Talent show hearing 'Sugar Sugar'

SHABNAM DASTGEIB
Last updated 05:00 25/11/2012
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IN JUDGEMENT: Opshop singer Jason Kerrison, left, supermodel Rachel Hunter, and former UB40 lead singer Ali Campbell make up the judging panel of New Zealand’s got Talent.

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Television talent judges are being accused of glamourising unhealthy sugary drinks through prime-time product placement.

When New Zealand's Got Talent judges such as Rachel Hunter sip on Coca-Cola during the show, it is just another example of how companies claim not to be advertising to children when in fact they are, dietitian Julia Lyon says.

"People, especially children, may not recognise it as advertising. We need to do a lot more in promoting a safe environment for our children to live, learn, work and play in."

She said there needed to be firmer regulation and an independent review into food marketing. "There is extensive research around sugary beverages in general contributing to weight gain in children."

Foodsavvy founder and Wellington-based dietitian Sarah Elliott said New Zealand's Got Talent was all about glamour and success and it "absolutely glamourised" Coca-Cola by association.

"Kids are so impressionable. We need to be socially responsible for the messages our children receive."

A spokeswoman said TVNZ would not have been in a position to make "such a big production" without the support of sponsors.

Wellington consultant dietitian Carole Gibb said advertising standards "should be much more stringent, much more robust."

The Advertising Standards Authority had received one complaint regarding product placement, and that had not been deemed suitable for hearing by the board.

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- Sunday Star Times

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