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HFSS advertising ban in children's media: What do you need to know?

Friday June 30, 2017 at 9:18am

Laura Kelly, the IPM's Regulatory Advisor, talks about the CAP Code changes that come into force on 1st July 2017. 

I'm taking the top blog spot today with my summary of what you need to know about the CAP Code changes that affect the way we promote HFSS (high fat, salt or sugar) products to children and families.

These changes are a result of industry-wide consultation and represent a significant shift in the way responsible promoters want to market their brands. Agencies need to understand the impacts on campaign planning and make sure they take into account the changes when considering campaigns around HFSS brands. 

Below I've summarised the key facts that you need to know now. There are of course many more questions you might need answers for, so get in touch with us over at the IPM and we can help.

On 1st July CAP’s new rules on advertising high fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) food and drinks to children come into force. We've pulled together the key points for promotional marketers; read on to find out how they might affect your campaigns.

  • Ads that directly or indirectly promote an HFSS product cannot appear in children’s (under 16s) media. This means media explicitly directed at children or strongly orientated towards them; for example, a children’s magazine or children’s game website.
  • Ads for HFSS products cannot appear in other media where children make up over 25% of the audience. If you’re not sure how to demonstrate audience share, or data isn’t available, read CAP’s guidance on media placement restrictions.
  • Additionally, if the content is likely to be seen as directly targeting under-12s, HFSS ads will not be allowed to use promotions, licensed characters anprod celebrities popular with children; however advertisers may now use those techniques to better promote healthier options. Previously these techniques were only permitted in ads for fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • You can identify whether your product is HFSS using the Department of Health nutrient profiling model.
  • Some brands are widely associated with specific HFSS products.  If you’re unsure as to whether your brand ad could be seen as indirectly promoting an HFSS product read the CAP guidance on brand advertising.
  • On pack or point of sale promotions are not covered by the new rules, but remember that any linked advertising or mechanism (e.g. posters and press, online entry forms) will be and plan campaigns accordingly.

You can find a link to our webinar with Andy Taylor from CAP where we discuss the changes in depth here.

Don't forget, if you have any questions and you're IPM members, you can contact myself and IPM LAS team for general advice on 020 3848 0447 or via legal@theipm.org.uk.


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