A Critical Analysis of the Children'sFood and Beverage Advertising Self-Regulatory Initiatives


  • Kyle Asquith


This paper critically examines the self-regulatory Canadian and American Children '.I' Food and Beverage Advertising Initiatives (CFBAIs). Responding to pressure from public health officials and policymakers concerned over childhood obesity, food and beverage advertisers have voluntarily signed onto the CFBAIs and through the programs have pledged to scale-back their advertising of unhealthy food and beverages to children. Through an analysis of advertiser "pledges" and other texts germane to these initiatives, I locate seven discursive frames that children’s food and beverage advertisers use to legitimize industry selfregulation, fight off negative public perception, arouse doubt, and avoid regulatory intervention. These discursive Fames are also compared to those used by other historically controversial advertising sectors, such as tobacco and alcohol. I conclude that the strategies o fcontemporary children’s food and beverage advertisers are remarkably similar to those used by other advertising sectors that have faced threats of tighter regulation throughout the twentieth century.

Author Biography

Kyle Asquith

Kyle Asquith is a doctoral candidate and lecturer in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at the University of Western Ontario. Kyle also holds a MA. From the University of Windsor's graduate program in Communication and Social Justice. His research interests broadly encompass the complementary fields of advertising and consumer culture, media history, media policy, and the political economy of communication.