Study: Energy Drinks Dominate Game Ads

Dec. 15, 2021
Livestreamed gaming platforms have become a big advertising channel for purveyors of energy drinks and other foods and beverages of dubious nutritional value.

Livestreamed gaming platforms have become a big advertising channel for purveyors of energy drinks and other foods and beverages of dubious nutritional value, according to a study from Penn State University.

The study found that during the height of the pandemic, from March to November of last year, energy drinks appeared on 74% of the games on platforms like Twitch, Facebook Gaming and YouTube Gaming. Ads for fast food, soda, processed snacks, alcohol and candy were also in heavy rotation.

“This type of marketing can normalize high-fat, high-sugar and high-sodium foods at a time in young viewers’ lives when they're developing eating habits that are going to follow them into adulthood,” one of the researchers told Penn State’s news service.

Advertisers occasionally approach popular gamers, who have developed a large online following, with sponsorship offers. The researchers said this is often more effective with the target audience than regular ads. They raised the possibility of tightening regulations around food marketing to children, which they called “essentially nonexistent.”

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