ASA Denies Doritos Ad Complaint
The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has declined to uphold a complaint arguing that Walkers Snacks targeted children under 16 with a product high in fat, salt or sugar by showing an advertisement for Doritos before YouTube videos. The complaint asserted that the “media or context” of the ad targeted children under 16, but ASA found that Walkers had taken “a range of steps to ensure that the ad was not targeted to children under the age of 16, using both age restrictions and interest based factors.” Walkers applied YouTube age-targeting restrictions by not approving the ad for families and instructing YouTube to show the ad to users logged into accounts with a self-reported age of 18 or older.
“We understood from the complainant that the ad had been seen by an 8-year-old child who was not signed into YouTube, using a device used by both adults and children,” ASA held. “We acknowledged that the actions taken by Walkers Snacks had not prevented that child from being served the ad. However, we considered on balance that, because YouTube was a medium primarily used by those aged 18 and over and Walkers Snacks had targeted the ad at users with a self-reported or inferred age of 18 and over, and they had used additional factors including significant interest-based targeting to further exclude under-16s from the target audience, Walkers Snacks had taken reasonable steps to appropriately target the ad.”