Walt Disney Co. Chairman and CEO Robert Iger announced this past Tuesday that starting in 2015, Disney will ban all junk-food advertising on its children’s television and radio programs that do not meet certain nutritional guidelines.
Disney will be the first major media company to set a food and beverage advertising standard on kid-focused programming. Food and beverage products will need to meet pre-determined nutrition criteria for limiting calories and reducing saturated fat, sodium and sugar when the new regulations are put into effect.
Another aspect of the campaign that hasn’t gotten much media attention is how the Walt Disney Company is working to brand health.
Disney introduced the “Mickey Check” on Tuesday as well. It is described as a an icon in the shape of Mickey Mouse that will “call out nutritious food and menu items sold in stores, online and at restaurant food venues at its U.S. Parks and Resorts.” This so-called “tool” will eventually be featured on Disney licensed food products in your local grocery store.
Although this is an extremely smart business move, I can’t help but think the program may be going a little too far. Kids are already bombarded with advertising messages in so many aspects of their everyday life. Now healthy eating, which is a serious public health issue looking at childhood obesity rates, is going to be directly connected to Disney consumer products. It makes me question whether the root of the campaign stems from a true concern over children’s health or is it just another way for Disney to make a profit?
How do you feel about this Mickey Mouse marketing? Is this a case of smart marketing going too far? Let us know!