The OPC complained that the ad breached the Responsible Children's Marketing Initiative (RCMI) as it was directed primary to children and promoted a product that did not represent a healthier choice and did not promote good dietary habits or physical activity.
The advertisement showed two young children playing on a beach and discovering a treasure chest with a Paddle Pop Twirly Pop hovering inside. When one of the children tasted the Twirly Pop, an animated scene appeared, with the Paddle Pop lion and another animated character using the Twirly Pop as a weapon to fight another, presumably evil, character. The scene disappeared and the children held the Twirly Pops in the air triumphantly. During the second half of the advertisement the phrase ‘true heroes balance energy intake and activity enjoy Paddle Pop as a treat within a balanced diet’ was shown at the bottom of the screen. The ad was shown on YouTube and on subscription TV.
The ASB determined that the sound-track, sound effect, visuals (the inclusion of young children, the treasure chest, the animated fight), theme (of a battle between good and evil, and the eating of an icy-pole) would all be attractive to young children and therefore the ad was primarily directed to children under 12.
As to whether Twirly Pops could be considered a ‘healthier dietary choice’, the ASB took into account the opinion of an Independent Arbiter. The advertiser argued that Twirly Pops fell within Unilever’s Internal Nutritional Criteria as a healthier choice. However, the Independent Arbiter considered that Twirly Pops should be classified as ‘Red’ under the National Healthy Schools Canteens Guidelines. Accordingly, the ASB held that Twirly Pops did not meet the criteria for a healthier dietary choice and cannot be advertised to children.
Read the ASB’s decision on Paddle Pop Twirly Pops.