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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(1), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15010070

Implicit Messages Regarding Unhealthy Foodstuffs in Chinese Television Advertisements: Increasing the Risk of Obesity

1
Department of Communication, University of Macau, E21, Avenida da Universidade, Taipa, Macau, China
2
Institute of Communication and Health, Lugano University, Switzerland, Ex Laboratorio, Office 010 (Level 0), Via Buffi 13, 6904 Lugano, Switzerland
3
Department of Psychology, University of Macau, E21, Avenida da Universidade, Taipa, Macau, China
4
Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 17 November 2017 / Revised: 29 December 2017 / Accepted: 30 December 2017 / Published: 4 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
Full-Text   |   PDF [331 KB, uploaded 4 January 2018]

Abstract

Previous studies indicated that television (TV) advertising is associated with higher rates of obesity. The rate of obesity and overweight continues to rise in mainland China, bringing into question whether TV advertising to young audiences might be partly to blame. This study investigated messaging delivered through TV advertisements regarding healthy and unhealthy foodstuffs. A total of 42 major food brands and 480 advertisements were analysed for content in this study. The results showed that the majority of TV spots advertised products with poor nutritional content and had a potential to mislead audiences concerning products’ actual nutritional value. The tactics of repetition and appeals of premium offerings on food brands have a potential to influence the purchase intentions. Additional qualitative observation involving the social bond, social context and cultural factors pertaining to mood alterations were highlighted. The discussion addressed product attributes reflected by culture and the implicit messages of marketing claims may increase the risk of obesity. Thus, public health policymakers and researchers were encouraged to act urgently to evaluate the obesity risks of unhealthy food advertised in the media and to support healthy foods. View Full-Text
Keywords: big foods; branding strategy; advertising appeals; advertising tactics; obesity; food marketing; global brands big foods; branding strategy; advertising appeals; advertising tactics; obesity; food marketing; global brands
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Chang, A.; Schulz, P.J.; Schirato, T.; Hall, B.J. Implicit Messages Regarding Unhealthy Foodstuffs in Chinese Television Advertisements: Increasing the Risk of Obesity. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 70.

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