The FTC dealt out 44 subpoenas yesterday to food companies, including McDonald's, Coca-Cola, and Kraft, seeking information on how much they spent on advertising to kids. The businesses have until November 1 to comply for a report the FTC is preparing for Congress on marketing practices and child obesity.
The FTC wants to know how food companies target kids through TV, radio, and the Internet, and if they focus on age, gender, and ethnicity, reports AdWeek. As fears of a marketing crackdown loom, some companies, including General Mills and Pepsi, have adoped voluntarily guidelines for "responsible" marketing to kids under 12. Some have vowed that licensed characters, such as Tony the Tiger, will be used only to advertise healthy products. (Read more children stories.)