An Examination of Marketing Techniques used to Promote Children’s Vitamins in Parenting Magazines

  •  Corey Basch    
  •  Katherine Roberts    
  •  Danna Ethan    
  •  Sandra Samayoa-Kozlowsky    


More than a third of children and adolescents in the United States take vitamins even though professional medical organizations do not endorse their use in healthy children. Regardless of their efficacy, children’s vitamin products are aggressively promoted. Therefore, the goal of this study was to describe and analyze advertisements related to vitamins in the following three popular parenting magazines, Parents, Parenting Early Years, and Parenting School Years. A total of 135 magazines across four years were reviewed.  There were 207 advertisements for children’s vitamins, all in the form of chewy or gummy.  None of these advertisements included a dosage or a warning.  Almost all (92.3%) included a cartoon in the advertisement.  Almost a quarter (23.2%) of the advertisements promoted their product with the theme of prevention and more than half (51.2%) included the theme of peace of mind.  Parenting magazines are a popular medium for providing exposure to products geared towards children.  Companies that market children’s vitamins in these magazines can increase awareness among parents of the risks by providing warning and dosage information in their advertisements.  Magazines can also play a role by encouraging responsible marketing and providing editorial content on children’s vitamins and potential consequences of pediatric overdose.

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