short animated film Food MythBusters.org promises to expose how “Big Food” targets teens and manipulates messages to young children. RSVP now, and join film producer Anna Lappé, Food MythBusters, and their partner orgs like Corporate Accountability International CAI for an online chat right after the show! PDF (screening guide)

It’s exciting to have a short form animated video to put the power of media in YOUR OWN hands as an educator, parent, or avid peer to peer youth leader, in order to help others clue in and take a stand for REAL food over processed chem cuisine and pop open important dialogues about kids and marketing. I’m absolutely LOVING this parody of the Chipotle Scarecrow viral ad which lifts and reveals the reality of the high end production, and will definitely use it in my media literacy work. (see video after the jump)

I can attest to the success of critical thinking like Food MythBusters media, in my own work with kids, from media literacy games and projects that peek behind the ‘curtain of Oz’ to reveal corporate agendas, to observing the impact of films like Food Inc, which put my teen at her tipping point, never touching meat again.

Using media to flip the message is a powerful way to entrench wellness in a ‘fight fire with fire’ siege that’s inching in healthier directions…

We all have a role to play in helping pushback mass media’s role in profiteering over public health, from purchasing power to deflect and derail to policy platforms where we bring forth the critical evidence that as a nation, we’ve consistently placed an entire generation of youth at risk.

With an astonishing mortality rate of 1 in 5 obesity deaths according to Science Daily, clearly, we can use all the media cavalry we can get in this food fight! Our allies at the Fast Forward Health film series have proven the power of media to persuade, entice, motivate and make a difference…and films like Food MythBusters join in that wellness effort. Progress!

From street team tactics to youth “word of mouth” viral ‘forward to a friend’ marketing we’ve found that youth themselves give a loud ‘rebel yell’ when they SEE the armament lobbed at them, damaging their bodies.

Giving kids and their parents the REAL story about what’s in our food, why it matters, and how they’re being targeted by an increasingly ruthless food industry using tobacco tactics to ‘hook ‘em while they’re young’ is not just culture jamming, it’s instilling ‘food for thought’ with critical thinking skills kids use for life.

Kids become empowered to sift and sort through media messages that upend propaganda and place children ‘in the know.’ (a marketing tactic in itself I use regularly to flip the message to health literacy! See video here (and below the teaser for Food MythBusters)

For those who’d like to read more about the tactics being used in food marketing, Shaping Youth has highlighted advergaming and brandwashing and infiltration of junk food into schools in multiple articles (click on Nutrition/Wellness category or use the search bar)

I also HIGHLY recommend DigitalAds.org for a parenting primer on ad tactics and industry workarounds that undermine parent authority by targeting kids directly. Innovation and education can upend through media literacy, and we fully support Food MythBusters use of media in the traditions of the Free Range Studios viral cartoons that engage kids with fun films like The Meatrix and Fast Food Nation’s Backwards Hamburger junk food activism via edgy cartoons.

Many are familiarizing themselves with the countless food marketing facts and research studies showing children under the age of 8 are not able to discern advertising from endearing characters and content which further blurs the boundaries of ethics and duplicity…And starting to fight back.

In fact, this week, the Center for Digital Democracy (screenshot from their site DigitalAds.org at left) expanded the age conversation putting forth a powerfully detailed case study as to why Facebook should be off limits to under 13 due in part to the social media targeting and data-mining of junk food strategists putting kids in their scope and crosshairs!

Point is…you’re not alone in the desire to ‘eat real’ and take back our tables from the mindshare of marketers and digital deluge.

It’s a food fight!

Youth, parents, educators, healthy food advocates, come join in this fun and festive ‘food fight’ to take back our schools, homes, communities and even sports teams to flip the message in a healthier direction and change the channel of influence to wellness.

RSVP now to help seed the growth.

Even more fun?

Sign up to watch the film with a few friends, share a potluck of good, real food, and join the live chat with Anna Lappé. (here’s a handy watch party guide)

Other ways to turn food for thought into real action?

Next week, if you’re in the SF Bay Area, join in Oakland’s Eat Real Food Fest Sept. 27-29, 2013

Next month, get cooking and help kids participate in real food events taking place across the country Oct. 24, 2013 with Food Day.org

Want even more media for health literacy?

For a one/two punch after the 6min. Food MythBusters, check out the new film from MEF, Media Education Foundation, “Feeding Frenzy:”The Food Industry, Obesity, and the Creation of a Health Crisis investigating the causes and effects of food marketing run amok for a full hour educational snapshot of the food industry tactics and techniques and what you can do about them!

I’ll be covering this more once I’ve reviewed the film myself, as we’ve got entire programs of hands-on games and counter-marketing fun in “Dare to Compare: A Gross Out Game for Good Nutrition” that aligns with this perfectly for a partnership!

Stay tuned…Premiering Sept. 25, 2013 Remember to RSVP here!

Related Reading, Sample Solutions by Amy Jussel, Shaping Youth

Marketing Tactics/Kids’ Nutrition

Using Marketing Methods to “Sell” Kids Healthier Food

Kids Think a Blackberry is A Device, Not A Fruit? Getting Kids to Eat Real

Should Kids’ Cartoons Sell Fruit & Veggies? Brandwashing Revisited

Selling Healthy Kids Cuisine Through Product Presentation

Get Kids to Eat Green: Using Shrek Against His Drek

Get Kids to Eat Like An Ape: The Media Circus At Work

Snack Attack: Counter-Marketing Unhealthy Sports Team Offerings

School Gardens Grow Healthier Kids: Seeding Green With Richard Louv!

Sour Combo: Shrek’s “Apples & Milk” At McDonalds

Sugary Shrek is Simultaneously Stumping For Kids’ Healthy Eating

Obesity Risk Twice as High in Hispanic Children

School Sit-Ups Sponsored By Soda & Snacks

Pink Princess Fairytale Flakes; Candy Bars For Breakfast

Peer Driven Junk Food Allure & What’s Cool to Kids

The Junk Food Hydra: Ad Industry Self Regulation is Oxymoronic

Kaiser Study Shows 50 Hours of TV Food Ads/Yr.

Kids’ Food Fight Turns Into Industry DodgeBall Game

HFCS Corn Wars: A Surprise That’s Far From Sweet

HFCS Ad Analysis: Media Literacy Mandatory, Dieticians Dissed

Lifestyle Cancers: Two Most Preventable Causes Harming Kids

Parents? Stay Ahead of The Game, Literally; Kellogg’s Advergaming

Digital Marketing Tactics Revealed to FTC: Report At DigitalAds.org

Kellogg’s Agrees to Restrict Food Marketing to Kids!? For REAL?

Sugary Sodas Falter, Now Caffeine & Sodium Rule

American Idol Ad: KFC ‘Sneaky Snacker’ is Brandwashing

Advergaming Arcades Shift Toward Virtual Villages & Kid Vid

Sprite Yard: A Mobile-Social-Soda Hangout?

Deconstructing Spongebob: Reasoning, Research Pt 1

Deconstructing Spongebob-A Preschool Parenting Lens: Pt 2

Scholastic: Treat ‘em As a Commercial Brand Like Any Other

Farmer’s Markets Go Digital: Find One Near YOU

Show and Tell Tactics That Stick in Kids Brains

Cool Digital Tool Shows What Nutrients YOUR Body Needs

Shaping Youth’s Gross Out Game for Good Nutrition

Hiding Kids Veggies for Stealth Health: Good Idea?

Test Your School Junk Food IQ With This Quick Quiz

Food for Thought: Media to Digest for Healthier Kids

Will Kids Go For the FryPod? Brandwashing Nutritious Fare

Forbidden Fruit & Kids’ Food Advertising: FTC & KFF Compare

Online Media: Nutrition Calculator Helps Parents

Retro Reverie!!! Extreme LunchBox Makeovers: Counter-Marketing Tactics w/Joe Camel

Amy Jussel’s Health + Media Literacy Tips for Critical Thinking About Food Marketing
(Presented at NAMLE: National Media Literacy Educators Association)

Fabulous Food Literacy/Health Literacy PARODY of the Chipotle Scarecrow Ad from “Funny or Die”


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