YouTube and junk-food, the viral connection to lure Millennials


YouTube is the new tool used by Big Food to lure Millennials to big junk-food brands. Small investments with staggering returns, for viral connection of young victims.

Twelve years after its launch, YouTube has reached 1.3 billion visitors (18 percent of the world’s population, 35 percent of the planet’s web users), with 30 million logins and 5 billion videos watched daily. Data on younger age groups are uncertain, as most minors use adult accounts or falsify their date of birth, during registration, to gain access. Not coincidentally, the very YouTube channels that dominate the Italian rankings are aimed at them, one of them Favji TV (3.5 million subscribers, 1.5 billion downloads).

Here’s how Big Food lures Millennials to YouTube

Advertising on YouTube goes straight to the target, hitting every head of the target audience at any time, almost always outside of parental control. Sorbing advertisements, watching videos. Serial repetition of brand names symbolizing foods high in fat and saturated fat, sugar and salt. As well as, it is understood, of video games whose tutorials are themselves peppered with junk-food promotion.

The most devious and obscene social marketing is that which creeps into the meanderings of video productions to place iconic brands within so-called challenges. Youtubers use Coke, Nutella, Mentos, Nesquik, Oreos to carry out pranks, contests, experiments. It may be a coincidence-or maybe not-but in the most ‘clicked’ sketches certain products recur and not others. And their use is often unfortunate, as food is treated as play material, in the name of the waste that everyone claims to want to combat. (1) When we don’t ‘just’ show their reckless consumption. (2)

Big Food
distracts adults, to the EU Platform for Diet, Physical Activity and Health, with solemn lip service. And at the same time it bamboozles children and adolescents by bombarding them with messages about HFSS(High Fats Sugars and Sodium) products. No wonder, then, that childhood obesity is growing at the rate of social networks.

The European Parliament is considering excluding HFSS food advertising from video platform content aimed at children. But drastic measures are needed to prevent the viability of noncommunicable diseases that result from unbalanced diets. (3)

Dario Dongo


(1) Links are provided to some videos that well express the phenomenon:

(2) Other exemplary performances:

(3) Among the so-called NCDs(Non Communicable Diseases), type 2 diabetes set a planetary record of 5 million premature deaths in 2015 (source IDF Diabetes Alliance)