Finally It will suggest how a continued JEFF targeted to children Is unethical and recommendations for future studies. Consumer Buyer Behavior (CB) Junk Food Marketers understood buying decisions are increasingly influenced by children. (Calvert, 2008) Thus,JEFF is targeted to influence children’s consumer buyer behavior which is defined as “buying behavior of final consumer” (Kettle et al. , 2013) and hope to increase purchase intent. This Is why children are exposed to extensive food advertising and these diets are deemed less healthy, as noted In the article.
There are 3 top CB factors identified: (1) Cultural factors Cultural factors reflect and impact consumer’s wants and behavior as this is a learned behavior whilst growing up. Kettle et al. , 201 3) Thus CB may vary accordingly to their different region, ethnicity, social and political factors. This Is why every Junk food restaurant will ensure to adapt local culture Into their advertisements and menus while keeping sure their branding Is consistent. For example: McDonald’s have a range of different menus for different cultures.
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By adapting to the socio-cultural environment, McDonald’s was able to penetrate into the different markets and establish itself as one of the most popular eateries. (Bandit, 2013) A research by Food Standards Agency (2006) shows that consumers are becoming ore health-conscious; thus paving the way for Junk food restaurants to Include perceived healthier food on the menu and to Justify themselves that It suitable for children’s consumption. For example: McDonald enabled dietary information for each meal to be accessed via their website, (Monika et al. 2005) and included healthier options like apple slices. (2) Social factors CB are also Influenced by “consumer’s small groups, family and social roles and status. ” (Kettle et al. , 2013) Groups and social networks Interest groups within schools are a popular target by Junk food marketers. This is cause they wish to expose the children to idea of habitual fast food eating and being top-of-mind reference to children. For example: Ronald Mcdonald went to this marketing campaign was to actually entice children to eat at McDonald’s which was the opposite of their campaign. Burnham, 2012). This may lead to peer recommendation to eat at McDonald’s and causes children to unknowingly accept junk food into their diet routine. Word-of-mouth influence Toys in a McDonald’s Happy Meal were used effectively to increase product purchases by children (Calvert, 2008). The toys are usually launched in series, leading increase purchase intent in kids who wish to collect the whole toy series. This creates word-of-mouth influence and buzz among the children who wish to collect the whole series.
Furthermore, Mcdonald’s (Singapore) engaged opinion leaders such as influential local flogger, Mistake, to blob about their “One Piece” toy collection. The campaign was considered a success with the toys being sold out within the first few days of launch (Eng, 2014). Online social networks In the article, it stated there are increase in advertisements through social media. Social media were exploited by marketers because children are not able to recognize Hess as a form or marketing nor understand it’s intent and thus proves to be influential.
Example: Backbone (according to Fast Food Marketing (2013) 6 billion fast food ads were placed on Backbone), Advantages, pop-up messages and the ads at the side screen. (3) Psychological factors A consumer’s “buying choices are further influenced by four major psychological factors: motivation, perception, learning and beliefs and attitudes” (Kettle et al. , 2013) Motivation According to Sigmund Fraud’s theory, consumers are usually unconscious of their psychological factors shaping their motivation in purchase intent. Freud, 1954).
This shows that consumers, even more so on children, could be largely influenced by advertisements to form their psychological decisions on advertising. According to Ramey Fast food restaurants spent $4. 6 billion on advertising to children and teens in 2012′. Furthermore, as pointed out in the article, they are largely exposed not only on the television, it’s on their social media and website pop ups as well. If Children are exposed to advertising constantly, they feel the need to eat at fast food restaurants to have a sense of belonging with their peers. Perception
Once motivated, consumers will work on their decision. This may be why 17% of children in US (in 2012) are obese. Obesity rate is largely linked with Junk food intake of the children. In 2013, McDonald’s revamped their kid’s meal to a ‘healthier’ versions spotting apple slices and smaller fries (Wong, 2013). In this move, McDonald was clearly targeting children and parents who are more healthy-conscious, to Join in the bandwagon of Mcdonald’s kids’ meal. Thus trying to change the perception that their food were very unhealthy. In the article, it is stated that brands usually advertise “within the themes of fun,
Learning Once consumers act, they will start to learn if their action develops positive feelings. After children consumes a meal at a fast food restaurant, that positive decision is reinforced by heavy advertising. As advertising will influence their motivation and perception, subconsciously it will become top-of-mind choice. Beliefs and Attitudes The consumer would acquire a set of new beliefs and attitudes towards the brand. This is why fast food restaurants focus largely on children, who do not have a set belief/attitude system yet, to ensure that they grow up loving their brand.
Variety Seeking buying behavior Based on CB on fast food restaurants, consumers usually undertake Variety seeking buying behavior when patronizing. This is because restaurants are of low consumer involvement but do have significant perceived brand differences. (Kettle et al. , 2013) Thus what marketers do in this industry to position their brand as top-of-mind choice, they rely heavily on advertisements to ensure that the consumers have frequent reminders and subconsciously position themselves in the consumer minds to visit an fast food restaurant.
Segmentation After understanding consumer buyer behavior, marketers will ensure to target the eight market segmentation while planning marketing strategies for each segment. Market segmentation is recognizing the differences among consumers and choosing to target a segment of them with similar needs. (Kettle et al. , 2013) There are four main segmentations: geographic, demographics, chirography’s and behavioral (Appendix 1). Segmentation is fundamental for marketers to develop successful marketing strategies and become more persuasive. It is essential to understand consumer’s behavior. Kayoed, 2014) JEFF has segmented their customers to ensure their customers will perceive positively on their marketing efforts. For example: When McDonald targets young consumers (under demographic segmentation), it is usually combined with multiple segmentation basis as well. Cryptographic segmentation Based on the different lifestyle and culture of consumers, McDonald’s had modified their menu accordingly to suit to consumers taste. Also, during events such as the World Cup Football, McDonald’s usually develop new product specially for football fans.
McDonald’s have always tried to promote themselves to children that eating fast food makes them “cool” among friends and family. Behavior segmentation McDonald have constantly positioning themselves as a birthday party provider for children and how it is fun to hold their party at McDonald’s. Furthermore with the constant JEFF, they wish to “train” children to habitually patronize their stores. McDonald also wish to establish loyalty from children to buy their Happy meal and to collect the whole series of toys from them.
Ethics Unethical conducts may harm the consumers and society as a whole. However, being unethical does not equates to breaking the law. It Just shows a breach in the moral conducts which may varies from different individuals. Enable to differentiate and make good decisions on whether it is beneficial to their health. They subconsciously absorb all marketing information and will be resistant to change of their initial good perception of the brand. Also, it is also not ethical as Junk food are detrimental to children’s health.
Negative Long Term Effects on Children JEFF causes a long term negative effect on children. Research shows that young children fed with Junk food that are high in sugar and fats, changes their taste preference. It concludes children prefer Junk food over healthier choices at a young age causing an lasting impact on their health. Cornwall & McAlister, 2011) Furthermore, another study revealed that children with high intake of Junk food had lower IQ scores. (Northeastern et al. , 2011) As mentioned in the article, the advertisement will also affect their purchasing behavior as well as consumption.
As a result, having the children being exposed to advertisements that advertise positively on high in fats, salt and sugar (HESS) products will increase their caloric consumption which will eventually leads to obesity. JEFF to children Marketers have made use of the information that was provided by the psychologist to each the children more effectively and at the same time increase their sales and generate more profit rather than to help them. (Clay, 2000). While profit is important to any business, it is important that companies adopt corporate social responsibility as well. This is crucial as children are also the future also society.
Unfortunately at a young age, they are unable to differentiate if the marketed Junk food is good for them. They can only understand that it looks fun and the toys are like a gift to them, leaving a positive impression after every visit. Even though there are statutory regulations in place, as noted from the article, it has title impact on JEFF. Thus children are able still able to view JEFF on their television when they are back home from school, on their computer through social media and games, through children movies (example: product placement in “Spy Kids”) or sports event.
For sponsoring a sports event, the children may find a positive linkage between McDonald and being sporty/healthy at the same time. (Byway, Samara, Miriam, Hand , 2007) However, this is not true. On the other hand, there are also issue with the marketing of Macdonald to incorporate toy into their fast food meals. Some of the cities had voted to ban Macdonald from incorporating toys into their fast food and to stop selling food or beverages that exceed certain amount of fats, salt, sugar and calories to children.
Despite the fact that there are healthier alternatives in Macdonald for the sides and drinks which children are less willing to consume, the main issue remain as the burger itself contains high level of sodium. On top of that, as children do not understand the persuasive intent of media till they are eight years old, the Judgmental capacity of the brain developed in the twenties, they take thing literally from the media. Hence, making them very vulnerable as a target market. Macdonald had also claimed that the children patron them were not toys than to the promotion of healthy meals. Gale O’Brien. 2011) Thus, the main reason why it is not ethical is because children are a vulnerable target and will subconsciously absorb all the positive information portrayed from the media when it is actually not entirely true. Therefore It is recommended that the fast food restaurants do not target young consumers under 8 years old . Conclusion This essay has analyses the extent to which ethical considerations are more important than profit. While there are those who argue profit should come before ethical considerations, there is a strong argument that children’s health are more important.
In fact there is strong data which suggest that fast food is detrimental to children’s health. Furthermore,young consumers are unable to differentiate if the food taken is healthy and are prone to believe JEFF. As such, it can be concluded that it is unethical to market to young consumers. Future recommendations With the long history of JEFF, the restaurants will be resistant to change especially since they argue that there are healthier options available now. With the increase in the marketing channels that children are exposed to, it will be even more difficult for the regulator to step in with regulation to restrict the advertisement.
As a result, it will take a long time before a solution could be found to the root of the problem. However in 2014, Michelle Obama has launched a campaign to ban JEFF in schools. (Fox, 2014) With an increased awareness of the campaign, parents and children will reconsider on the food intake. As this is nation wide regulation already in placed, it would be good to observe and research on the success rate of this campaign for true research on the impact it will cause to the children’s physical and mental state.
Appendix Appendix 1 – Segmentations Geographic segmentation calls for dividing the market into different geographical units, such as nations, regions, states, countries, cities or even neighborhoods such as children in U. K. Demographics segmentation divides the market into segments based on age, gender, family size, family life cycle, income, occupation, education, religion, ethnicity, generation and nationality. Demographic factors are the most popular bases for segmenting customer groups. The marketer using demographics heartsickness to assess the size of the target market and reach it efficiently.