The Australian Medical Association or AMA, headed by Dr. Tony Bartone is the only official organization for doctors and other medical professionals in Australia (Australian Medical Association, 2018). Recently, the AMA launched a campaign to ban advertising of junk foods and to impose a tax on sugar to regulate consumption. The members of the association are of the opinion that food and lifestyle habits develop in the early phases of childhood; thus, advertising of junk food, aimed at luring in more consumers, could have an adverse effect on these young impressionable minds ("Ban marketing of junk food to children", 2018).
It must be remembered that what the AMA is proposing is quite revolutionary in nature; for instance, children who have grown accustomed to the idea of junk food as part of their staple diet would not be receptive to a ban on advertising of the same (Elliott, 2017). Similarly, sugar too is an integral component of the diet of majority of the Australian population. Imposing a tax may be perceived as an unnecessary hassle. That is why it is important to communicate the motive of the campaigns in a proper fashion so as to avoid scope of miscommunication. Also, promotional and marketing strategies would have to be devised in such a way that the message is expressed with clarity to the target audience.
A situational analysis would reveal a few economical and social factors that would affect IMC (integrated marketing communications). For instance, the sugar tax faced severe opposition on account of the fact that consumers already paid a high tax at the supermarkets. However, there is a growing consciousness as to the impact of excessive consumption of sugar and junk food among Australian children and the rise of obesity and related diseases (Lobstein et al., 2015). This would be the highlight of the IMC strategy. It must be remembered that marketing has a widespread reach – there are various platforms through which fast food companies could reach out to children and youngsters. As a matter of fact, advertisements during major events are also a threat in this aspect (Huang & Yang, 2013). The AMA is appalled at the shameless marketing campaigns carried out by junk food companies and calls for a ban on them. Instead, children should be encouraged to opt for healthier options which do not pose a threat to their overall well being and are rich in essential nutrients. Also, the AMA believes that imposing a heavy tax on sugar would automatically reduce consumption, thus helping people take a step towards a healthy lifestyle.
The target market for the integrated marketing communications would naturally be the parents of young children; while it is inevitable that children would resist the imposition of such bans and taxes, it is expected that with adequate marketing and advertising strategies spreading awareness, Australian parents would rise to the occasion. The decision is set to impact the major stakeholders of the organization as well; the impact on customers has already been discussed. However, it would also be affecting the suppliers, which includes manufacturers of sugar and junk food; imposing a tax on sugar or prohibiting advertising of junk food would adversely affect the sales and revenue of raw materials concerned.
IMC may be defined as the fulfillment of marketing objectives as listed in a marketing plan through a combination of several promotional methods, which include advertising, public relations and direct marketing (Naeem, Bilal & Naz, 2013). Some characteristics of a good IMC strategy would be efficient project management tactics, well established target market formulated on the basis of psychographics and buyer behavior, alignment of marketing objectives and cross channel strategic management (Brunello, 2013).
An advertising campaign was launched by the AMA which graphically demonstrated the ill effects of advertising on young children. Such an advertisement was drawn up because it was hoped that it would directly strike a chord with the parents; it was released to the general public in the form of television and radio commercials and also print media advertising. The advertisement was both informational and educational; it did not simply impose the facts on the parents, but also explained to them the consequences if such a ban was not approved.
Public relations or PR too is an integral aspect of IMC since it allows direct communication between the consumers and the company representatives. A public event was organized, where parents along with their children were invited. A panel of doctors were present, who not only educated the parents about the harmful effects of sugar and junk food but also clarified doubts and queries. This allowed the message to be delivered loud and clear to the parents so that they could understand the gravity of the situation.
Direct marketing is most effective when it comes to reaching out to consumers; the AMA attempted to contact parents and children through emails and brochures were distributed in different cities of Australia. Such a campaign would maximize impact which would fetch the desired results.
The purpose behind the campaign was to spread awareness about the negative consequences of advertising of junk food and the need for tax on sugar, and that is just what it did. The combination of powerful advertising along with an open interactive session with the members of the AMA garnered massive support from the general public.
To conclude, it can be said that integrated marketing communications is one of the most potent ways of reaching out to the target audience because it entails a fine blend of promotional strategies including marketing, public relations and advertising. The AMA had proposed a ban on advertising of junk food and a tax on sugar so as to curb excessive consumption. However, their initiative was met with opposition because people were not willing to give up their lifestyle without evidence; consequently, AMA devised a communications strategy which included television and radio commercials and public events to reach out to their intended audience
Australian Medical Association. (2018). Australian Medical Association. [online] Available at: https://ama.com.au//
Ban marketing of junk food to children. (2018). Retrieved from https://ama.com.au/media/ban-junk-food-marketing-children.
Brunello, A. (2013). The relationship between integrated marketing communication and brand equity. International Journal of Communication Research, 3(1), 9.
Elliott, C. (2017). Knowledge needs and the ‘savvy’child: teenager perspectives on banning food marketing to children. Critical Public Health, 27(4), 430-442.
Huang, R., & Yang, M. (2013). Buy what is advertised on television? Evidence from bans on child-directed food advertising. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 32(2), 207-222.
Lobstein, T., Jackson-Leach, R., Moodie, M. L., Hall, K. D., Gortmaker, S. L., Swinburn, B. A., ... & McPherson, K. (2015). Child and adolescent obesity: part of a bigger picture. The Lancet, 385(9986), 2510-2520.
Naeem, B., Bilal, M., & Naz, U. (2013). Integrated marketing communication: a review paper. Interdisciplinary journal of contemporary research in business, 5(5), 124-133.
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