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Protecting kids from junk food advertising

Posted by Amy: July 2013

The Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) has notched up two wins in as many weeks against Kellogg's, with the advertiser being forced to withdraw TV commercials for two of its products.

The Advertising Standards Board (ASB) upheld two complaints made by the OPC, finding Kellogg's to be in breach of the Responsible Children's Marketing Initiative (RCMI) for an ad for Coco Pops and two ads for LCM Original Bars.

As a signatory to the RCMI code, Kellogg's undertakes not to advertise products to children under 12 years unless they represent healthy dietary choices.

The OPC, a partnership between Cancer Council Victoria, Diabetes Australia - Vic, and the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention at Deakin University, aims to influence change in policy and regulation to help prevent obesity in Australia, particularly in children.

The ASB found the two variants of Kellogg's LCM 'fun facts' advertisements, featuring animated dinosaurs, snails, children's voices and fantasy themes, and the Coco Pops ad featuring cartoon characters playing Marco Polo around a pool, were directed primarily to children and were therefore in breach of the code.

Kellogg's claims that the ads were targeting grocery buyers, not children, were not accepted by the Board.

According to Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the OPC, the findings are a significant win for children and parents alike.

"Kellogg's is becoming a ‘cereal' offender. Both Coco Pops and LCM Original Bars are very high in sugar, saturated fat and kilojoules. They definitely do not represent healthy or nutritious choices for children," said Ms Martin.

"We know the power and influence of advertisements using cartoon characters and fantasy on children, as do parents. These ads create pester power, something which undermines the efforts of parents and educators. This flagrant marketing to children is irresponsible at a time when children's diets are so poor, leading to increasing rates of overweight and obesity."

Find out more about the OPC at opc.org.au.

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