AANA responds to OPC claims that new ad code ‘does not protect children from marketing unhealthy foods’

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The Obesity Policy Coalition warned last week that the new ad industry code was failing to protect children from the marketing of unhealthy foods after an Oreo cookie ad aired during the Lego Finals. Masters has proven not to target children despite appearing on one of Australia’s most popular general entertainment children’s shows.

In response to this claim, the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) today issued a response supporting the effectiveness of the new food and drink advertising code.

The union said, “AANA is confident that its new Food and Beverage Advertising Code is consistent with community expectations and provides strong regulation regarding occasional food advertising to children,” while also citing the new code was developed following extensive cross-community consultation.

AANA CEO Julie Flynn said, “The Food and Beverage Code is progressive and strikes a balance between addressing community concerns and the right of advertisers to advertise in a responsible “.

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Meanwhile, the AANA said the new code establishes independent, common nutrient criteria for determining what is a healthy food or drink. It provides positive incentives to advertise healthy foods at all times and is a big step forward in ensuring the regulation of casual eating is appropriate.

Additionally, the union said that under the new Code, children’s audiences can now only make up 25% of the audience; reduced by 35% previously. The complaint against the Oreo ad was dismissed because it complies with the new Code, with a child audience well below the threshold.

The AANA Food and Beverage Code states that advertising of casual food and beverage products must not be targeted to children under 15, with criteria/issues that must be met. This standard determines whether an advertisement targets children when the expected average audience will be at least 25% children and the program has a significant appeal for them.

Last week, the OPC argued that the Oreo cookie ad targeted children in three ways: the advertised product, Oreo, was significantly appealing to children; the ad is designed to primarily attract
children; and it was screened during the Lego Masters Finals when children would constitute a significant proportion of the audience, depending on the nature of the program and the high number of children watching.

The Committee agreed that Oreo cookies had a strong appeal to children, but considered that the theme was aimed more at adults than children by reminding them to “stay cheerful”. The committee felt that this message, combined with non-childish visual and musical elements, was unlikely to be primarily appealing to children under 15. He also determined that the ad did not meet the audience threshold of 25% children under the age of 15. He determined that the ad did not violate the code and dismissed the complaint.

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