The new rules from the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) will prevent the advertising of HFSS food and soft drinks in media that is aimed at or likely to be popular with children under 16’s. CAP have also amended their existing content rules – these prohibit the use of promotions and licensed characters or celebrities in ads targeted through their content at under-12s – to allow non-HFSS advertising more freedom. The changes bring the CAP Code into line with the rules that have governed TV advertising since 2007 and should go some way to helping curb the £6 billion cost of obesity to the NHS each year.
In a nutshell, the rules are;
CAP’s Chairman James Best stated “These restrictions will significantly reduce the number of ads for (HFSS) products seen by children. Our tough new rules are a clear demonstration that the ad industry is willing and ready to act on its responsibilities and puts the protection of children at the heart of its work.”
And under the watchful eye of the Advertising Standards Authority, these rules mean there is no need for the kind of strict government legislation proposed by Labour in their pre-election manifesto. The UK media industry thrives simply because of its ability to self-regulate and follow the spirit and the letter of the Codes created by CAP. Government intervention is a threat to creativity and means a process slowed down by bureaucracy and more and more laws to contend with.