13 August 2018

Advertising whilst staying within the rules

Political pressure to encourage the health of the nation has seen us witness NHS marketing campaigns, smoking bans, lobbying to reduce our salt and sugar intake and more recently, focus on the food industry to reduce their drive to influence youngsters to eat ‘junk’ food.


Food giants KFC and Kellogg’s have been told to remove adverts which promoted junk food to children, by the UK’s advertising watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority.

The ASA found Kellogg’s promoted a Coco Pops product, during a Mr Bean cartoon, likely to have been seen by children. It also ruled KFC advertised a Mars product on a phone box by a school. The Authority said the companies broke strict rules on advertising high fat, sugar or salt products to children. Rules governing food advertising forbid promoting certain foods to children.


KFC said the appearance of the ad close to a school was a simple human error and it had taken the advert down promptly, once it had been alerted whilst Kellogg’s were disappointed with the decision as it had only meant to promote the healthier Coco Pops Granola product, rather than the original version.

Ensuring fair play

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is the self-regulatory organisation of the advertising industry in the United Kingdom.

Its role is to “regulate the content of advertisements, sales promotions and direct marketing in the UK” by investigating “complaints made about advertisements, sales promotions or direct marketing”, and deciding whether such advertising complies with its advertising standards codes.

The codes stipulate that “before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove all claims, whether direct or implied, that are capable of objective substantiation” and that “no marketing communication should mislead, or be likely to mislead, by inaccuracy, ambiguity, exaggeration, omission or otherwise”.

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) is the sister organisation of the ASA and is responsible for writing the Advertising Codes. It is the rule book for non-broadcast advertisements, sales promotions and direct marketing communications in the United Kingdom. The ASA and CAP are committed to regulating in a way that is transparent, proportionate, targeted, evidence-based, consistent and accountable.

Any questions or queries about your own advertising plans? Don’t miss the Nwes ‘Marketing workshops’ – an excellent way to get your marketing and advertising questions answered.

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