A Critical Analysis of the Children'sFood and Beverage Advertising Self-Regulatory Initiatives

Kyle Asquith


This paper critically examines the self-regulatory Canadian and American Children '.I' Food and Beverage Advertising Initiatives (CFBAIs). Responding to pressure from public health officials and policymakers concerned over childhood obesity, food and beverage advertisers have voluntarily signed onto the CFBAIs and through the programs have pledged to scale-back their advertising of unhealthy food and beverages to children. Through an analysis of advertiser "pledges" and other texts germane to these initiatives, I locate seven discursive frames that children’s food and beverage advertisers use to legitimize industry selfregulation, fight off negative public perception, arouse doubt, and avoid regulatory intervention. These discursive Fames are also compared to those used by other historically controversial advertising sectors, such as tobacco and alcohol. I conclude that the strategies o fcontemporary children’s food and beverage advertisers are remarkably similar to those used by other advertising sectors that have faced threats of tighter regulation throughout the twentieth century.

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