Evaluation of the Ad Council obesity prevention messages in light of other industry activities

With Foundation support, the Ad Council has formed a new coalition to address the obesity crisis. The coalition has broad membership from the food industry, government, and non-profit organizations. The Ad Council has developed consistent, research-based prevention messages aimed at changing the behavior of parents and children. The coalition members are committed to using these messages in their advertisement and marketing. However, these same companies produce and disseminate many other messages about food and beverages that may either support or conflict with the Ad Council messages. Food advertising and marketing are a part of families' food environment, and the Ad Council messages need to be considered in that context. The purpose of this project is to evaluate how the coalition members use the Ad Council messages, both directly and in the context of their other advertising and marketing. Using content analysis, the grantee will compare the use of Ad Council messages to other messages from the companies that are coalition members. The study will describe how the Ad Council messages fit into context: What stories do the companies tell about their products in their advertising? To whom do they tell them? And, are the Ad Council coalition's messages being reinforced or undermined by those stories?This evaluation is needed for two reasons: (1) to assess an important feature of families' food environments, and (2) to inform the Foundation's Childhood Obesity team strategy concerning industry. The Foundation's support for the Ad Council prevention messages is the first real exploration the team has made into a relationship with the food industry. It is therefore essential to monitor not only the use of these messages by the coalition members, but also their other advertisement in light of those messages. The project deliverables will include a written analysis, case studies that focus on certain company practices or products, and a searchable database that houses the raw material used for the analyses.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $462,685.00

Awarded on: 9/23/2005

Time frame: 10/1/2005 - 3/31/2008

Grant Number: 52917


Public Health Institute

555 12th Street, 10th Floor
Oakland, 94607-4046


Lori E. Dorfman
Project Director