Cadbury Freddo Adverts Banned for being Inappropriate

Following Ministers’ plans for child obesity reduction policies, there have been regulations of online and on-demand adverts for products that contain too much fat for children’s consumption. Adverts by Cadbury’s Freddo brand have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the UK advertising guardian, for violating the child obesity reduction policy. This follows complaints filed against the adverts by The Children’s Food Campaign. This comes after a massive marketing campaign for the Freddo chocolate bars.

The Complaints 

The complainants raised an alarm that the Freddo adverts promoted High in Fat, Salt and Sugar (HFFS) products with intents to direct them to children. According to ASA regulations, such ingredients must not be directed to children under the age of 16.

The promotions under scrutiny included a poster, placed within a 100-metre periphery of a primary school, two YouTube ads showing Freddo the Frog, and the company’s website. The downloadable comic book and audio version of the Missing Hop, a story of Freddo’s pursuit of the missing hop belonging to his friend Toad, were also contested against.

The ASA Regulations 

The ASA CAP Code stipulates that there should be no medium used to promote HFFS products if more than 25% of the audience comprises of children under the age of 16 and at no point should such products be directed to children. As mandated, ASA launched an investigation on the raised issues that touch on this subject.

Freddo Adverts Ban: The ASA Verdict 

On the poster, ASA felt that it was too close to a school and that there would be no doubt the children were the target audience. This was a breach of the CAP Code leading to the ban of the poster. Although the Cadbury’s website demanded that one must be over 16 years to subscribe, ASA ruled against the content of the website claiming that it was appealing to children in every manner, breaching the CAP Code. This included the comic book and audio among other promotional activities.

On the YouTube ads, ASA recognised that it would be impossible to know who the consumers of the content are since YouTube channels can be watched by anyone, whether registered or unregistered. They, therefore, could not judge the ads as particularly addressed to children.

Cadbury’s  Statement: 

Cadbury claim’s that the poster placed near a primary school was out of error by JCDecaux, the site owner, who later owns up the mistake. They also, in defence, stated that:

The downloadable comic book and audio were meant to be for parents with interests. The Mondelez Company, owners of Cadbury brand, argued that the YouTube ads were meant to create a ‘call to action’ to parents and that they had no appeal to children.
They, however, stated that they were already taking the views and insights recommended to them by ASA in refining their processes, with a commitment not to target directly children under the age of 16. To their advantage, the two YouTube videos and other promotional activities were not banned.

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