Advertising to Canuck kids improving

Food and beverage companies including Campbell, General Mills, Kellogg, Kraft, McDonald's, Nestlé, Parmalat, Weston, Cadbury Adams, Coca-Cola, Hershey, PepsiCo and Unilever are concerned about children's health.

Today, the Advertising Standards of Canada (ASC) released details about commitments by leading Canadian food and beverage companies designed to ‘shift the landscape of advertising to children under 12.’

Designed to help improve kids’ health, the Canadian Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (Children’s Advertising Initiative), first announced in April 2007, represents the pledge of 16 top marketers to voluntarily alter the messaging they direct at youngsters.

Campbell Canada, General Mills Canada, Kellogg Canada, Kraft Canada, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada, Nestlé Canada, Parmalat Canada and Weston Bakeries are committing to direct 100 per cent of their children’s advertising to healthier dietary choices (in accordance with standards that are consistent with scientific and/or government nutrition standards). And Cadbury Adams Canada, Coca-Cola Canada, Hershey Canada, Janes Family Foods, Mars Canada, McCain Foods Canada, PepsiCo Canada and Unilever Canada are pledging to not direct advertising to children under 12.

‘The Children’s Advertising Initiative strengthens Canada’s already rigorous framework for regulating children’s advertising,’ says ASC president/CEO Linda J. Nagel. ‘The system includes pre-clearance of all children’s commercials, a strict code of advertising standards and a robust consumer complaint mechanism. The participants are committed to the principles of accountability and transparency. As the Children’s Advertising Initiative administrator, ASC will audit their compliance and publish annual reports on the results.’

Participating companies have also committed to:

• Incorporate only products that meet the Children’s Advertising Initiative criteria for healthier dietary choices in interactive games primarily directed to children under 12;

• Restrict the use of third-party-licensed characters in children’s advertising to products that meet the Children’s Advertising Initiative criteria for healthier dietary choices;

• Not pay for or seek to place food and beverage products in program/editorial content of any medium primarily directed to children; and

• Not advertise food or beverage products in elementary schools.

Since the launch last April, 11 companies have already implemented their commitments, and the remaining marketers will have done so by the end of 2008.

Under the terms of the Children’s Advertising Initiative, ASC, the national advertising self-regulatory body, will publish the participant commitments, audit compliance and issue annual compliance reports to the public.

More information can be found at