Tell the Advertising Standards Authority to stop junk food companies targeting our kids

Last year 6000 ActionStation members called on the Government to put enforceable restrictions on junk food and high sugary drinks marketing to children. They refused. But our calls were heard, and in February the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) announced they would review the industry guidelines on advertising to children [1].

The ASA, which is funded by the advertising industry, set out the rules for advertising to children in 2010 [2] and established a special code specifically for children's food. [3]. As they stand, the codes are not working. Despite the best efforts of parents to promote healthy eating, kids are being told by big budget marketing campaigns that junk food and sugary drinks are desirable. The truth is they’re rotting our children’s teeth and making them sick. It's time we put enforceable restrictions on marketing junk food and high sugary drinks directly to our children.

Doctors, dentists and public health professors are already speaking out in support of limits on marketing junk food to kids [4]. And the majority of New Zealanders agree - a recent poll found 72% of Kiwis want stronger restrictions on junk-food promotions to children. [5] Science and public opinion are agreed on this, now we need the ASA to act.

Our children deserve an environment where making the healthy choice is the easy, normal and preferred choice. Protecting children from exploitative marketing is the right thing to do. Some advertisers have already responded to concerns about children. Burger King stopped advertising kids' meals on television and giving away toys [6], but most food companies and retailers resist calls for tighter restrictions on unhealthy food. That’s why the ASA needs to tighten the restrictions on junk-food advertising to kids.

The review panel have asked for examples of concerning advertisement, so we’re gathering photos and detailed descriptions of examples of inappropriate marketing of junk-food to kids. Can you help? Use our form to share specific examples of advertising with inappropriate content or placement for kids.

Experts - including doctors, dentists and public health researchers - will be making submissions to the ASA in this review. But what they can’t do is show how this problem affects ordinary families across New Zealand - that’s why we need your help.


References:

[1] Reviewing the rules for advertising to kids, Radio NZ

[2] Code for advertising to children, ASA

[3] Children’s code for advertising food, ASA

[4] We need to protect kids from junk food ads, NZ Herald

[5] Govt again rebuffs plea for fizzy drink tax, Radio NZ

[6] Burger King stops offering toys meals and advertising to kids, StopPress

 

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