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Stop Targeting Kids References

References to support the statistics used throughout our Stop Targeting Kids campaign.

Children see 3 ads every 10 minutes

Australian research found that for every hour a child spends on the internet on their mobile device, they see an average of 17.4 food and drink ads, equating to 168 a week and 8,736 a year. The majority of these ads would not be permitted to be marketed based on nutrient profiling criteria. For each additional hour spent on the internet on mobile devices a week, children’s exposure to food promotions was found to increase by 6%. 17.4 promotions per hour equates to seeing 3 food and drink promotions every 10 minutes.

Kelly B, Bosward R, Freeman B. Australian children’s exposure to, and engagement with, web-based marketing of food and drink brands: cross-sectional observational study. J Med Internet Res 2021;23:e28144.doi:10.2196/28144pmid

Watching one extra junk advert a week is associated with an average increase of 18,000 calories to a child’s diet per year.

Research and analysis carried out by Cancer Research UK on young people, aged 11-19, and broadcast marketing exposure found that seeing extra foods high in salt, sugar and fat (HFSS) predicts eating more of these foods. The study showed that seeing just one extra broadcast advert per week predicted an increase in the intake of HFSS food and drink (around 60 HFSS items more/year). They estimated this at almost 350 extra calories per week or 18,000 a year.

Christopher Thomas, Lucie Hooper, Gillian Rosenberg, Fiona Thomas, Jyotsna Vohra. (2018). Under Pressure: New evidence on young people’s broadcast marketing exposure in the UK. Policy Research Centre for Cancer Prevention, Cancer Research UK.  

One in five children in Ireland are living with overweight or obesity  

The Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI) in the Republic of Ireland is a collaborative study part of the wider WHO European COSI. The COSI system aims to measure trends in overweight and obesity in primary school children. 135 schools consented to participate in the fifth round of the COSI study over 2018 and 2019. Children in first, second, fourth, and sixth class were measured. In total, 9906 children took part in the examination rates in round 5.

Applying weight classification using the International Obesity Task Force BMI classification, the report found that in total 19.1% of children surveyed were living with overweight or obesity (Boys 17.4%/Girls 20.9%). The researchers concluded that in total, 1 in 5 children surveyed were classified as living with overweight or obesity for their age and sex.

Mitchell L, Bel-Serrat S, Stanley I, Hegarty T, McCann L, Mehegan J, Murrin C, Heinen M, Kelleher C (2020). The Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI) in the Republic of Ireland – Findings from 2018 and 2019

Children are exposed to over 15 billion junk food adverts every year

As part of the consultation process for the total restriction of online advertising for products high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS), the UK government prepared an evidence note. In the section estimating the number of child HFSS impacts, it found that from applying the results of the CrossMedia tool, plus the proportion of online ads which are HFSS, the results estimated a total of 15.1 billion online HFSS impacts to children in 2019.

Department of Health and Social Care and Department of Culture Media and Sport (2020). Open. Consultation: Evidence Note.

Canadian research found that children see food marketing in social media apps an average of 111 times per week.

Canadian research found that children see food marketing in social media apps on average 111 times per week. On a yearly basis, this means that children see an average of 5,772 instances of food marketing per year in these applications. 97% of those were for products high in fat, sugar or salt.

Harris JL, Kalnova SS. Food and beverage TV advertising to young children: Measuring exposure and potential impact. Appetite. 2018 Apr 1;123:49-55. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2017.11.110. Epub 2017 Dec 5. PMID: 29217390.

Canadian research estimated that children and adolescents see food marketing 30 and 189 times on average per week on social media apps, respectively.

Researchers in Canada conducted a study in 2019 that compared the frequency and wholesomeness of food marketing seen by children and adolescents on social media apps as well as estimate their weekly exposure. 101 children and adolescents (ages 7-16 years) completed a survey on their media use and were recorded using their two favourite social media apps for 5 minutes each on the mobile device they usually use. Recordings of app use were reviewed to identify food marketing exposures. The results estimated that children and adolescents see food marketing 30 and 189 times on average per week on social media apps, respectively.

Potvin Kent M, Pauzé E, Roy EA, de Billy N, Czoli C. Children and adolescents’ exposure to food and beverage marketing in social media apps. Pediatr Obes. 2019 Jun;14(6):e12508. doi: 10.1111/ijpo.12508. Epub 2019 Jan 28. PMID: 30690924; PMCID: PMC6590224.

1 in 20 children on the island of Ireland will die prematurely due to childhood obesity and overweight

According to a 2017 Safefood report entitled ‘What are the estimated costs of childhood overweight and obesity on the island of Ireland?’, over 85,000 children will die prematurely due to childhood obesity and overweight. The study indicates that 55,056 children in the Republic of Ireland will die prematurely due to childhood obesity and overweight, while the corresponding figure in Northern Ireland is 30,632, giving a total figure of 85,688.

In 2016, a year before the Safefood report, the population of children aged 0-17 in the ROI was 1,220,907, according to the State of the Nation’s Children 2016 report, while the corresponding figure in NI was 435,567 according to the 2016 Mid-Year Population Estimates for Northern Ireland. This gives a total of 1,656,474 (ROI: 1220,907, NI: 435,567). Working out the calculations (85,688/1,656,474) gives a figure of 5.17% of the children population or 1 in 20.

Ivan J. Perry, Seán R. Millar, Kevin P. Balanda, Anne Dee, David Bergin, Laura Carter, Edel Doherty, Lorraine Fahy, Douglas Hamilton, Abbygail Jaccard, André Knuchel-Takano, Laura McCarthy, Adam McCune, Grace O’Malley, Laura Pimpin, Michelle Queally and Laura Webber.

Department of Children and Youth Affairs. (2016) State of the Nation’s Children, Ireland 2016. 

Industry case studies referenced/screenshotted in campaign film

McDonald’s Eurosaver Driving Frequency through Changing Times – Cawley Nea\TBWA

Eurosaver is McDonald’s entry level or low price menu- with €1 or €2 items such as Hamburgers, Twisty Fries and McNuggets on offer. It is McDonald’s most important strategic tool, driving people into the restaurant through a value based proposition- in effect resulting in more customers, more often. After an altogether successful launch in 2002, Eurosaver sales had leveled off in ’03 and ’04, and had reached an all time low in Q1 2005.

When the recession hit Ireland, there was the sharpest decline in visits to the informal eating out category ever recorded at the end of 2008. Thus, to turn around the McDonald’s sales trend, Cawley Nea\TBWA was tasked with re-invigorating and re-inventing Eurosaver in order to drive frequency.

Through an innovative, ‘always on’ media strategy encompassing TV, Radio, Outdoor and Online, all expectations were exceeded with the results as:

Cawley Nea/TBWA. McDonalds Eurosaver Driving Frequency through Changing Times. Available here:

Cadbury Olympic Sponsorship – Moments of Joy Publicis Dublin

In 2010, the clients of Publicis Dublin Cadbury had secured the rights as an official sponsor for the London Olympics 2012. Cadbury Ireland was provided a valuable, sponsorship property without a clear idea of how it could contribute to the commercial and marketing imperatives of the Irish branch of the company. A strategy was developed to boost sales in Ireland and the message was summarised in the line ‘Enjoy the Moment’. Heightened sporting moments transport the spectator to a better place where the worries of the world fade away.

The results of the campaign saw:

Publicis Dublin. (2014) Cadbury Olympic Sponsorship – Moments of Joy. IAPI Available here:

Cadbury Dairy Milk: Combining science and art to maximise effectiveness PHD

In 2015, Cadbury were without a local creative agency and struggling to grow in a stagnant market. An over-reliance on in-store promotions to bolster sales and increasing costs meant that revenue and profits were being eroded. PHD undertook a strategic review of spend, and backed with empirical data analysis, proposed a growth model that took a broad annual campaign view as opposed to a traditional campaign by campaign approach. Some of the objectives of the campaign included:

Through the strategy of ‘’Rebuilding the Cadbury House’’, over 2014 and 2015, the results were as follows:

PHD (2016) Cadbury Dairy Milk: Combining science and art to maximise effectiveness. IAPI Available here:

The Natural Confectionery Company: How Jelly-Phants were born PHD

The media and communications agency PHD were tasked with bringing back a declining brand, The Natural Confectionery Company (TNCC) in Ireland, back into growth, with just a small budget of €131,000. PHD proposed a local brand sponsorship, the success of which led to the creation of a brand new product based on that sponsorship, which was then supported ATL and ultimately led to double-digit value sales growth.

The campaign was split into two parts, the initial brief in 2014 and then, in 2015, the brief to launch the product which resulted from the first campaign. The directional oversight t for 2014 was ‘families that play together, stay together’. The strategy was to find a way to enhance an actual family experience via the product so that they would have a unique story and a strong communications platform. The hope was that this strategy would help them credibly engage with families during time spent together in a very local, Irish and engaging way.

Through a campaign combination of sponsoring the elephants at Dublin zoo and use of two key communication channels – social media and PR – some of the results were as follows:

PHD (2016) The Natural Confectionery Company: How Jelly-Phants were born. IAPI Available here:


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