Nickelodeon Reduces Junk Food Marketing to Kids
Statement of CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson
Nickelodeon is taking a key step toward reducing junk-food marketing to children by agreeing not to license its characters for use on unhealthy foods. The company is following the lead of Disney, Sesame Workshop, Kraft, Kellogg, and several other companies that have adopted nutrition criteria for advertising to young children.
In January 2006, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, and two Massachusetts parents threatened to sue Viacom, which owns Nickelodeon, and Kellogg for marketing junk foods to kids. Kellogg agreed to negotiate, and a settlement was announced in June. Viacom would not negotiate, but we are pleased that it has taken this responsible step. The new policy, though, may not yield any actual improvements for several years.
If it broadens its initiative by also rejecting the marketing of junk foods on television, the Internet, and its kids’ magazine, Nickelodeon will become the family-friendly company it claims to be.
Contact Jeff Cronin (jcronin[at]cspinet.org) or Ariana Stone (astone[at]cspinet.org).