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After a public consultation, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) in the UK announced tough new rules banning advertising of high fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) food and drink in children’s media (under 16’s) or where children are >25% of the audience. These rules have been extended from television to all non-broadcast media including print, cinema, online and social media, in response to the research showing young people are now spending more time online than watching TV. Further to the rules, marketing techniques will now be able to be used to promote healthier options and government-defined standards will be used to classify HFSS. Despite this progress, there is still concern amongst public health campaigners that restrictions only apply when at least 25% of the audience are children, which means a significant number of children could still be exposed to junk food marketing and there are calls for a ban of HFSS advertising on television before the 9pm watershed. The new rules will come into effect on 1 July 2017.

Source: Committee of Advertising Practice UK


Paddle Pop YouTube ad upheld by Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB)

Repeat offender Unilever have been called out for their Paddle Pop ad promoted on You Tube. The ad features two primary school aged children discovering a treasure chest that is opened to reveal a Paddle Pop Twirly Pop inside. An exciting adventure follows with the Paddle Pop lion fighting off an evil character. The Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) submitted the complaint to the Advertising Standards Board (ABS) claiming the ad breaches the Responsible Children’s Marketing Initiative (RCMI) to which Unilever is a signatory. The OPC argue that through its themes and visuals this ad is directly promoted at and will appeal to young children, the product is not a healthier dietary choice as it is classified as a ‘red’ product according to the NSW Healthy School Canteen Strategy and it does not promote healthy dietary habits or physical activity.

In response to the complaint, Unilever contended that the Paddle Pop has wide appeal and is consumed by people of all ages. They argued that it is classified as a ‘milk-based ice confection’ therefore is regarded as an ‘amber’ canteen choice despite milk not being the first ingredient. Unilever claimed there are references (albeit tenuous) to physical activity and healthy dietary habits through being in an active beach setting, a physical battle between the animations, presence of fruit within the screenshot and display of the wordTrue heroes balance energy intake and activity’.

After reviewing the evidence, the ASB concluded that the ad did breach the RCMI and upheld the complaint. In response, Unilever accepted the decision and will not rebroadcast the advertisement.

ASB case number: 0512/16.