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Recent studies have shown that young people are now spending more and more of their time online, rather than watching TV. While the desire for internet access has more than surpassed the need to look for the remote, the shift in platform preferences needed to be addressed from a regulatory point of view.
While existing BCAP codes governed how HFSS products were advertised on TV, they did not translate to the digital environment.
All that is to change however, as on 01 July, the CAP Code on advertising food and soft drinks to children will be brought into line with existing rules on TV advertising. This now means that ads that ‘directly or indirectly promote an HFSS product cannot appear in children’s media’, be it print, cinema, or digital – and that includes social media and advergames.
As on TV, advertisements for HFSS products can no longer appear on children's media and cannot rely on licensed characters or celebrities popular with children to promote them, regardless of the platform used.
While generally welcomed by the industry, the ‘tough’ new rules do present a challenge for advertisers and as the Code comes into effect, here are some useful tools to help ensure you comply:
As the advertisers’ representative on CAP, ISBA had significant input into the direction of the new rules, taking the concerns and needs of our members into account.
We fully support the new rules, designed as a means to protect children and ensure that 'advertising regulation plays its part in tackling the public health challenges related to poor childhood diet and responds effectively to fundamental changes in the way children consumer media.' We will continue to ensure the needs and concerns of our members are met in all future developments.
Key elements of the code for advertisers: