$5 million to tell us kids see lots of adverts

November 9th, 2013 at 11:31 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New Zealand children will wear cameras in a world-first study to monitor the daily bombardment of junk food and other unhealthy products.

More than 200 schoolchildren will be equipped with tiny video cameras that they will carry for a year.

The study follows a pilot survey that revealed an assault of promotions on billboards, shelters, dairies and the back of buses.

Researchers hope the results will be used to help formulate health policy in a country where the rate among children aged between 5 and 11 jumped from 8 to 11 per cent in just six years.

With 99.9% confidence I can predict the proposed policy will be to ban advertising of foods that our health overlords deem bad for us.

Part of a $5 million collaborative programme between Otago University and Victoria University researchers, the study will produce millions of images to be analysed using a computer algorithm.

$5 million to produce shock horror headlines that kids see 27,526 advertisements a year for food, and the inevitable conclusion than advertising of non-approved foods must be banned.

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31 Responses to “$5 million to tell us kids see lots of adverts”

  1. spector (180 comments) says:

    In that same period kids will also see 3244 ads for new cars and feminine hygiene products. Which explains the current epidemic of children driving around in Suzuki Swifts full of Tampax.

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  2. kowtow (8,314 comments) says:

    The great thing about this is it will provide evidence for the courts when parents are charged with “abuse” for telling the fat little pricks to get out and do some exercise.

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  3. stever (26 comments) says:

    Hands up all those that think the government should control what we see/think to save us from ourselves.

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  4. Fletch (6,294 comments) says:

    They want to rationalize their attacks on sugar, soft drink, fast food and the like, and will use video to back it up.

    I wonder if they will include in their reports that it was parents who let their children eat this stuff? Gave them money to buy it. Bought it from the supermarket and let their kids eat it?

    Instead of focussing on the problem of bad parenting, the liberal idea is to ban things they don’t think are good for you. They did it with smacking, now it looks like fast food is next on the list.

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  5. Manolo (13,571 comments) says:

    Bloody waste of money. These aspiring tyrants are like rust: wowsers, academics, and do-gooders never sleep.

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  6. hj (6,915 comments) says:

    A good idea because we are bombarded with unnatural messages and they do normalise certain images and choices.

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  7. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    What a waste indeed, I thought the same thing when I saw that article. Of course the Greens will love this because banning ads is an attack on big business and that’s what they really care about.

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  8. nostrils (53 comments) says:

    Please tell me this is a windup. It’s not April is it?

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  9. wotsisname (14 comments) says:

    i’ll put my hand up and say that this is a problem that is facing our society – big companies with lots of money are spending heaps of it advertising sugar laden crap to our children, which is causing an epidemic of obesity – children growing up today will not live as long as us and will have heart disease, diabetes etc, etc …

    i agree about the 5 million being a waste of money – it’s pretty obvious this is happenning – you just have to look at the number of fat people you see around these days, or the amount of supermarket shelf space taken up by junk food …

    meanwhile coca cola, mcdonalds, etc are creaming it to the tune of millions of dollars … they don’t give a fuck, they just want the money …

    isn’t it the government’s job is to make laws to protect people from things that other people / companies might do in their haste to make money out of us?

    there are laws to protect our safety, our environment etc., indeed there are even laws controlling other things that can or can’t be put in food, so why not sugar?

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  10. Fletch (6,294 comments) says:

    wot, I’m not sure it is the Govt’s job though.
    That’s what parents are for.

    When I was a kid (I wore an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time), the only fast food we had was the occasional fish n chips every so often. McDonalds wasn’t around then, of course. Sure we bought lollies sometimes with our pocket money. I never had McDonalds at all until I was in high school, I think. Or maybe just after.

    Why aren’t parents being mindful of what their kids eat and portioning it out? They’re the ones with the money.

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  11. thedavincimode (6,691 comments) says:

    I wore an onion on my belt

    Very sensible Fletch. One never knows when one might be called upon to whip up a risotto.

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  12. Bob (496 comments) says:

    I’m puzzled by the camera idea. If you merely walk around town and take note of TV ads wouldn’t that tell you what kids are seeing? I’m all in favour of advising people especially those with children on what are healthy foods and what aren’t. But it is up to adults and parents as to what they eat and give their children.

    I have some sympathy for McDonalds. They are the poster boys for unhealthy food. They don’t force people to eat their products or give them to their kids. In fact an occasional meal for the kids at McDonalds as a treat won’t hurt them.

    I agree with righthandleft about the Greens. They are like a religion. Whatever they believe is automatically right.

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  13. Fletch (6,294 comments) says:

    I do agree though, that it is the Govt’s job to ban or limit things that truly are detrimental to society, like paedophilia, polygamy, drug use, and the like. But in this case, it would be trying to ban something that people are just overindulging in. Something that is not intrinsically harmful to society in itself.

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  14. Fletch (6,294 comments) says:

    Thanks thedavincimode.

    I think that just made my day :)

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  15. Yvette (2,776 comments) says:

    Wearing lenses smaller than that of an iPhone and able to be hung on a lanyard or attached to a lapel, the children went about their day as the cameras filmed images every 10 seconds.

    Professor Signal said the initial findings prompted researchers to widen the project to include 224 children in Wellington from next year.

    Each young volunteer would wear the cameras over a weekend and on two weekdays, and could use a privacy function to switch the cameras off when they needed to.

    There appears to be nothing to correlate that what the camera is pointed at is actually what the child looks at, or in fact that a child looking straight at a Coke ad in a bus shelter pays the slightest attention to it, perhaps because the child already has a bottle of coke in his or her hand at the time.

    … A report by the Restaurant Association and the Auckland University of Technology this year revealed Kiwis ate $1.5 billion worth of takeaways last year … enough for 63 Big Macs – for every man, woman and child in the country.

    Whoever is eating my share of Big Macs deserves all she or he gets

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  16. Sector 7g (240 comments) says:

    Just fuck off.

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  17. Reid (16,290 comments) says:

    I wonder if they’ll switch the cameras off when the kids settle down to their daily five hour dose of internet and TV, just so they don’t skew the data lest they accidentally stumble on the real cause of obesity.

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  18. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    I think that adverts should be socially responsible when it comes to the influence on young people and children. By that I mean they must make clear the ability of the product e.g. size (Macdonalds are very good at putting pictures on the screen that look nothing like the size and quality of the product one receives).

    Rather that just the health issue, to me it also passes a message to children about honesty. Is it ok to misrepresent something, in short, tell a lie? If advertisers are honest about their product then that’s ok, but false or exaggerated representations are not.

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  19. Fentex (936 comments) says:

    $5 million to produce shock horror headlines that kids see 27,526 advertisements a year for food, and the inevitable conclusion than advertising of non-approved foods must be banned.

    Odd that someone paid handsomely for providing research should dismiss others efforts to perform research.

    Science doesn’t work on the assumption you only bother to measure what you don’t have a prejudice against, and it doesn’t work by presuming conclusions and assuming arguments before data is gathered.

    Once this study gathers it’s data and it’s to hand to examine will be the time to draw inferences and debate the logic of arguments presented on their weight.

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  20. Yvette (2,776 comments) says:

    So, Judith, regarding misrepresentation in ads – many hamburgers are displayed onscreen as mirrored images.
    How does that work?
    Are kids disappointed with what the think they are getting – it is half the size expected – are they just a little pissed off and feel diddled?
    Or do they in fact go as far as to buy more because they thought they were getting more.
    Or is this all rubbish because the product displayed at the point of ordering, with cost, is a single image?

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  21. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Yvette

    I honestly don’t know the answer to that, sorry. Either way it seems to be a dishonest practice. Whilst I’m sure most adults can work it out, I do wonder how the immature mind processes it.

    My grandkids complain when I make them hamburgers (that are big, full to overflowing with good incrediants) that they don’t look like Maccas – so perhaps the brainwashing is complete and irreversible.

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  22. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Fast food and sugary food are only dangerous when consumed as more than a treat, but as a staple of your diet. Preventing kids from doing that is the job of parents, not the government. If parents aren’t doing their job perhaps the govt needs to look at better nutrition education in schools. But just seeing people as the unthinking slaves of adverts, driven to morbid obesity by doing what the TV told them, understates the role of personal choice and the bad luck of genetics in who ends up overweight. It again shows the very low opinion of people those on the left often hold.

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  23. Yvette (2,776 comments) says:

    My grandkids complain when I make them hamburgers (that are big, full to overflowing with good incrediants) that they don’t look like Maccas – so perhaps the brainwashing is complete and irreversible.

    So, an occasional visit to “Maccas” could be beneficial, especially if you boost it as being “the real deal”, so the disappointment is more crushing?

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  24. cha (3,943 comments) says:

    There appears to be nothing to correlate that what the camera is pointed at is actually what the child looks at,

    Part of a larger project I think.

    http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/cambridge/projects/sensecam/default.htm

    http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/cambridge/projects/sensecam/media.htm

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  25. marcw (243 comments) says:

    It’s all part of the necessity today for researchers to look all hip and trendy – ‘Look at me, using these really cool hi-tech cameras’. Saves them having to do real work. All the data they need is already out there, but would take some actual grunt and real work to analyse. But they can distract us with their fancy toy technology, especially when they are using other peoples money to do it.

    Why don’t they do something useful? Like why does the picture of the burger I ordered on the wall at Maccas look nothing like what I just unwrapped? Now there’s a useful project with a potential up side. (Honesty in advertising.)

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  26. Yoza (1,808 comments) says:

    Of course this is the governments job. Who better to monitor the level of corporate brainwashing dedicated to influencing society’s youngest. It seems odd that all these Kiwibloggers have no problem with the government spending hundreds of millions to monitor the general population through a plethora of spy agencies, yet when a fraction of that amount is spent studying the effects of ubiquitous social engineering campaigns orchestrated by big business those same Kiwibloggers squeal like stuck pigs.

    As a parent I would much rather see my taxes spent monitoring sinister advertisers than I would have them spend that same amount monitoring me.

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  27. alwyn (416 comments) says:

    How did you know what our report says?
    Who leaked it to you? Was it the NSA or was it the GCSB?
    Of course the report says what you suppose. We have of course already written it after cooking up some spurious numbers. Before we can publish it we want to get a bit of Koha out of the State coffers. Now you have spoiled our plan.

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  28. OneTrack (3,019 comments) says:

    Judith – @1:42 – Possibly it depends on what you call “good” ingredients and what the kids like.

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  29. wotsisname (14 comments) says:

    whatever “big business” does is good … if they are marketing their product to children, so that the little brats will pester their parents in the supermarket until they buy the stuff just to shut the kids up … well that’s good, because it’s good for business … doesn’t matter if the product is causing rotten teeth, diabetes and obesity, it’s just business … and if they spend several million advertising the product, well that’s good business too for the ad agency, the tv channel, etc ..

    we should never question that or attempt to challenge it or do anything about it because it’s none of our business

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  30. Steve (North Shore) (4,546 comments) says:

    These University twats need to get a haircut and get a real job, instead of bleeding on the TAXPAYER with their bullshitting nonsense

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  31. Harriet (4,848 comments) says:

    Teenage boys should wear them – to see if young girls are dressing far to provocatively far to often. And to see what the girls actually behave like. :cool:

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