Leading consumer goods giant Unilever, has come up with new principles on marketing and advertising its foods and beverages to children. The company will not direct any marketing communications to children aged under 12 not direct any marketing or point of sale communications to children under 6 years of age. The multinational company will stop marketing, advertising its foods and beverages and the new rules will apply by the end of 2020, beginning with its Wall’s ice cream brands.
Parents and health experts have shown concerns from time to time about children catching lifestyle-related diseases due to food habits. From ice creams to fast food items, advertisements have a deep impact on a child’s psychology when it comes to food. The WHO has also named childhood obesity as one of the most serious public health issues.
The company has come up with what it has termed as principles, where for television and other measurable media, no marketing communications will be done where children aged under 12 represent over 25% of the audience. For digital platforms, this includes no marketing communications directed to children under the age of 13 and it will consider the target demographics based on the media plan in line with digital platform policies.
“Television and radio advertising, digital activity (including both company-owned and thirdparty websites and platforms), all forms of social media and digital advertising, apps, online games and direct marketing; PR materials, and all other forms of communication (e.g. cartoon characters, product placements, advergaming, free gifts/toys, etc.). We will refer to these marketing activities and communications collectively as ‘Marketing Communications’. This term will also include new marketing techniques or channels that may be developed in the future,” the company said in a statement.
The company will also not advertise in or sponsor films where the intended audience is primarily children aged under 12 and not show children aged under 12 in our marketing communications unless it is in relation to products meeting Unilever’s ‘Highest Nutritional Standards’ (HNS) or if it is relevant to the marketing message (e.g. a family situation or activity).
It will not use (licensed) cartoon characters or brand-equity characters primarily appealing to children aged under 12 in the communications related to marketing.
The company has also promised not to use influencers (i.e. third-party endorses such as celebrities, disruptors, social media stars, subject matter experts and editors/journalists etc.) who are under the age of 12.
Sales promotions will be presented in such a way that children and parents are made aware before making a purchase of any conditions likely to affect their decision to purchase and the company will not promote its brands or products in primary or secondary schools. However, this does not include cabinets, displays, charitable fundraising activities, public service messaging, or communications directed to school administrators.
The company has committed that all products made for kids it will have stringent standards. For instance, in the range of ice cream, it will cap the total sugar level to 12 grams or less per portion.