Marketing to Children
PromoVeritas stay up to date with all the latest rules and regulations to ensure we can offer the correct advice when it comes to your promotions. In this post we take a look at what you need to be aware of when marketing to children.
Marketing to Children – The Fundamentals
Staying the right side of the laws and rules for running promotions is important not only to avoid court cases, fines, corporate or brand embarrassment but also to boost consumer confidence and participation in your promotion. Concerns about childhood obesity, mental health and privacy have led to a complex set of laws and rules for marketers in order to best protect and safeguard children.
The Main Rules
Section 5 of the CAP Code covers marketing to children. CAP considers a child to be somone under the age of 16.
- “Marketing communications addressed to, targeted directly at or featuring children must contain nothing that is likely to result in their physical, mental or moral harm”.
- Children must not be shown in hazardous situations
- Children must not be encouraged to copy practices that might be unsafe
Credulity and unfair pressure
- “Marketing communications addressed to, targeted directly at or featuring children must not exploit their credulity, loyalty, vulnerability or lack of experience”.
- Children must not be made to feel inferior or unpopular for not buying the advertised product
- Children must not be made to feel that they are lacking in courage, duty, or loyalty if they do not buy or do not encourage others to buy a product
- Must not exploit children’s susceptibility to charitable appeals
Direct extortion and parental responsibility
- “Marketing communications addressed to or targeted directly at children must not include a direct exhortation to children to buy an advertised product or persuade their parents or other adults to buy an advertised product for them.”
- Marketing communications that contain a direct exhortation to buy a product via a direct-response mechanism must not be directly targeted at children.
- Must not actively encourage children to make a nuisance of themselves to parents or others and must not undermine parental authority.
- Promotions addressed to or targeted directly at children must make clear that adult permission is required if a prize or an incentive might cause conflict between a child’s desire and a parent/guardian’s authority
- Promotions that require a purchase to participate and include a direct exhortation to make a purchase must not be addressed to or targeted at children.
Food Marketing & Children
There are specific rules relating to the marketing of food to children and these are found under Section 15 of the CAP Code.
- “Marketing communications must not condone or encourage poor nutritional habits or an unhealthy lifestyle in children.”
- “Marketing communications must not disparage good dietary practice or the selection of options, such as fresh fruit and fresh vegetables.”
- “Marketing communications must be prepared with a due sense of responsibility.”
- HFSS product advertisements that are targeted through their content directly at pre-school or primary school children must not include a promotional offer.
- “Marketing communications must not seem to encourage children to eat or drink a product only to take advantage of a promotional offer.”
- The product should be offered on its merits, with the offer as an added incentive. Care needs to be taken about over-incentivising.
- Promotions which require a purchase to participate cannot include a direct exhortation to buy if they are addressed to or targeted at children
- “Marketers must take care to ensure that any promotions meant for parents of younger children are clearly targeted at parents through their content.”
- Marketing communications featuring a promotional offer linked to a food product of interest to children must avoid creating a sense of urgency or encouraging the purchase of an excessive quantity for irresponsible consumption – “hurry and buy” type claims are not compliant.
- Marketing communications must not encourage children to eat more than they otherwise would.
- Marketing communications for collection-based promotions must not seem to urge children or their parents to buy excessive quantities of food.