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24 June 2021
Junk food ad ban lands end of next year
Advertising regulationFood industry (general)Savoury snacks, potato chips
The UK Government has confirmed that it intends to introduce restrictions on the advertising of food and drink products high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) by the end of next year.
A 9pm TV watershed for HFSS products and a restriction of paid-for HFSS advertising online will be introduced at the end of 2022.
All on-demand programme services (ODPS) regulated by Ofcom will be included in the TV watershed for HFSS advertising.
Non-UK regulated ODPS will be included in the restriction of paid-for HFSS advertising online because they are outside UK jurisdiction.
The scope of products covered has been reduced to those categories that are of most concern to childhood obesity.
The restrictions do not apply to owned media. SMEs are also exempt.
IPG Mediabrands estimates that 5% of spending, or some £200m could be lost to TV as a result of the ban. “Post-9pm campaigns would see their viable weights halved, and reach efficiency reduced by 10%,” says Keith Welling, Managing Partner at UM London.
The industry response
Industry spokespeople reiterated their previously stated arguments that a ban on ads will have no effect on childhood obesity – on the Government’s own figures – and is merely a headline-grabbing exercise.
“A TV watershed restriction will not target children and an online ban ignores more effective measures that would see technology being harnessed to reduce children’s exposure to certain types of ads without damaging businesses” – Richard Lindsay, Legal & Public Affairs Director, IPA.
“Many food & drink companies won’t be able to advertise new product innovations and reformulations and larger food-on-the-go, pub and restaurant chains may not be able to tell their customers about their menus” – Sue Eustace, Public Affairs Director, Advertising Association.
“The Government is pressing ahead with a bad policy that creates an unequal media landscape and, in reality, will do little to improve the critical issue of childhood obesity,” – Jon Mew, CEO, IAB UK.
Sourced from HM Government, IPA, Advertising Association, IAB UK