A massive hit that targets kids quite a bit: Where and how Australian school children see energy drinks

Stephanie A. Parnell, Joelie Mandzufas, Justine Howard, Anna T. Gannett, Gina S.A. Trapp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Issues Addressed: Energy drinks (EDs) are not recommended for children due to their high caffeine content and adverse health risks. Their popularity among children may be due to children's exposure to ED marketing. This study aimed to identify where children have seen ED marketing and whether they believe ED marketing targets them. Methods: Participant data were drawn from ‘AMPED UP: An Energy Drink Study’, where 3688 students in grades 7–12 (age 12–17 years) from 25 randomly selected secondary schools in Western Australia were asked if they had ever seen ED advertising on television, posters/signs in shops, online/internet, movies, cars/vehicles, social media, magazines/newspapers, music videos, video games, merchandise and free samples. Participants were also shown three ED advertisements and asked, ‘Which age group/s do you think this ad targets?’ (12 years or less, 13–17 years, 18–23 years, 24 years or older) and could select multiple age groups for each advertisement. Results: On average, participants saw ED advertising on 6.5 (SD = 2.5) of 11 possible marketing channels, including television (seen by 91% of participants), posters/signs in shops (88%), online/internet (82%) and movies (71%). Participants also perceived ED advertisements targeted children (< 18 years). Conclusions: ED marketing has a high reach among Western Australian children. The voluntary ED advertising pledge to not market EDs to children in Australia does not prevent children from seeing or being targeted by ED marketing. So What?: Stronger regulatory control of ED marketing is needed to better protect children from the appeal and adverse health risks of ED use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)736-741
Number of pages6
JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

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