WASHINGTON DC: US watchdog, the Federal Trade Commission, has issued subpoenas to some of the country's biggest marketers - including McDonald's, Procter & Gamble and the Coca-Cola Company - as it seeks information on the advertising of food to children.

Some forty-four organizations have been requested to provide details by the beginning of November of marketing strategies targeting youngsters aged up to 12 and between the ages of twelve and 17.

Congress will use the data to produce a report about the contribution (or otherwise) of viral marketing and the use of cartoon characters to the nation's chilhood obesity epidemic.

The FTC had previously announced it would be issuing the subpoenas in order to allow both marketers and their critics to offer input as to what material they thought should be collected as part of the investigation.

Data sourced from AdAge.com; additional content by WARC staff