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Advertising To Children

Published on 27 August 2013

Discover the World Of Judaica

by Committee of Advertising Practice


London, England

Committee of Advertising Practice
Committee of Advertising Practice

Toys and games have always played a part in occupying children over the long summer break and, with the new term just around the corner, new products are flooding the market to see them through the coming year. With so many ads featuring products likely to appeal to under 16’s, here’s our advice on how to ensure your ads get an A* from the ASA. 

The Code does not prohibit targeting advertising at children but it does expect that advertisers consider their audience carefully. Broadly, the Code states that marketing communications addressed to or targeting children must not exploit their credulity, loyalty, vulnerability or lack of experience. While it is acceptable for ads to present products in a favourable light that may appeal to children, they should not go so far as to suggest that a child might be unpopular as a result of, or lacking in courage or loyalty for, not owning or buying the featured product. (Weetabix Ltd, 13 February 2013). 

Similarly, advertisers have been caught out for presenting games and toys in ways that confuse younger children between the reality of the product’s abilities and imaginative play. Advertisers should remember that children aren’t always able to distinguish between real-life situations and fantasy and must avoid causing confusion. In addition, ads targeted at or addressed to children mustn’t encourage them to make a nuisance of themselves or encourage a direct exhortation to purchase. (Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc, 26 October 2011). 

Finally, advertisers should ensure that there is nothing within an ad that is addressed to, targeted at or features a child that could result in a child’s physical, mental or moral harm. Ads must be prepared responsibly and will fall foul of the Code if they encourage children to enter strange places or talk to strangers. (Mate1.com Inc, 17 April 2013). Equally, advertisers should steer away from depicting children in dangerous situations unless the purpose of the ad is to promote child safety. (The Win Green Trading Company Ltd, 20 July 2011). 

The Copy Advice team have plenty of guidance on advertising and children in topics including; credulityalcoholsafety and betting and gaming to name just a few. Copy Advice would remind advertisers to consult the Food Rules when preparing food ads that may appeal to children, as specific rules apply. 

If you require bespoke advice on your non-broadcast promotions, contact the CAP Copy Advice team on 020 7492 2100 or submit your enquiry via our website.


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Posted 2013-08-27 10:08:00