“They’re great!!” an animated Tiger named Tony shouts as both children and adults cheer about the introduction of a new cereal that is chocolate frosted. Later in the 15-second commercial, children are encouraged to “LET YOUR GR-R-REAT OUT” with wording that appears above an image of a father and son eating cereal together seated closely on a sofa. This ad, which first aired on January 1, 2018 and stopped airing on October 1, 2018 received over 4 billion TV impressions of which more than 3.8 billion were shown nationally. And, as most of those watching were unaware, it also included 8 portrayals of Binge Eating Disorder (BED) behaviors. Currently, there is no research examining the promotion of Binge Eating Disorder behaviors in American breakfast food advertisements. However, a study by Danowski examined BED behaviors in snack foods using a BED Advertising Analysis Chart (BEDAAC) to measure addictive, behavioral, emotional, and physical characteristics of Binge Eating Disorder. This current study will use the BEDAAC as it seeks to fill the research void by examining breakfast food advertisements, specifically cereal, yogurt and bread, to determine the presence of Binge Eating Disorder indicators. In total, 75 ads were analyzed. Of these, 100% portrayed signs of using food to relieve emotional discomfort/seek emotional change. 99% included representations of deep emotional attachment to food. 87% contained portrayals of using food to replace relationships or as a means of bonding.
Debbie, D. (2022). What’s for breakfast? An analysis of American breakfast food advertisements and the promotion of binge eating disorder behaviors. Media Literacy and Academic Research, 5(2), 6-25.