The modern marketing scene has been bombarded by a multiplicity of advertisements that ostensibly claim to market health products aimed at assisting the youth achieve trendy shapes and looks that are more mystical than real. Young men, in particular, have been brainwashed by some TV commercials to a point where they make it routine to take tens of Red Bull, Staminade, Powerade or Horlicks, thinking that they will not only gain that extra muscle in their biceps, but will look more invigorated and sharp (Chitra, 2009).
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But while the youth drinks to their fulfillment, manufacturing companies do little to tell the youth that more is needed in the pursuit of the ideal body shape than mere sports drinks. The lack of adequate information points to a possible lapse in ethical marketing, and has led to frustration among the youth, who soon realize that attaining the shape they so much idolize boarders on the impossible.
While it may be legal for a company to produce and market sports drinks to the youth, there exists divided perceptions about whether such an endeavor is ethical. In ethical marketing, products should not only be safe and fit for proposed use, but the sponsors must never employ deceptive or misleading advertising methodologies (Mules, 2010).
The major bone of contention is that while the youth have every right to access objective information about these products, and indeed comprise a major target market, they lack knowledge as consumers, and can be more easily misled and stage-managed by the marketing techniques employed by some companies.
In marketing health drinks, sponsoring companies aim to influence brand awareness, inclination and faithfulness, and eventually the purchasing choices the youth make now and in the future (Mules, 2010). The products are promoted using a variety of channels such as TV, event sponsorship, web marketing, and use of famous celebrities. The major objective of these promotions is clear – to reach a broader youth audience.
The companies, however, fail to relay information that some health drinks have high concentrations of fat and sugar, and can easily lead to obesity. What’s more, while the sports drinks are marketed as a healthy option capable of promoting sporting performance, no information is availed as to whether a typical youth who exercises modestly really need to use these drinks (Mules, 2010).
Indeed, some analysts argue that sports drinks should only be intended for elite athletes, but for non-athletes, they are purely a source of harmful products such as excess sugar, salt, and caffeine.
The World Health Organization believes that a major contributing factor of obesity “…is the high degree of marketing of energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods and beverages which target the youth” (Mules, 2010, p. 4).
As such, companies promoting health drinks must exercise ethical marketing by availing information that will enable the youth make wise choices on their purchasing and consumption behavior. While promoting the products using masculine and well-shaped bodies is largely viewed as legal, care must always be taken not to mislead the youth about the nutritional benefits of a particular health drink.
Chitra, C. (2009). The health-drink war. Web.
Mules, R. (2010). The ethics of marketing sports drinks to a youth market. BusiDate, 18(3), 2-5. Retrieved from Academic Source Premier Database.