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CAP Code: Public Consultation Launched

Thursday May 12, 2016 at 12:11pm
CAP: Launching public consultation today

CAP have today published a public consultation to make key changes to the CAP Code following investigation into childhood obesity and societal issues. The IPM, as part of the CAP Committee, has been working closely on these proposals with CAP.

Here, we explain more about what is happening and why these changes are important to our Members.  

Available evidence shows that advertising has a modest effect on children’s food preferences, but other factors like parental influence, opportunities for physical exercise, education etc play greater roles in the causes of and solutions to childhood obesity*. However, CAP believes even a relatively small positive impact from new advertising restrictions could make a meaningful contribution to tackling this important health issue. 

CAP's proposals aim to 

  • Introduce a new rule to the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Direct and Promotional Marketing (the CAP Code) to limit where advertising for food and soft drink products high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS products) can be placed in all non-broadcast media, including traditional and online media
  • Explore through consultation whether the new rule should prohibit HFSS product advertising in media targeted at or of particular appeal to children under 12 or under 16
  • Apply the existing rules prohibiting the use of promotions and licensed characters and celebrities popular with children to HFSS product advertising only, allowing more creative ways for healthier foods to be advertised to children

The full consultation can be read here.

The IPM's Managing Director, Carey Trevill comments 'The IPM welcomes the suggested amendments to the CAP Code, in particular the additional clarity provided in the proposed revisions around HFSS (High Fat Salt and Sugar) foods and young audiences.

This is a sensitive but important issue, and the suggested changes to the Code represents a recognition that the advertising and marketing industries can be part of the solution when it comes to getting the message out and addressing the country’s concerns around childhood, and adult, obesity.  

We also welcome the revision to the code in amending language from sales promotion to promotional marketing. This dynamic industry has long been conducting campaigns with activations well beyond sales promotion outputs, and it is wonderful for this variety of work to be recognised in the Code.'

Chairman of CAP, James Best said: “Too many children in the UK are growing up overweight or even obese, potentially damaging their health in later life and imposing a high cost on society. Advertising is just one small factor in a very complex equation but we believe we can play a positive part in addressing an urgent societal challenge. In proposing new rules, our aim is to strike the right balance between protecting children and enabling businesses to continue advertising their products responsibly.”

The consultation closes at 5pm on 22 July 2016. 

The IPM will be holding a webinar in the coming weeks to examine the changes and what these mean in practical terms for brands and agencies. Please see our events page to register your interest for this webinar. Joining us for the webinar will be a representative from CAP to answer your questions.  

For further comment, advice or just to unravel what this means for your brands, please contact the IPM on contact@theipm.org.uk or call us 020 7291 7730.

The impact of obesity in childhood is widely understood to be significant in both the short and longer terms. Public Health England considers that “obese children are more likely to be ill, be absent from school due to illness, experience health-related limitations and require more medical care than normal weight children. Overweight and obese children are also more likely to become obese adults and have a higher risk of morbidity, disability and premature mortality in adulthood”. *

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