Can Public-Service Advertising Change Childrens Nutrition Habits? The Impact of Relevance and Familiarity

Monali Hota and Ruben Chumpitaz Cáceres

ISEG School of Management

Antoine Cousin



Obesity certainly has its origin in genetics, but nearly 70 percent of the prevalence is caused by changes in the lifestyles of children and their parents (AFSSA, 2004). Children today mature early as consumers. Contributing factors include their growing autonomous purchase power and their increasing influence on household purchases (especially in the context of dual-income households; McNeal, 1992).

Advertising of child-oriented food products ultimately exerts a significant influence on children’s attitudes and choices owing to the following:

  • These advertisements capitalizing on the unique abilities and limitations of children (Scammon and Christopher, 1981)
  • Children’s familiarity with television advertising for such food products—in contrast to their general lack of awareness of pro-nutrition public service announcements (PSAs; Gorn and Goldberg, 1982).