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Self-regulation has failed to reduce children's exposure to unhealthy food advertising, and comprehensive legislation to restrict the range of marketing techniques used by companies to target children is needed.
Australia’s independent advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Board (ASB) has found Unilever in breach of the Responsible Children’s Marketing Initiative (RCMI) after a complaint by the Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) was upheld.
A Fanta television advertisement and mobile phone app have been pulled after the Advertising Standards Board found they broke the rules by directly marketing an unhealthy drink to children.
The food industry’s voluntary advertising codes fail to protect children from exposure to unhealthy food advertising. The codes do not apply to the highest rating children’s programs, do not cover all forms of promotion, do not apply to all food advertisers, and contain unclear and inadequate nutrition criteria. Compliance with the codes is not monitored, there are no sanctions for breaches, and provisions of the codes are narrowly interpreted by the Advertising Standards Board. Legislation is needed to protect children from the detrimental effects of unhealthy food advertising.
A complaint made by the Obesity Policy Coalition about a Kellogg's TV commercial directed to children has been upheld by the Advertising Standards Board this week and the ad has been removed from viewing.
The OPC complained that a Hog's Breath TV ad breached the Australian Association of National Advertisers' (AANA) Food Code as its content and placement during children's programs was contrary to prevailing community standards on unhealthy food advertising to children, and undermined the importance of healthy diets.
The advertisement featured a young girl and fun imagery and was broadcast during children's programs, including Totally Wild and Saturday Disney. The OPC asked the ASB and AANA to encourage Hog's Breath to become a signatory to the Quick Service Restaurant Initiative for Responsible Advertising and Marketing to Children and to cease advertising to children.
The OPC complained that a Hog's Breath website, www.hogsbreath.com.au breached the Australian Association of National Advertisers' (AANA) Food Code as it is contrary to prevailing community standards on advertising unhealthy food to children, and undermines the importance of healthy diets.
The website features an animated hog that promotes unhealthy foods, including burgers, fries and soft drinks to children. It also features children's games and images to download and colour in.
For the second time in two weeks Kellogg's has been forced to withdraw two TV advertisements after a complaint from the Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) was upheld by the Advertising Standards Board (ASB).
For the second time in just a few months McDonald's has been found to be in breach of its commitment to refrain from marketing products to children that are not healthy choices after another complaint was upheld by the Advertising Standards Board.
The OPC complained that the Nestle Milky Bar Kid competition website, at www.milkybar.com.au, breached the Australian Association of National Advertisers' (AANA) Food Code as it was contrary to prevailing community standards and undermined the importance of healthy diets. Recognising that the Responsible Children's Marketing Initiative (RCMI) does not apply to company owned websites, the OPC nevertheless asked the ASB to encourage Nestle to cease promoting Milky Bars directly to children and to withdraw the website.
The website promoted the search for the new "Milky Bar Kid" competition. If featured young contenders and encouraged children to vote for their favourites. It also featured fun activities for children and promoted milky bars.