Parents Tell Supermarket: No TV Ads on Grocery Store Shelves

by Brie Cadman, via Change.org,

Picture this: while strolling down the supermarket aisle, mentally going through a grocery list, a voice calls out from a small screen in front of you. It’s a TV ad, beckoning you to purchase a sugary cereal or to opt for a mac-n-cheese dinner. If food marketers have their way, this scene may become reality in grocery stores across the nation.

This Fall, Food Lion supermarkets are planning a test run of 3GTv, a controversial marketing scheme that uses mini-televisions attached to grocery store shelves to run non-stop commercials — right next to the product being advertised. According to Supermarket News, the pilot project will be happening in nine stores in the Washington, D.C. area. But it has nation-wide implications. If successful, it could unleash a flood of in-store advertisements in grocery stores across the country. That’s why a coalition of parent and non-profit groups are telling the grocery store to shelve the idea.

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a coalition of health care professionals, educators, advocacy groups and concerned parents, has started a petition telling Food Lion to pull the pilot program, noting that “even the most vigilant parents can’t protect children from it.”

“It’s bad enough that popular children’s characters such as Dora the Explorer and Shrek beckon from packaging on grocery shelves, encouraging children to nag for snacks and cereals of dubious nutritional quality,” said Dr. Susan Linn, CCFC’s director, in a press release. “But assaulting families with actual TV commercials while they shop is a new low.”

It would be one thing if the ads were helping to sell bright green apples or curly kale. But the ads are likely to come from big food companies, meaning that in-store commercials will consist of cartoon characters promoting packaged and processed foods to young children, much like they do on normal TV. And according to a report of television advertisements by Healthy Eating Research, “nearly 98 percent of ads viewed by children and 89 percent of ads viewed by adolescents were for products that were high in fat, sugar or sodium.”

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