UK Agencies Recognise Need to Extend Junk Food Ad Curbs

12 April 2007

LONDON: The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising - the body representing British advertising, media and marketing communications agencies - has acknowledged the need to extend the ban on advertising food and soft drink products to children from TV to online, press and outdoor media.

Proposals by the industry's voluntary watchdog CAP (Committee of Advertising Practice), will be unveiled today, Thursday.

Says IPA legal director Marina Palomba: " The IPA recognises there is a perceived need to restrict the advertising of foods and soft drinks to help prevent obesity in children, and that restrictions cannot be limited to broadcast advertising alone.

"The new CAP rules for non-broadcast advertising ensure that similar restrictions already introduced for broadcast advertising are applied across other media.

"The rules go further than those for television commercials and television programme sponsorship, and apply to all food and drink products except for fresh fruit and vegetables."

The new CAP guidelines require that ads for food and soft drink products shall not:

  • Condone or encourage poor nutritional habits or an unhealthy lifestyle in children

  • Encourage excessive consumption of food or drink products

  • Use promotional offers in an irresponsible way

  • Use 'high pressure' or 'hard sell' techniques

  • Use licensed characters or celebrities popular with children if targeted directly at pre-school or primary school children

  • Give a misleading impression of the nutritional health benefits of the product.
In addition, the new CAP rules provide for fresh fruit or fresh vegetables to be advertised via techniques restricted for other food or drink products.

Comments Palumba: "As such the rules ought to be welcomed by those critical of advertising as the alleged, albeit unsubstantiated, cause of obesity."

Data sourced from IPA Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff