Cheese Ads for Children Face Ban – a Threat or an Opportunity?

We’re delighted to report that our sales of gruyere cheese really increased, doubled on the previous week’s sales with our promotion and the provision of a recipe.  They have returned to more ‘normal’ levels now but people seem to have remembered that cheese is yummy in cooked dishes as well as in sandwiches and salads!

We were really alarmed when we first heard of the new regulations by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland regarding banning the advertising of cheese on television before 6pm.  This was a threat that we had never even dreamt of when we were compiling our SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunites and Threats) of our business plan.  Imagine that cheese is being equated to crisps and sweets in terms of the regulator promoting healthy eating in children.  I mean, mice eat so much cheese especially the teenage mice when calcium intake is so important and I’ve never seen an obese teenage mouse!

It is just ridiculous and I’m pleased to see that journalists are writing about it as such. This extract has been taken from the Irish Times:

Cheese advertisements during children’s television should be banned – apart from for cottage cheese – as it was high in fat, “and saturated fat”.
Other foods that should not be advertised to children include potato crisps, including low fat; most breakfast cereals; biscuits and cakes; confectionary; most pizzas, sausages and burgers; mayonnaise; sweetened milkshakes and fruit juices; cola and fizzy drinks, except diet versions, and, butter and margarine.
The proposal to ban cheese ads to children was criticised by Food and Drink Industry Ireland, the Irish Dairy Industry Association and the Irish Farmers Association.
Kevin Kiersey, chairman of the the IFA’s national dairy committee said the approach lacked credibility and was more likely to damage than improve children’s diets.
Claire McGee, executive of the the Irish Dairy Industry Association, said banning cheese advertising would “confuse” consumers and undermine government nutritional policy which was to encourage children and teenagers to eat “five portions of dairy every day”.
Mr McLoughlin said most other dairy products could be advertised to children, including milk – full- and low-fat, yoghurt and yoghurt drinks, fromage frais.
“There were no nutritional grounds for excluding cheese from the [nutrient profiling] model,” he said.

It looks like these regulations could become law as early as next January so this is something we need to be aware of when planning our marketing strategies going forward.

For the short term, I’m glad to say that the debate actually increased sales for us.  So many people were enraged at the idea of banning the promoting of cheese as a healthy snack and apart from the fact that it was a ‘hot topic’ in the Cheese Mall, most people seemed intent on buying more and more cheese for themselves and for their children.

It does show though that there are plenty of threats out there but with planning and a good marketing strategy, many of the threats can be turned into opportunities. We are in the process of designing ‘cheese recipes for kids’ recipe booklets to try and emulate the success we had with the quiche recipe booklets. This will help sales in the short term as people are so enraged by the prospect of banning cheese advertising for children but we will have to come up with more ideas for long term sales and build these into our revised business plan.

Did you know that we have published a book showing the story of setting up our business and all the marketing techniques we applied to writing our business plan?  If you would like to read it, you can purchase our book online as a paperback or as an e-book.

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