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LighterLife voices the debate surrounding the marketing strategies of brands backing the Olympic Games

August 21, 2012 - News

LighterLife believe the London 2012 Olympic Games have been a resounding success, delivering triumph after triumph for team GB and spreading joy and happiness throughout the nation. There have been many unforgettable moments over the last couple of weeks. Here we discuss a view put forward by those who also care about inspiring a generation, but in a non-physical way…

The Children’s Food Campaign have released a report named ‘The Obesity Games’ which reveals the Olympic-related marketing tactics of Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Cadbury’s, and how – even before a single medal had been awarded – they were already big winners of the Games!

We have provided a link to the report at the end of the blog post.

We are particularly interested in the argument put forward that these companies have placed emphasis on ‘obesity-offsetting’ funding sports equipment and exercise schemes which actually downplays the role diet has in obesity, rather than acknowledging that both increased activity and a healthier diet are vital.

‘The Olympic Games provided food and drink companies with a platform to promote their brands and products, and to reap the benefits of associations with athleticism and sporting success. Yet instead of ensuring that Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Cadbury’s promote healthy eating, the International Olympic Committee allowed them to market junk to children and also prevent the marketing of anything healthier by anyone else.’

At LighterLife we acknowledge how important it is to have a healthy relationship with food, it is therefore incredibly important that children develop healthy eating habits that they can carry with them into adulthood. The report argues that constant exposure to marketing for unhealthy snacks and foods puts these unhealthy products firmly in the mainstream diet of children.

‘In the Olympic park there were four restaurants to feed spectators, athletes, media and guests. This includes a McDonald’s in the Olympic village and the world’s largest McDonald’s restaurant (with 1500-capacity) in a very prominent position close to the stadium.’

Similarly, Cadbury’s produced a range of edible licensed Olympic merchandise for distribution and sale across the UK. The range included Olympic Mascot Chocolates, Mascot Lollipops and Mascot Jelly Bags.

We found the Obesity Games Report incredibly interesting and would like to thank the Children’s Food Campaign for recognising the importance of a healthy diet. Inspiring a nation through sport is a commendable thing, but we should also look to inspire children by what we put in front of them.

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