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Teens ‘Especially Vulnerable’ to Junk Food Advertising

Article Summary

The article’s primary message is food advertising’s influence on teenagers and their exposure to those ads. Today, the US is facing a situation where a high percentage of adolescents suffer from obesity. Active marketing of foods that are full of sugars, refined carbohydrates, and fats substantially contributes to the consumption level, especially among teens. It is mentioned that the food industry is the second-largest advertiser in the country and makes enormous investments in this area. Curiously, individuals in the age from 12 to 19 become the most significant market force for those companies that, in turn, utilize aggressive marketing to attract more customers and create brand awareness. The issue is that advertising specialists view teenagers as a group who is vulnerable to promotions and ads, and use this characteristic as a tool to build a base of loyal consumers.

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Another critical factor is that most of the food advertising to adolescents is directed at unhealthy food options that do not have sufficient nutrition but are full of unnecessary elements. Ashley Gearhardt, a psychology professor, stated that “fast food ads get under teens’ skin and activate the brain in this unconscious way that is tough to protect themselves from” (David, 2020, para. 7). Consequently, teenagers are easily convinced with specific food choices and beliefs. Many junk foods have addictive qualities, which leads to an increase in cravings and higher consumption. As far as companies are investing heavily in the marketing of fast foods, it becomes incredibly challenging to secure the youth from their influence. However, the article calls parents for action to undertake additional efforts and protect their children from the impact that fast food advertising has through social media and other channels.

How this Article Relates to Our Course

The topic of marketing to teenagers involves numerous challenges and exciting aspects. The issue that is touched in the article is aggressive marketing instruments used by the corporation to attract more youngsters to purchase their products. Although mostly the article talks about the active presence of various advertisements and how fast food can negatively affect teens, the hidden message is directed at re-evaluating the campaigns and protecting children from exposure. Marketing has a substantial influence on adolescents, especially with the widespread use of multiple social media platforms that are extremely popular among this age cohort.

One of the essential points mentioned in the article is that recently the food industry does not reflect the goals of autonomy and justice among teens. It leads to the thoughts that today, the youth, aim to be independent to a certain extent and make healthy choices. Aggressive fast-food marketing does not consider it, which has different implications for the future of advertising. There is an opportunity to start advertising healthier options for teenagers to meet their changing needs and preferences and reduce the level of obesity within the population.

Another thought-provoking aspect stated in the article concerns marketing regulations for companies. It is also a significant area in the topic of marketing to teens, because currently, there are no specific policies for the ads directed at children starting the age of 12. Thus, the reviewed piece of work pushes to contemplations about the advantages and disadvantages of robust marketing to adolescents. From one perspective, forceful campaigns are beneficial for businesses, but on the other hand, it is vital to promote health and respond to teens and their parents’ needs.


David, E. Teens ‘especially vulnerable’ to junk food advertising, experts say. ABC News. 2020. Web.

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"Teens ‘Especially Vulnerable’ to Junk Food Advertising." StudyCorgi, 27 Jan. 2022,

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Teens ‘Especially Vulnerable’ to Junk Food Advertising." January 27, 2022.


StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Teens ‘Especially Vulnerable’ to Junk Food Advertising'. 27 January.

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