Junk Food Adverts Banned On Children’s Sites

Adverts from the likes of McDonald’s, Marks & Spencer, KFC, Kellogg’s, KP Snacks and more have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)

Adverts from the likes of McDonald’s, Marks & Spencer, KFC, Kellogg’s, KP Snacks and more have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after they were discovered on children’s websites and YouTube channels. 

The adverts, which were found to be promoting junk food were discovered by the ASA over a two week period in the run up to christmas 2018, by using child avatars to detect adverts for food and drinks high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS).

Of the 41,030 adverts distributed to child avatars across various youth and general interest websites, in addition to YouTube channels, 2.3% of these were directly for HFSS products.

Following this, the brands in question have been asked by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) to take urgent steps to ensure the adverts are not promoted on these platforms any longer. 

As well as, provide information on their systems and processes in order to make sure their adverts are not placed inappropriately in the future.

ASA chief executive Guy Parker said: “The problematic ads we found were relatively few in number, compared to the total served, but we’ll take action in respect of any ad for high fat, salt or sugar food and soft drinks which is found to be directed inappropriately at children.

This follows the announcement in March 2019 by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and their plans to crackdown on junk food TV ads being advertised online and on TV before 9pm. As part of the government’s plans to fight the epidemic of childhood obesity.

TV chef Jamie Oliver said: “If we don’t find effective ways to improve our kids’ health, UK children will live shorter lives than their parents. It’s a fact that kids are hugely influenced by junk food ads – so the media and the food industry has a real opportunity here to do something about it.”