9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN05 Sociology of Consumption

2009-09-04 13:30:00 2009-09-04 15:00:00 Friday, 4 September 13:30 - 15:00 Variations in Food Practices Building II, C5.01

In-school Marketing- selling calories for a captive audience

Children are a vital target for advertising executives as in addition to being powerful influencers and future buyers they also have a great purchasing power from an early age (McNeal, 1992). This has a series of repercussions on the three-dimensional market, induced by the impact of advertising on the child. That led us to the concept of in-school marketing centred on the primacy of the infant-child target in the corporate world, shown by the growth of ?businesses that offer advice on how to sell to children.? (Molnar, 2007:7). This phenomenon points to schools being included in the strategic planning of advertisers and media executives: ?schools are where the children are.? (Molnar, 2007:10).

The globalization of this scenario (WHO, World Health Organization (2004) report - Marketing food to children: the global regulatory environment) and the consequent unease felt over the effects of commercial activities on education and the quality of the food make commercialism ?increasingly controversial? (Molnar, 2006:1). In-school Marketing in European and North America public schools is linked with childhood obesity - according to our preliminary results children are mostly targeted in schools by marketing for high-calorie, nutritionally deficient foods.

The study is built on an analysis about the state, market and society working together and demarcates one another to enhance a win-win relationship, that is, one of legitimacy/visibility. This serves to affirm that the company possesses both the credibility to undertake specific marketing initiatives and invest in the training/education of children and education of the community in which they live to attain the desired effect.

From that follows the questions about the type of marketing that can be found in Portuguese schools (10-15 years old). The majority of studies have focused more on a passive type of marketing, that which children see, hear and read (Alves, 2002), rather than forms of interactive marketing (Moran, 2006). Here, qualitative methods were used to show that interactive marketing found in classrooms includes activities to be carried out revolving around a given company (Fogarty, 2006 cit in Moran, 2006) and curricular material, such as school textbooks containing exercises using specific products (Farinha, 2007).