US Regulators Rap Kids' Food Advertisers

17 March 2005

The US advertising industry's children's watchdog is to put more pressure on food manufacturers and marketers.

As concerns increase over rising obesity levels among youngsters, the Children's Advertising Review Unit has released details of its investigations into fast food giant Burger King and confectionery titan Wrigley.

CARU found both companies failed to meet it guidelines.

Burger King was cited for advertising its kids meals without "aggressively" promoting healthier alternative foods. A BK spokeswoman says the company has already made changes in its advertising.

Wrigley was rapped for a chewing gum print ad in a Disney magazine which directed children to a website promising music or a movie. But when it was clicked, the web ad delivered a commercial message featuring a medical dummy being killed by teenager.

CARU says the ad was potentially disturbing to children and was misleading. A contrite Wrigley spokesman says the company is reevaluating its advertising of the product.

The Federal Trade Commission, meantime, has announced a summer industry workshop on the issue of food advertising and industry self-regulation.

And in bid to add muscle to the FTC's regulatory powers, Democrat senator Tom Harkin plans to formally reintroduce his measure giving the commission authority to order and enforce limits on food advertising aimed at children.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff