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Pitfalls of the Self-Regulation of Advertisements Directed at Children on Mexican Television


Theodore, Florence L.; Tolentino-Mayo, Lizbeth; Hernandez-Zenil, Elizabeth; Bahena, Lilia A.; Velasco, Anabel; Popkin, Barry M.; Rivera, Juan A.; & Barquera, Simon (2017). Pitfalls of the Self-Regulation of Advertisements Directed at Children on Mexican Television. Pediatric Obesity, 12(4), 312-319.


BACKGROUND: There are no academic studies that characterize advertisements directed at children from the companies that signed the self-regulation. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this paper was to assess the extent and nature of food advertisements and the persuasive techniques used to market unhealthy food and beverages (UFB) to children, by signatory companies of self-regulation.
METHODS: From December 2012 to April 2013, 600 h of programming were recorded on the four broadcast public television channels in Mexico with the highest rating nationwide. Marketing aimed at children directly (broadcast on children's programmes or advertisements with a specific appeal to children) or indirectly (aimed at other target audiences with messages or scenes that link children to the product) were considered.
RESULTS: About 74.9% (2148) of the total food and beverage advertisements tried to influence children directly and indirectly. Companies, which had signed the self-regulation, focused 92.7% of their advertisements on UFB. Of the total number, 23.9% were aimed at children, 7.1% at adolescents, 12.5% at parents and 56.2% at the general public. Most of these advertisements were broadcast on movies (29.8%), cartoons (18%), soap operas (17.6%), entertainment shows (17.2%) and sports programs (6.4%).
CONCLUSION: Despite the self-regulation of television marketing, children were surrounded by UFB advertisements. Signatory companies influence children indirectly by targeting other audiences and by marketing during family television programs, which are also watched by children.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Pediatric Obesity


Theodore, Florence L.
Tolentino-Mayo, Lizbeth
Hernandez-Zenil, Elizabeth
Bahena, Lilia A.
Velasco, Anabel
Popkin, Barry M.
Rivera, Juan A.
Barquera, Simon