The Super Bowl has long been seen as the “tent pole” of American consumer culture: an annual game that routinely pulls in viewers at a scale otherwise achieved only by one-off events like series finales and celebrity car chases. It actually drives sales of TVs: the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association reports that 2.5 million people plan to buy a new TV for the express purpose of watching the game, part of an overall $8.7 billion in Super Bowl-related consumer spending.
In Canada, there are rules for advertising to children. Except in Quebec, where all advertising to children under the age of 13 is prohibited under the Quebec Consumer Protection Act, advertisements in broadcast media directed at children under 12 years of age must follow a set of voluntary guidelines called the Broadcast Code for Advertising to Children. The Code does not pertain to ads broadcast on U.S channels. Compliance with the Code is a condition of licence for Canadian broadcasters.
In this lesson, students consider the role of snack foods in a healthy diet. The teacher then guides them on a tour of popular sites aimed at children, where the class identifies and classifies the advertising encountered there and looks at how the food products being advertised fit – or don’t fit – in the food groups found in the Canada Food Guide. Students then play the game Co-Co’s AdverSmarts to understand some of the techniques used by online food marketers and then create their own mock website promoting a healthy diet.