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Children who watch more commercial television also eat and drink more unhealthy foods. A study of 417 ten to 16 year old Australian children has found that those who watched the least commercial TV had a lower unhealthy food score than those who watched the most TV. The effect on an unhealthy diet of watching ads increased with number of hours watched. The study took into account those who skipped through ads and that was not associated with a poor diet.

The authors have called for improved policy intervention to curb children’s exposure to unhealthy food ads.

Kelly B, Freeman B, King L, et al. Television advertising, not viewing, is associated with negative dietary patterns in children. Pediatric Obesity 2015 Sep 1; In Press


The Fanta® crew

The Fanta® crew

A TV ad for Fanta soft drink featuring cartoon characters on an “awesome ride” is marketing to children according to the Advertising Standards Board (ASB). And that’s a breach of the Responsible Children’s Marketing Initiative (RCMI) because soft drinks are unhealthy choices. Coca Cola has signed the RCMI to say they will not advertise to children.

In response to a complaint from the Obesity Policy Coalition, the ASB found that the ad was clearly directed primarily to children because it showed cartoon characters riding on a roller coaster and jumping into a pool filled with bubbles; clearly activities that children enjoy. Although Coca Cola said that the ad was aimed at 15-17 year olds, the ASB said that the visual representation was more likely to appeal to younger children who aspire to be teenagers.

Coca Cola was found to breach the RCMI a second time with their Fanta “Fruit Slam 2” app because the ASB considered its simple themes targeted children. The ASB found that the theme of the app, collecting points, getting high scores and trying to be better than their friends was very simple and would be appealing to young children.

Coca Cola has withdrawn the ad and the app. However, the ASB dismissed a complaint about the Fanta website that features the same Fanta crew as it was determined not an ad aimed at children because it was considered an information site and not appealing to children.

Advertising Standards Board Case reports 0204/15, 0205/15, 0206/15.