Analysis: Self-regulation failing to curb advertising excesses

As Europe’s obesity crisis deepens, and numbers of overweight and obese children soar, many are questioning whether the EU’s favoured voluntary approach to advertising controls, based on industry self-regulation, is working.  Health campaigners and many MEPs argue that tough regulation is needed to stop industry marketing junk food to children.

Advertising, Restrictions & Rules, Policy, Health

Self-regulation of food advertising in the US “is working”

A new study by the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) says more cereals advertised to children are less sugary and more nutritious than ever before, showing industry policing is working.

Advertising, Children and Young People, Restrictions & Rules, Americas

EU to allow formula adverts in baby care publications

The EU could allow baby care publications to carry advertisements for infant formula in future under a draft delegated act that the Commission has sent to the Council and European Parliament for review.

Advertising, Children and Young People, Restrictions & Rules

Norway to change alcohol advertising rules from November

The Norwegian government is changing its alcohol advertising regulations so that moderate details about products are now acceptable. The beer and wine industry has welcomed the changes whilst health campaigners have said more advertising freedom will lead to more drinking and therefore and increase in health problems.

Advertising, Restrictions & Rules, Country Reports, Europe

The sister body of the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), is offering  to help better marketers’ knowledge and understanding of the alcohol rules, for a fee. The purpose of the training is to reduce the number of complaints about adverts and the number of forced withdrawal of adverts due to the flouting of rules.

The Commission is seeking comments on plans to revamp advertising and other rules under the 2010 audio-visual media services directive (AVMSD).

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has backed taxes, minimum unit prices and advertising restrictions on alcoholic beverages as effective ways of preventing alcohol abuse in a comprehensive new report.

The European Heart Network is calling on the Commission to revise the EU’s audiovisual media services directive to introduce a ban on the advertising and marketing of foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) to children based on the new World Health Organisation Europe nutrient profile model (see separate story).

The World Health Organisation’s Regional Office for Europe has released a nutrient profile model for use in restricting the marketing of foods high in fat, sugar and salt to children.

A discussion on a motion for a European Parliament resolution calling for an EU alcohol strategy last week showed MEPs to be divided on the key issues of labelling, advertising and the minimum unit pricing, with splits broadly along political group lines, and some opposing the call for a strategy itself.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has stepped up the pressure for a ban on the advertising of foods high in salt, fat and sugar before 9pm. The foundation is just one of a number of influential voices calling for a 9pm “watershed”. The UK Labour Party, currently in opposition, has also said it would introduce a junk food ban before 9pm if it gets elected in May. However, the ISBA, a body representing British advertisers is fighting the policy proposals.

LRF Dairy Sweden’s call for a temporary ban on Oatly's oat milk drink marketing due to its “dubious advertising claims” in Sweden has been turned down by the Swedish Market Court

A ban on the showing of junk food adverts before 9pm will not tackle the obesity problem, according to the ISBA, an association which represents British advertisers. The association was responding to leaked reports which claim the UK Labour Party, if it wins the next General Election on 7 May, will curb the advertising of food and drink high in salt, fat and sugar to protect children who watch family-orientated programmes into the evening.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has said its ruling on Mondelez and the company’s payment of video bloggers (vloggers) to promote Oreo biscuits serves as  “a timely reminder” about being honest in advertising.