Parents not 'appy' about junk food apps

The winners and losers of the 2012 Fame and Shame Awards

Drum roll please and give yourself a big pat on the back if you voted for the 2012 Fame and Shame shortlist. Once again we’re indebted to you, this really is something we couldn’t do without you and thank you to all who voted and used your voice.

The awards are The Parents’ Jury’s most high profile event and this year certainly didn’t disappoint as we achieved widespread media coverage. We’re especially delighted about this as it firmly keeps the spotlight on the increasingly sneaky marketing techniques used to promote junk food to our children.

This year, in a first for the awards, an expert panel of parents, academics and advertisers worked alongside you to name the best and worst examples of food advertising aimed at children.

The Fame and Shame Awards play an important part in the call for regulation on junk food advertising to children. That’s why you can contact us at any time during the year to nominate an advertisement or digital media campaign which you believe is promoting junk food to your children. Keep those nominations coming in!

The 2012 Fame and Shame results are as follows

THE SHAME AWARD FOR PESTER POWER was awarded to Kellogg’s LCM bars. Like you, judges slammed Kellogg’s for a double whammy of tapping into a child’s desire for popularity and a parent’s desire to express love through the lunchbox.

The ‘Surprise’ ad was considered sneaky. It places the LCM bars squarely in a lunchbox containing other healthy options. It made them look like a normal part of a school lunch and the panel believes it aims to fool kids and parents alike.

This is no occasional treat. The lunchbox is opened 6 times in this particular advertisement, so the LCM appears to be part of child’s regular lunch diet.

THE FAME AWARD FOR PARENTS’ CHOICE went to Nature’s Energy snack, Aussie Bananas. Its ability to send a healthy message through a witty design appealed to older children and their parents, while it’s vibrant approach and catchy jingle resonated with a younger demographic.

It was a widely debated category, the panel wanted to commend each campaign for their individual strengths.

THE SHAME AWARD FOR DIGITAL NINJA was a new category in 2012. As technology has changed, so has marketing. Kids today are more in tune with how to use emerging technology, but they’re no less vulnerable to sophisticated food marketing techniques.

We wanted to highlight the growing influence of digital media in food marketing. Sadly, we have two winners in this category.

Chupa Chups Lol-a-Coaster app was a worthy winner. There was one word the panel used to describe this interactive digital campaign – insidious. Not only was this app part of a wider campaign to encourage the purchase of Chupa Chups, it works as a standalone game.

Appealing to a younger demographic, with accompanying Face book and youtube campaign, it’s expensively made to ensure the quality of the game is high and would continue to appeal to kids, long after the promotion ended.

Hungry Jack’s Makes it Better app also shared this dubious honour. It’s simple, effective and widely appealing. Log in, so Hungry Jack’s has access to your Face book account, and shake your phone. Both the nearest Hungry Jack’s and a free food or beverage deal appear on your screen.

One of the most downloaded apps of 2012 and with a Face book page most accessed by 13-17 year olds, parents and the panel felt this app squarely targets the teenage market.

Like you, the panel felt that not only did the app work to create a competition like environment between teenagers, it is indicative of the changing face of marketing, where behaviour can be influenced through mobile technology.


We here at The Parents’ Jury want to continue highlighting the issues surrounding junk food marketing to children. We will write to all the nominees of this year’s awards and ask them to review their advertising practices. Of course, we will share this correspondence and industry’s response with you.

Alongside other public health voices, we will continue to call on Government to set a standard to reduce the power and reach of unhealthy food marketing seen by children. Such a move is recognised by the World Health Organisation as an important element of a broad strategy to prevent overweight and obesity. Australian families deserve no less and we will need your voice to make this happen.

Here is some more information about the nominees and results from The Parents’ Jury 2012 Fame and Shame Awards.

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