The advertising explosion that occurred in the 1980’s aimed at children could not have come at a better time for the fast food industry. While the industry has long lured children in with their fun characters (Ronald McDonald), kid’s meal toys, and brightly colored playgrounds, the advertising boost gave them a new outlet for marketing. According to Eric Schlosser, as more families began to have two parents working outside of the home, the more money was spent on their children to help suffice the guilt for lack of quality time spent with their children. With children becoming targeted consumers and asking parents for more specific things the marketing of fast food moved to commercials with catchy jingles and slogans. Ads showed happy children and families to draw in children and create bonds that may turn them into life long consumers.
Although fast food chains annually spend about $3 billion on television advertising, their marketing efforts directed at children extend far beyond such ads. Partnerships with other things that attract children’s attention have helped further the child consumerism. Fast food has joined forces with companies such as sports organizations, the Olympics, and even the promotions of certain movies. Through this marketing technique children are reached by the pairing of two or more of their favorite things, and are more likely to remember a product. The tie – ins between foods and other toys and products, combined with the bombarding of commercials on television geared at children, have made them the largest consumer group. Children will ask incessantly for items that have made impressions on them, and parents will buy the product. You find logos for fast food restaurants on everything from video games to books and theme parks. Despite the fact that American children are more obese than ever and consume increasing amounts of fast food, the industry has benefited greatly from their marketing campaigns.