HomeInsightsCommittee of Advertising Practice publishes Q&A on new restrictions due to come into force on food and drink advertising in children’s media

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The new restrictions on high fat, salt or sugar advertising in non-broadcast media come into effect on 1 July 2017. The new placement restriction will require advertisers not to place HFSS ads in children’s media or media where they make up 25% of the audience.

CAP has published a short Q&A document to help advertisers adapt to the new rules.

CAP says that “Children’s media” is “usually easy to identify”. Children’s media are usually explicitly directed at children (a website of children’s games or a children’s interest magazine) or have content that is strongly orientated towards them. This is particularly the case for younger children.

However, the rules apply more broadly as they apply in media not explicitly directed at children but where children make up more than 25% of the audience.

As for the audience data to use, CAP says there is “no one method”. CAP advises that the ASA will expect advertisers to make a case that they have targeted their ad responsibly and stuck to the rules. There are a variety of industry-accepted measures from third party data providers, CAP says. However, media owners might have their own proprietary data. The ASA will assess data on its merits

Where audience data is not available, CAP says that the ASA will rely on other factors to assess whether media is directed at children:

  • the steps taken by advertisers to target or exclude specific audience groups from a particular advertising campaign using account or other data available; and
  • an assessment of the media content, including themes, imagery etc, and the context in which it appeared.

Ultimately, advertisers should always have regard to their responsibilities under the CAP Code, CAP says. “If you can’t be certain about the audience of a particular platform or media, it’s advisable to take a cautionary approach; seek more information on the audience or avoid placing HFSS advertising there”.

CAP has committed to producing new guidance on placement restrictions, which will be published this year. To read the CAP’s Q&A document in full, click here.