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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has published the results of a compliance sweep which used new “Avatar” monitoring technology to identify ads for food and soft drink products high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) which appeared on children’s websites and YouTube channels.
The monitoring exercise did not identify any clear evidence of HFSS advertisers actively targeting child Avatars, or serving ads which were directed, through their content, at children under 12 through use of celebrities or licenced characters popular with children or promotions.
ISBA's Director of Public Policy, James Barge commented on the report;
“At a time when the advertising of food high in fat, sugar and salt is high on the political agenda it is important to note that the Advertising Standards Authority research did not find evidence of brands seeking to target children or the misuse of celebrities or licensed characters. It found that advertisers were acting in compliance with the rules, but did highlight issues with some online platforms where advertising had appeared. We support the ASA in seeking to strengthen their regulation of online advertising and would urge them to further understand the measures and exclusions responsible advertisers have in place and work with them to understand how they are being applied.”