ASA Upholds Complaints Against Ads Targeting Children
The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld the Obesity Health Alliance’s complaints against advertisements for Kellogg Coco Pops Granola and a KFC milkshake. The organization asserted that both companies targeted ads for a product high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) to an audience under 16.
The ad for Kellogg’s Coco Pops Granola ran during a children’s television show. Kellogg asserted that its granola is not an HFSS product, which ASA confirmed. “However, Coco Pops was a well-established brand, and Coco the Monkey, who was used to advertise all the products in the range, was also well-established as an equity brand character,” ASA held. “We considered that many adults and children were likely to very strongly associate the Coco Pops brand and Coco the Monkey primarily with Coco Pops original cereal. At the time the ad was seen by the complainant Coco Pops original cereal was an HFSS product and the Coco Pops range was a mainly HFSS product range. We considered it was therefore incumbent on Kellogg’s to take careful steps to ensure that, if ads for non-HFSS products in the range were directed at children, they did not have the effect of promoting Coco Pops original cereal or other HFSS products in the range through the use of branding.” Accordingly, ASA forbade Kellogg from scheduling the ad to run during programs “principally directed at or likely to appeal particularly to audiences below the age of 16.”
KFC placed a poster ad for its milkshake near a primary school, ASA found, in violation of the Committees of Advertising Practice Code. KFC “confirmed the advertised product was an HFSS product and said that the ad was mistakenly placed within 100 metres of the school. They apologised for the error and explained that their media agency mistakenly, due to human error, selected the phone kiosk as a site for the ad.” The poster was removed from its location.