Cadbury Freddo chocolate advertisements banned for targeting children

Advertising guidelines state that products high in fat, salt and sugar cannot be targeted at children

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Cadbury advertisements promoting the brand's Freddo chocolate bar have been banned for targeting children, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled.

An investigation was launched by the advertising regulator after a Freddo poster was spotted within 100m of a primary school.

The ASA also received complaints about two YouTube videos featuring the anthropomorphic character, in addition to a downloadable comic and audiobook featuring the frog on the Freddo website.

The complainants argued that the advertisements for the product, which contains 10g of sugar and 0.04g of salt per 18g bar, were being inappropriately directed at children.

Current regulations outlined by the ASA state that products that are high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) cannot be targeted at children.

The guidelines also clarify that no medium can be used to advertise HFSS products if at least a quarter of the audience is under the age of 16.

According to Mondelez, the company that owns Cadbury, the Freddo advertisement was mistakenly placed within 100m of a primary school by JCDecaux, the outdoor advertising company that created the posters, and immediately moved once Mondelez became aware of its location.

The ASA ruled that the placement of the poster near the school breached the guidelines, as its proximity to the academic institution meant that its audience was "significantly skewed towards under-16s".

The advertising watchdog also found that while the majority of the visitors on the Freddo website would likely be adults, the content on the website was designed specifically with children in mind.

With regards to the two YouTube videos that were investigated, the ASA stated that it was not possible to determine what ratio of the audience was under the age of 18, and so the advertisements did not breach the advertising code.​

Mondelez has expressed its disappointment in the ASA ruling, the organisation tells The Independent.

"We have a long-standing commitment to not market directly to anybody under the age of 16 and on social media platforms we go above and beyond the CAP code – we only ever target our advertising to those over 18," Mondelez states.

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“We actively work with our partners to ensure our advertising messages are shown in a context that is appropriate for our brands."

Mondelez also says that it will be taking the "insights and views provided by the ASA" into account for future content.

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