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Eight teenagers were recently invited to a restaurant in the United Kingdom as part of a filmed social experiment. After sitting down, each of them was handed a menu with more than 50 different items to choose from and a sealed envelope. Then they were asked to order one item off the menu.

The teens all picked the same thing: the “triple dipped chicken.” After receiving their meals, they opened their sealed envelopes, and each pulled out a piece of paper. They were in shock: The words triple dipped chicken were written on it. The producers of the film had predicted exactly what each teen was going to order.

How? By utilizing the same techniques that junk food companies use to market their products to young people. Little did the teens know that leading up to their visits, the producers had bombarded them with advertisements for the fried chicken dish—on billboards, in taxicabs, and in Instagram posts made by influencers. Even though the teens said they didn’t notice the ads, it was clear that the marketing had influenced their decision-making.

Youth Voices is an open publishing platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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