Which? warns over cartoon junk food endorsementCompanies could damage their reputations

21 August 2007

Companies that hold the licences for popular cartoon characters could be harming their brands by endorsing unhealthy foods, Which? warns.

Which? publishes its Cartoon Heroes and Villains report today, naming and shaming the cartoon characters being used to promote unhealthy foods to children.

It’s a marketing technique that three quarters of parents believe is irresponsible and should be stopped. 

However, some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry are choosing to distance themselves from the marketing of unhealthy foods to children.

Disney and Warner Bros

Both Disney and Warner Bros recently announced that they are phasing out the use of their characters to promote foods that could be damaging children’s health, a step Which? believes other companies should follow.

Which? chief policy advisor, Sue Davies, said: ‘There are precious few examples of cartoons being used to promote healthy products. Our research shows that the majority are being used to encourage children to eat fatty, sugary and salty foods.

‘We are calling on companies to follow the example of Warner Bros and Disney by no longer using cartoons to promote unhealthy foods.

'With so many parents fed up with the amount of marketing of unhealthy foods aimed at their children, it also makes commercial sense for cartoon brands to distance themselves from unhealthy products.

‘Regulation should be put in place that protects children from all forms of irresponsible marketing of unhealthy foods, whether it’s TV advertising, packaging, free gifts or websites.’