Pushing Powerade to sports clubs gets a red card from Australian parents

The Parents’ Jury 2014 Fame and Shame Awards Announced

Coca-Cola Amatil’s Powerade Sports Loyalty Program has been shamed in the 10th annual Fame and Shame Awards for marketing to children by incentivising sport clubs to purchase unhealthy drinks in return for sports equipment.

For a set of seven netball bibs valued at around $50, a club would be required to purchase $1,600 worth of drinks. This equates to the consumption of 442 bottles of Powerade, containing a whopping 15kg of sugar.

Health advocacy group, The Parents’ Jury, cautioned junior sports clubs to be aware of the amount of sugar that kids would need to consume in order for their club to redeem equipment through the Powerade Sports Loyalty Program.

Campaigns Manager of The Parents’ Jury, Dimity Gannon, said, “In this, the 10th year of the Fame and Shame Awards, we introduced the ‘Foul Play’ Award to highlight the numerous ways junk food marketing is infiltrating the world of children’s sport. This is a growing concern for parents who see junk food marketing as detracting from the health benefits associated with sport.”

Mum of two, Penny McBride from Sydney, said, “I am very concerned about my children’s exposure to junk food advertising. I don’t want the girls to take home the message that if they do some physical activity they should gulp down a sugary drink. I certainly don’t want their coaches put in the position of pushing these drinks on our kids to get more equipment for their clubs.”

Partner of The Parents’ Jury’s Fame and Shame Awards, Cancer Council NSW believes that the Awards remain more relevant than ever. Clare Hughes, Nutrition Program Manager said, “Companies are adapting and becoming craftier in their promotion of sugar-laden, high-sodium and fatty foods to children.

“As the evidence becomes clearer about the health risks associated with sugary drinks, pushing them through kids’ sport sends the wrong messages to children. We know that these drinks can contain up to 16 teaspoons of sugar in one serving, and regular consumption is contributing to overweight and obesity among children and teens.”

Coca-Cola Amatil received another dressing down from parents in the Digital Ninja category. Its Fanta Flavour Lab app rewards teens for Fanta purchases and encourages them to share content with their friends on social media. Sharing the Award, the McDonald’s Emlings app was slammed for targeting very young children under the guise of an educational game.

“It disturbs me that junk food companies put so much time, energy and resources into creating these digital campaigns designed to target children. I could not believe that a McDonald’s app targeting 4-8 year olds was allowed.” Mrs McBride added.

Nestlé Australia received the Pester Power Award for its Wonka Chocolate Golden Ticket promotion, which exploited the affection that children have for the ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ story. The promotion used the hook of finding one of five elusive golden tickets to win a trip to the ‘Wonka Chocolate Factory’.

Getting parents’ tick of approval, Woolworths received the Parents’ Choice Award for using marketing to promote healthy eating with the Jamie’s Garden Collectibles promotion. Parents approved that the promotion taught children about eating fresh healthy food in a fun and engaging way.

Ms Gannon from The Parents’ Jury said, “Over the past 10 years, we’ve seen the same companies vying for the Shame Awards. McDonald’s and Kellogg’s have been nominated every year, closely followed by Coca-Cola Amatil. This shows that despite parents’ concerns, the industry is still investing big bucks in marketing to children and industry self-regulation isn’t working.


Media contact: Gina Murphy 0413 889 283 ginam@nswcc.org.au or Angela Mallon 0404 570 525 amallon@diabetesvic.org.au

Notes to Editor

The Parents’ Jury is an online network of parents, grandparents and carers, who are interested in improving the food and physical activity environments of Australian children.

It’s supported by Cancer Council Australia, Diabetes Australia – Vic, VicHealth, YMCA Victoria and the Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society

About the Fame and Shame Awards

The Parents’ Jury 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 the advertisements that promote healthy food to children in a fun and appealing way.

The Awards give Australian parents a chance to have their say about the food marketing techniques they believe are targeting their children.

Members of The Parents’ Jury have been nominating examples of the best and worst children’s food marketing campaigns throughout the year.

Members voted on a shortlist in four categories which went forward to a panel of parents, academics and advertisers who decided that the awards should go to:

Pester Power: is awarded to the food marketing campaign that uses techniques which appeal to children, leading to them nagging their parents for unhealthy foods.

Awarded to: Nestlé Australia Wonka Chocolate Golden Ticket Promotion

Parents’ Choice: congratulates a food advertisement that promotes healthy eating to children in a fun and appealing way.

Awarded to: Woolworths: Jamie’s Garden Collectibles Promotion

Digital 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.

Jointly Awarded to: Coca-Cola Amatil Fanta Flavour Lab App and McDonald’s Emlings App

Foul Play: for the marketing of unhealthy products to children through sponsorship of children’s sport, in what should be a healthy environment.

Awarded to: Coca-Cola Amatil Powerade Sports Loyalty Program

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