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Social networks used by snack brands to taget teens

Fast food companies and snack brands are using social networks and mobile campaigns to target teenagers, according to a study by consumer watchdog Which?.

Which? found that while a range of companies including Burger King, Haribo, Kellogg's and Kraft have scaled down or removed promotions aimed at children from their websites, others are using new techniques to deliver promotional messages to youngsters.

YouTube, Bebo, MySpace and Facebook are the new outlets for promotions of unhealthy foods, according to Which?. Some companies in the food sector are blatantly targeting young people by running promotions on the under-18s clubbing website Clubdtv, the study found.

Which? also highlighted a lack of standards and regulations in mobile marketing, leading to children being targeted by soft drink manufacturers. Difficulties in restricting on-pack promotions to adults only were deemed as a particular problem with mobile marketing.

The study ran from January to June 2008.

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