Sarah Davies writes:
On a recent visit to the US I was stopped in my tracks by an enormous pile of Barbie branded cereal boxes, on offer at 2 for $5. I was so mesmerised by this spectacle that I felt compelled to purchase a box. To the disappointment of my two daughters, I didn’t buy the cereal as a gift to add to their burgeoning collection of Barbie merchandise, but rather as an example of what can only be described as irresponsible marketing to children.
Does a brand like Kellogg’s need to go to such lengths to sell its products? Close inspection of the box reveals a long list of additives and general ‘nutritional’ profile of the product. The pieces of ‘cereal’ and marshmallow bits look more like sweets than breakfast food.
In an age where childhood obesity and diabetes are on the increase, it seems hard to justify using Barbie to encourage children to eat such things for breakfast. But on second thoughts, perhaps this is all a storm in a teacup? Reassuringly, on the back of pack, Barbie is able to share her ‘fab tips’ with children, telling them to “Live active” and “Keep it green”. So that’s alright, then. But it’s hard to tell which brand is being damaged more by this co-marketing venture.