This study investigated the use of persuasive advertising strategies in ultra-processed food (UPF) advertisements broadcast on the three most popular free-to-air television channels in Brazil.
The programming of the selected channels was recorded on eight non-consecutive days from April 2018 (6:00 am–12:00 am). Information from each advertising piece was collected through an electronic questionnaire based on the INFORMAS protocol. Food products were classified according to the NOVA classification system. Marketing strategies were investigated in UPF advertisements and stratified into three groups. Principal component analysis was used to identify patterns of strategies. Linear regression models were employed to investigate the association between the patterns and food groups.
In total, 90.77% of the food-related advertisements contained at least one UPF, and 96% of them included one or more persuasive advertising strategies. Five advertising patterns were identified and associated with the UPF food groups.
The results showed that food advertising on Brazilian free television is marked by UPF, with the predominant use of persuasive advertising strategies, demonstrating a lack of enforcement of the current regulatory legislation in the country.