Why Mexico's Ban on Advertising Food to Kids Might Not Work

This summer Mexico put in place a ban of food advertising to children. The target is junk. Small wonder, since Mexico is awash in it. It consistently is at the top in terms of per capita consumption of soft drinks, calorie dense snacks, and sugary breakfast cereals. Mexico means big sales for companies like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Kellogg's.

So the government has banned food advertising to children under 12 on television and before kids' movies in theaters. This prohibition follows on the heels of special taxes on sugary beverages and caloric treats. The government also needs to do something so that children, too many of whom live in desperate poverty, have the wherewithal to purchase healthy foods. But that initiative may be a long time coming.

The food and beverage industry targets kids for several reasons. An important one is the way they, even so young, constitute three sorts of markets: children are a "primary market" as they spend some money themselves; they are an "influence market" because the can shape purchases by their parents; and they are a "future market" because they will become adult consumers.

What will be the impact of this ban on advertising?

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