Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

The effects of television and Internet food advertising on parents and children

  • Simone Pettigrew (a1), Liudmila Tarabashkina (a2), Michele Roberts (a3), Pascale Quester (a2), Kathy Chapman (a4) and Caroline Miller (a5)...

The current study examined the impact of television and Internet food advertising on Australian parents and children.


Parents and their children aged 8 to 14 years were exposed to a television advertisement, an Internet advertisement or a control picture for four commonly advertised energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods.


Online web panel survey, Australia.


Parents (n 1302) and their children aged 8 to 14 years (n 1302).


After a single exposure to each advertisement, parent respondents in the two exposure conditions evaluated the products more favourably, had a greater desire to consume the products and thought the product could be consumed more frequently than those in the control condition. Similar trends were observed among children, although the differences were statistically significant only for the frequency of food consumption in the Internet advertisement condition and the evaluation of one product.


The results have implications for assumptions of adults’ immunity to advertising. This is of particular importance in efforts to address child obesity and the reliance on parents to mediate the effects of food advertising.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      The effects of television and Internet food advertising on parents and children
      Available formats
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      The effects of television and Internet food advertising on parents and children
      Available formats
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      The effects of television and Internet food advertising on parents and children
      Available formats
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Email
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

3. JL Harris , KD Brownell & JA Bargh (2009) The food marketing defense model: integrating psychological research to protect youth and inform public policy. Soc Issues Policy Rev 3, 211271.

4. MB Katan (2009) Weight-loss diets for the prevention and treatment of obesity. New Engl J Med 360, 923925.

5. AM Magarey , LA Daniels , TJ Boulton et al. (2003) Predicting obesity in early adulthood from childhood and parental obesity. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 27, 505513.

9. FJ Zimmerman (2011) Using marketing muscle to sell fat: the rise of obesity in the modern economy. Annu Rev Public Health 32, 285306.

15. L King , L Hebden , A Grunseit et al. (2010) Industry self-regulation of television food advertising: responsible or responsive? Int J Pediatr Obes 6, 390398.

16. K Chapman , B Kelly & L King (2009) Using a research framework to identify knowledge gaps in research on food marketing to children in Australia. Aust N Z J Public Health 33, 253257.

17. ES Moore (2007) Perspectives on food marketing and childhood obesity: introduction to the special section. J Public Policy Mark 26, 157161.

19. SL Calvert (2008) Children as consumers: advertising and marketing. Future Child 18, 205234.

21. G Hervert , K Guerard , S Tremblay et al. (2010) Is banner blindness genuine? Eye tracking Internet text advertising. Appl Cogn Psychol 25, 708716.

22. X Dreze & FX Hussherr (2003) Internet advertising: is anybody watching? J Interact Mark 17, 823.

23. P Manchanda , JP Dube , KY Goh et al. (2006) The effect of banner advertising on Internet purchasing. J Mark Res 43, 98108.

24. SA Grier & S Kumanyika (2010) Targeted marketing and public health. Annu Rev Public Health 31, 349369.

25. KC Montgomery , J Chester , SA Grier et al. (2012) The new threat of digital marketing. Pediatr Clin North Am 59, 659675.

26. JL Harris , JA Bargh & KD Brownell (2009) Priming effects of television food advertising on eating behavior. Health Psychol 28, 404413.

27. JL Harris , SE Speers , MB Schwartz et al. (2011) US food company branded advergames on the Internet: children's exposure and effects on snack consumption. J Child Media 6, 5168.

29. HG Dixon , ML Scully , MA Wakefield et al. (2007) The effects of television advertisements for junk food versus nutritious food on children's food attitudes and preferences. Soc Sci Med 65, 13111323.

30. T Andreyeva , IR Kelly & JL Harris (2011) Exposure to food advertising on television: associations with children's fast food and soft drink consumption and obesity. Econ Hum Biol 9, 221233.

31. M Buijzen , J Schuurman & E Bomhof (2008) Associations between children's television advertising exposure and their food consumption patterns: a household diary-survey study. Appetite 50, 231239.

32. K Harrison , JM Liechty & The Strong Kids Program (2012) US preschoolers’ media exposure and dietary habits: the primacy of television and the limits of parental mediation. J Child Media 6, 1836.

33. K Seiders & RD Petty (2007) Taming the obesity beast: children, marketing, and public policy considerations. J Public Policy Mark 26, 236242.

34. M D'Alessio , F Laghi & R Baiocco (2009) Attitudes toward TV advertising: a measure for children. J Appl Dev Psychol 30, 409418.

35. E Rozendaal , M Buijzen & P Valkenburg (2009) Do children's cognitive advertising defences reduce their desire for advertised products? Communications 34, 287303.

37. SA Grier , J Mensinger , SH Huang et al. (2007) Fast-food marketing and children's fast-food consumption: exploring parents’ influences in an ethnically diverse sample. J Public Policy Mark 26, 221235.

38. TL Chartrand & GJ Fitzsimons (2011) Nonconscious consumer psychology. J Consum Psychol 21, 13.

39. GM Fitzsimons , TL Chartrand & GJ Fitzsimons (2008) Automatic effects of brand exposure on motivated behavior: how Apple makes you ‘think different’. J Consum Res 35, 2135.

41. LS Gribble , G Falciglia , AM David et al. (2003) A curriculum based on Social Learning Theory emphasizing fruit exposure and positive parent child-feeding strategies: a pilot study. J Am Diet Assoc 103, 100103.

42. DR John (1999) Consumer socialization of children: a retrospective look at twenty-five years of research. J Consum Res 26, 183213.

44. S Jones & B Fabrianesi (2008) Gross for kids but good for parents: differing messages in advertisement for the same products. Public Health Nutr 11, 588595.

45. MB Schwartz & R Puhl (2003) Childhood obesity: a societal problem to solve. Obes Rev 4, 5771.

46. M Buijzen & PM Valkenburg (2005) Parental mediation of undesired advertising effects. J Broadcast Electron 49, 153165.

47. M Buijzen & PM Valkenburg (2003) The unintended effects of television advertising: a parent–child survey. Commun Res 30, 483503.

48. GP Moschis & RL Moore (1982) A longitudinal study of television advertising effects. J Consum Res 9, 279286.

49. B Kelly , K Chapman , LL Hardy et al. (2009) Parental awareness and attitudes of food marketing to children: a community attitudes survey of parents in New South Wales. J Paediatr Child Health 45, 493497.

51. A Wang (2011) Branding over internet and TV advertising. J Promot Manage 17, 275290.

52. MF King & GC Bruner (2000) Social desirability bias: a neglected aspect of validity testing. Psychol Mark 17, 79103.

53. C Janiszewski (1993) Preattentive mere exposure effects. J Consum Res 20, 376392.

54. JL Harris & SK Graff (2012) Protecting young people from junk food advertising: implications of psychological research for First Amendment Law. Am J Public Health 102, 214222.

55. C Pechmann , L Levine , S Loughlin et al. (2005) Impulsive and self-conscious: adolescents’ vulnerability to advertising and promotion. J Public Policy Mark 24, 202221.

56. T Lobstein , L Baur & R Uauy (2004) Obesity in children and young people: a crisis in public health. Obes Rev 5, 485.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 274
Total number of PDF views: 675 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1414 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 20th September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.