« Alisha in Obesity-land »: Is Food Marketing the Mad Hatter?

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CASE STUDY. This case explores the aggregate influence of corporate marketing practices on public health and examines the increasingly important issue of the role of targeted marketing strategies by the food and beverage industries in the obesity epidemic.

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« Alisha in Obesity-land »: Is Food Marketing the Mad Hatter?: Abstract

« Alisha in Obesity-land »: Is Food Marketing the Mad Hatter? is a case study by Sonya A. Grier and Guillaume D. Johnson.

This case explores the aggregate influence of corporate marketing practices on public health and examines the increasingly important issue of the role of targeted marketing strategies by the food and beverage industries in the obesity epidemic. Specifically, it engages a discussion about a significant yet overlooked dimension-targeted marketing to ethnic minority children. Although U.S. government reports clearly cite the disproportionate rates of obesity among ethnic minority youth, limited attention is paid to understanding whether the factors that contribute to obesity among children in general may have an excessive impact on ethnic minority youth.

Teaching objectives

This case aims to:

  • Highlight tensions between individual company actions and aggregate market impact
  • Explore the relationship between industries’ marketing practices and product-related effects (i.e., externalities) on specific consumer segments other than those typically examined
  • Highlight the role of individual and contextual factors on the impact of basic business practices on consumer segments
  • Highlight how high-risk groups may (or may not) be prioritized in the process of seeking solutions to critical issues at the interface of business and society
  • Demonstrate that CSR can be thought of at an aggregate level, rather than just in terms of individual company actions, and to consider the social responsibilities of industries
  • Discuss the complexity inherent in assessing the value of CSR programs and their impact on specific consumer segments

Additional information

Teaching notes are available for professors. Contact the HEC Montréal Case Centre.

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