LONDON: UK communications regulator Ofcom yesterday stated its intention to hold firm on the proposed TV ban on child-targeted food and beverage advertising. To the surprise of some onlookers, the watchdog has not wavered in the face of intensive lobbying and threats of legal action.

Speaking Tuesday to trade magazine Media Week Ofcom ceo Ed Richards was resolute: "We are perfectly prepared to end up in court. We've got our positions clear - that's why we have taken our time over it. We have taken advice and think we've got a robust position."

In its Final Statement published Thursday, the regulator announced: "After a detailed analysis of the evidence, including a full impact assessment, Ofcom has concluded it is appropriate and necessary to adopt restrictions intended to reduce significantly the exposure of children under 16 to HFSS (foods high in fats, salt and sugar) advertising.

The new scheduling restrictions will be introduced in two stages:

  • As of 1 April 2007, HFSS advertisements will not be permitted in or around programmes made for children (including pre-school children), or in or around programmes that are likely to be of particular appeal to children aged 4-9.

  • As of 1 January 2008, HFSS advertisements will not be permitted in or around programmes made for children (including pre-school children), or in or around programmes that are likely to be of particular appeal to children aged 4-15.
As to advertising content, the revised rules take immediate effect for new campaigns.
  • Existing advertising campaigns or those in the final stages of creative execution can be broadcast until the end of June 2007.

  • But from 1 July 2007 all advertising campaigns must comply with the new content rules.
To download Ofcom's Final Statement on Television Advertising of Food and Drink Products to Children click here.

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