Children’s online junk food ads banned

Published on: 8th December 2016

As a result of the TV advertising ban, all junk food adverts that use children’s mascots will be strictly forbidden.

tony-the-tiger-480Online ads for food and drinks high in fat, salt or sugar aimed at children are to be banned under new rules from advertisers.

The Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) said its restrictions would also apply to all other media, where under-16s made up a quarter of the audience. Existing controls on TV adverts for foods high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) are to be extended to cover websites, games, apps, social media and magazines.

The rules are an attempt to help tackle obesity, when children are spending more time online than ever before.

Manufacturers will no longer be allowed to use characters from films, cartoon mascots and stars of sport and music to advertise unhealthy products. Companies cannot be stopped from using popular characters on packs and boxes, but they will be banned from using these images in advertising and marketing. However, such mascots can be used to promote healthy food alternatives.

McDonald’s will be barred from using the Ronald McDonald clown to sell burgers, and website promotions for the chain’s Happy Meals featuring children’s characters will also be outlawed.

The rules, which cover products including sugary drinks, burgers, cereal and sweets, will also stop the adverts on posters near schools.

The Advertising Standards Authority, which regulates all media in the UK, has said it will administer the new rules, which will come into effect on 1st July 2017.


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