Food giant Nestlé would like you to know that it is definitely, definitely not marketing its new line of Girl Scout candy bars to children, because they promised they weren’t going to do that anymore. But last time I checked, the Girl Scouts were pretty clearly associated with childhood. And although Nestlé agreed not to market to children under age 12 via the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, it’s blatantly obvious that these candy bars are in violation of that agreement–no matter what the all-powerful company is saying.
The company’s statement on the issue reads as follows:
Nestlé’s arrangement with the Girl Scouts of the USA does not violate its commitment under the CFBAI pledge because it is not engaging in child-directed advertising for products with a Girl Scout logo. Our program does not apply to packaging at point of sale because grocery stores are primarily adult-oriented venues.
Sure, I know tons of adults that are crazy for Girl Scout cookies, and I don’t doubt that Nestlé wants these candy bars to be purchased primarily by adults, for other cookie-loving adults. And no, they’re not running TV ads with children happily eating candy bars in their green uniforms around a campfire at scout camp. But grocery stores as adult-oriented venues? As if children don’t visit grocery stores with their parents or other caregivers? Take a trip to any grocery store and you’ll see children paying attention to what’s on the shelves, asking adults to buy specific foods for them. And what usually draws a child’s eye? Oh yeah, packaging. Like the kind that comes with the Girl Scout label, which children–particularly girls who are scouts–will be drawn to.
Nutrition Policy Director of the CFBAI, Margo Wootan, is dead on when she says:
Having the Girl Scouts logo is no different than having a Disney princess, SpongeBob or the latest movie character that kids like on the package. It’s equally inappropriate for the Girl Scouts to be licensing their brand to be on a candy bar.
The candy bars come in three flavors: Thin Mints, Caramel & Coconut, and Peanut Butter Creme. While only one of those is a traditional Girl Scout cookie flavor, the packaging of the candy bars speaks for itself: see how half of the package is green, the color of the Girl Scouts logo? And of course, there it is at the bottom of the candy bar: the words Girl Scouts.
The Girl Scouts organization shouldn’t be let off the hook, either; it’s not like Girl Scout cookies themselves are inherently healthy. The licensing deal is supposed to celebrate 100 years of Girl Scouts in America, but it seems like the Scouts could have found another way to honor their cause, one that didn’t encourage children to eat even more sugar-laden food. There’s a small silver lining though; the limited-edition bars will only be sold June through September.
Image: USA Today