NEWS15 February 2010

Youth researcher Dubit hits back at press criticism

Trends UK Youth

UK— Youth research and marketing agency Dubit has gone on the offensive after several newspaper reports over the weekend accused the firm of paying children to “plug junk food”.

Articles in the Sunday Times, the Daily Mail and The Sun alleged that the firm was enlisting children over the age of seven to promote brands including Dr Pepper, Cheesestrings, Barbie and Sprite on social networking sites.

Speaking in the Sunday Times, Frank Furedi, professor of sociology at Kent University said: ”It’s a tragedy. What should be an area where kids just hang out with each other and message each other now becomes an extension of the shopping mall.”

A 12-year old girl in the same article said she was going to receive £25 in gift vouchers per week “just to say stuff online about sweets and games”.

The firm has hit back with a statement on its website branding the article “extremely misleading” and addressed some of the issues raised.

Firstly, Dubit said it does not “promote, endorse or agree to work with the promotion of junk food to anyone under the age of 16” in accordance with the regulations and guidelines that prohibit this.

The agency said that only children over the age of 16 worked on the Dr Pepper project while the work for Cheesestrings was carried out by mothers who were part of its Family Panel. Dubit added that the Barbie project was carried out four years ago and involved mothers and daughters working together to receive an MP3 player.

Dubit’s statement went on to say: “We do not pay people aged 12 to ‘say stuff online about sweets’, but we will send as much cool stuff out to our Insiders [panel members] as brands will allow – as long as these are suitable and do not contravene any regulations, guidelines or good old fashioned common sense.”

The firm also dismissed allegations in the press that some of its Insiders were involved in “sometimes promoting things they may not even like”.

“We only involve Insiders in campaigns where they have previously stated they like a particular brand, product or service,” Dubit said.



15 years ago

i have done numourous serveys as well as team for dubit and have never felt presured into doing anything i didnt want to. i was invloved with the Dr Pepper promotion and this was only avalible to people over the age of 16. and as to that comment that girl made its not just saying stuuf to earn £25 it gives you experience with people skills aswell as making you more aware of people and your finances

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15 years ago

Before taking part in a campaign we have to fill in a survey which tests our suitability for the campaign. If it's about a food item we get asked whether we like items like that- so there's no chance of us being pressured into doing anything. There's an ongoing campaign at the moment to promote a healthy eating magazine on facebook and bebo. I couldn't participate in the team the week that they wanted me due to exams, so they allowed me to start it when my exams were finished. I ask, where in this have I been exploited? I've got money to show for it, and goodness knows there's little enough of that floating around at the moment. And what for? A few hours spent on facebook promoting things, which I would've otherwise spent talking/playing games. The original articles are baloney.

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