Consumer groups file complaint against PepsiCo over teen marketing

{mosads}”Frito-Lay has infiltrated the lives of teens by developing covert advertising campaigns centered on things teens love — video games, music, horror, sports, contests, and social networking,” the complaint alleges. “This complaint demonstrates that Frito-Lay’s intended audience is teens and that teens are uniquely vulnerable to the kinds of deceptive techniques used by Frito-Lay because of certain physiological and psychological traits associated with adolescence.”

The complaint accuses PepsiCo and Frito-Lay of disguising their marketing efforts as entertaining videog ames, concerts, and other “immersive” experiences, making it more difficult for teens to recognize such content as advertising; claiming to protect teen privacy while collecting a wide range of personal information, without meaningful notice and consent; and using viral marketing techniques that violate the FTC’s endorsement guidelines.

Simultaneously, the National Policy and Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity released a report delving into new digital marketing techniques used by food and beverage companies. The report highlights five new marketing strategies:

• Augmented reality, online gaming, virtual environments and other immersive techniques that can reduce conscious attention to marketing techniques and foster impulsive behaviors;

• Social media techniques that include surveillance of users’ online behaviors without notification, as well as viral brand promotion;

• Data collection and behavioral profiling designed to deliver personalized marketing to individuals without sufficient user knowledge or control;

• Location targeting and mobile marketing, which follow young peoples’ movements; and

• Neuromarketing, which employs neuroscience methods to develop digital marketing techniques designed to trigger subconscious, emotional arousal.

“Today’s marketing efforts are increasingly multidimensional — simultaneously and purposefully integrated into a range of social media and online applications: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, gaming, and mobile communications,” the report concludes. “The goal of contemporary marketing is not simply to expose young people to ads, but rather to foster ongoing engagement — by encouraging them to interact with, befriend, and integrate brands into their personal identities and social worlds.”


Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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