retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times this morning reports how Nickelodeon, the children's cable network, has decided not to follow the lead of the Walt Disney Co, which has promised to ban advertisements for foods that do not meet certain nutritional standards from its child-focused channels.

There appear to be two reasons for Nickelodeon's resistance.

For one thing, there is money. Food ads are its third biggest revenue category, generating roughly 18 percent of its sales, and banning certain kinds of ads would put a crimp in its financial performance.

For another, the company believes that it has done enough to raise consciousness about obesity issues, dedicating "10 percent of its promotional airtime to health and wellness messaging. It has also restricted the licensing of characters like SpongeBob SquarePants on certain junk foods and sent millions of dollars to communities to buy equipment like swing sets, among other initiatives. Once a year, Nickelodeon suspends programming on all of its channels and Web sites for three hours as part of a program called Worldwide Day of Play." Nickelodeon apparently believes it does not get enough credit for what it has done, so it is unwilling to give in to calls by activists to do more.
KC's View:
While I tend to think that the Disney approach is more responsible and responsive, I really don't care much what Nickelodeon does ... simply because, as a parent, I'm ultimately responsible for what my kid eats. I think my kids would tell you that one of the first things I taught them was this: "Don't believe commercials."