Parents not sweet on sugary drink ads: Fame and Shame Awards 2016

Fame and Shame Awards: 11 am Monday 5 December at Cancer Council NSW,  153 Dowling St, Woolloomooloo NSW 2011

Sugary drinks giant Coca-Cola Australia has taken out two of three shame categories in the 2016 Parents’ Voice Fame and Shame Awards. Recognised in the categories Foul Sport and Pester Power, Coca-Cola Australia has beaten McDonald’s Australia when it comes to using shameful marketing techniques to advertise unhealthy food and drink to children.

“Parents are concerned that Coca-Cola Australia is continuing to develop marketing techniques that target children,” said Alice Pryor, Campaigns Manager for Parents’ Voice, an online network of parents with the mission to improve the food and activity environments of Australian children.

Coca-Cola’s Brotherly Love television commercial took out the Pester Power award. Featuring an adolescent boy and his relationship with his cool, coke drinking big brother, this ad puts a question mark over the company’s claim of not marketing directly to children.

The Foul Sport award sees Cola-Cola again shamed for their Powerade Ion4 Olympic campaign. Hydrating Our Olympians featured Australian Olympian and NBA star Andrew Bogut, and was judged to be the worst for sending a misleading message to children that consuming unhealthy products is consistent with a sporting career and healthy lifestyle.

“Parents are not happy that Australian sport is dominated by junk food and sugary drink advertising,” Alice Pryor said. She highlights that parents are frustrated by the continued connection between junk food and sport. “Watching sport, and in this case the Rio Olympics, as a family, should be a time free from unhealthy influences.”

Nestlé’s MILO picked up the final shame award, winning the Digital Ninja award for their MILO Champions Band. Aimed at children aged 6 to 12, the activity tracker syncs with the MILO Champions app, tracking activity and nutrition, leading children to believe that MILO is an integral part of healthy living despite being almost 50 per cent sugar.

While Parents’ Voice and its supporting partners have expressed their concerns following the announcement of the shame awards, it was not all bad news. A number of household names are demonstrating efforts to encourage children to adopt healthy food and drink choices.

Wendy Watson, Nutrition Program Manager at Cancer Council NSW said: “In good news for Woolworths, two of its campaigns went head-to-head for the Parents’ Choice – Food fame award. In the end, their Free Fruit for Kids campaign with Jamie Oliver was a clear winner with parents, with the vote showing parents love the television commercial and the program.”

“With 1 in 4 Australian children overweight or obese, it’s good to see a major supermarket chain leading the way to counter pester power by providing a healthy option for kids while mum or dad does the shopping.”

For the first time, there was a special fame category for advertisements that encourage physical activity. The Australian Government’s Girls Make Your Move campaign picked up the inaugural Parents’ Choice – Physical Activity award, leaving competing ads, NAB and AFL’s Mini Legends and Woolworth’s Grown in Australia, Picked for Rio, equal runners up.

Mum, Charlie Daley, voted for Girls Make Your Move, the ad encouraging her to help her daughter to be more active. “As children get older it can become more difficult to keep them moving,” she said. “This campaign reminds girls that physical activity and sport are fun and social.”

Alice Pryor added: “To have two fame categories, and so many nominations, is a positive step, but shame awards and nominations still outweigh them. It is encouraging to see more debate about the wider concerns of junk food marketing to children and its association with a rise in the consumption of unhealthy food and drink. More information and media coverage of the issues helps to equip parents with the facts, see beyond the hype, and call for better regulatory guidelines and protection for their children.”


Media contacts:

Luke Daley: M: 0433 396 064 E:
Alice Pryor: M: 0416 219 261 E:
Laura Cairnduff T: (02) 9334 1408 M: 0413 889 283 E:
Deahna Voulgaris T: (02) 9334 1871 M: 0431 727 080 E:

Notes to Editor

Parents’ Voice is an online network of parents who are interested in improving the food and activity environments of Australian children. Formerly known as The Parents’ Jury, Parents’ Voice was formed in 2004 and represents thousands of Australian parents. Parents’ Voice is supported by Cancer Council Australia, Diabetes Victoria, VicHealth, YMCA Australia and the Bluearth Foundation.

Cancer Council NSW is a key partner in the Fame & Shame Awards and a supporter of Parents’ Voice.

About the Fame and Shame Awards

Parents’ Voice Fame and Shame Awards aim to raise awareness of the persuasive and misleading techniques that advertisers use to promote unhealthy foods and drinks to children, and to recognise advertisements that promote healthy food to children in a fun and appealing way.

Since 2005, the Awards have given Australian parents a chance to have their say about the food marketing techniques they believe are targeting their children.

Members of Parents’ Voice have been nominating examples of the best and worst children’s food marketing campaigns throughout the year. Members then voted on the shortlisted ads to determine the winner.

List of award nominees and winners (Videos individually linked and are available via dropbox)

ShameFoul Sport: For a company, team or athlete who uses sport to promote unhealthy food and drinks to influence children.Kids to Rio #FriendsWin – McDonald’s AustraliaMILO Champions Soccer – NestlèGold Actions – Coca-Cola Australia Winner – Powerade Ion4 Hydrating Our Olympians – Coca-Cola Australia 
ShamePester Power: awarded to the food marketing campaign that uses techniques which appeal to children, leading to them nagging their parents for unhealthy foods.Secret Life of Pets Happy Meal – McDonald’s AustraliaBeing a Kid Never Changes – Natural Confectionary Company (Mondelēz International)Shapes The Choice Is Yours – Arnott’s Winner – Brotherly Love – Coca Cola Australia 
ShameDigital Ninja: given to the brand which has used digital media in the most obvious way to target children, gaining their attention; driving active participation in the brand and encouraging pester power.World of Paddle Pop Online Game – Streets (Unilever)McDonald’s Snapchat Lens – McDonald’s Australia Winner – Milo Champions Band: Activity Tracker and App – Nestlè
FameParents’ Choice – Food: congratulates a food advertisement that promotes healthy eating to children in a fun and appealing way.Aussie Kids are Weet-Bix Kids – SanitariumNature’s Non-Stop Energy Snack G – Australian BananasHalf time oranges – Woolworths Winner – Free Fruit for Kids – Woolworths and Jamie Oliver
FameParents’ Choice – Physical Activity: awarded to an advertisement that encourages children to get moving.Grown in Australia, Picked for Rio – WoolworthsNAB Mini Legends – Australian Football League and National Australia Bank Winner – Girls Make Your Move – Australian Government

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