13th April 2018, Volume 131 Number 1473

Stefanie Vandevijvere, Charlotte Aitken, Boyd Swinburn

Results from the recent New Zealand Health Survey revealed that one in three New Zealand children are either overweight or obese,1 and one of the factors known to influence the…

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Summary

Posts on Facebook pages of 45 popular packaged food, beverage and fast food company brands over two months and YouTube channels of 15 popular brands over two years were analysed for nutritional quality and use of activities, promotional strategies (eg, cartoons) and premium offers (eg, competitions). Social media is an important medium for food marketers in New Zealand and promotional strategies and premium offers are frequently used.

Abstract

Aim

To analyse extent, nature and potential impact of marketing by food and beverage brands popular in New Zealand on Facebook and YouTube.

Method

Popular food and beverage brands in New Zealand were selected from Socialbakers. Posts on Facebook pages of 45 packaged food, beverage and fast food companies over two months and YouTube channels of 15 companies over two years were analysed for nutritional quality and use of activities, promotional strategies (eg, cartoons) and premium offers (eg, competitions).

Results

The 45 brands selected made 762 Facebook posts during October–November 2016. About 28% of posts were videos and 2/3 (63%) contained at least one occasional (ie, unhealthy) food. Promotional strategies were used in 41% of posts, with a famous sportsperson/team being the most frequently used. Premium offers were used in 34% of posts, with competitions being the most frequently used. It was estimated some posts could potentially reach 10% of New Zealand adolescents. The 15 food brands selected posted about 300 videos on their YouTube channels during 2015–2016. About 84% of videos contained food marketing and 77% of products marketed were occasional. Promotional strategies and premium offers were used in 61% and 24% of videos respectively, and the most common marketing techniques were the same as on Facebook.

Conclusion

Social media is an important medium for food marketers in New Zealand and promotional strategies and premium offers are frequently used. Methodology needs to be developed to monitor actual exposure to such advertisements.

Author Information

Stefanie Vandevijvere, Senior Research Fellow, School of Population Health, The University of Auckland, Auckland; Charlotte Aitken, Summer Student, School of Population Health, The University of Auckland, Auckland; Boyd Swinburn, Professor, School of Population Health, The University of Auckland, Auckland.

Correspondence

Stefanie Vandevijvere, Senior Research Fellow, School of Population Health, The University of Auckland, Auckland.

Correspondence Email

s.vandevijvere@auckland.ac.nz

Competing Interests

All authors report grants from Health Research Council of New Zealand during the conduct of the study.

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