Advertising and Children

Responsible advertising is at the heart of ANZA's activities. Whilst we reject campaign group calls for a commercial free childhood, we do strongly believe that advertisers have a special duty of responsibility when advertising to children.

In recognition of the special care that is required when advertising to children, ANZA encourages advertisers and the wider advertising industry to identify, promote and replicate good practice and champion socially responsible initiatives, which go beyond compliance with industry standards.

As the presence of digital media in everyday life grows, it more important than it's ever been for advertisers, parents and the government to work together to equip children and families with the knowledge of how to avoid unsuitable content.

There are major benefits of advertising, from first-rate children's programming to unprecedented access to technology, knowledge and communication tools. However, children need to learn to decipher and critically interpret the range of communications, including marketing communications, around them.

The Advertising Standard Authority's Codes provide a major contribution to protecting children and helping parents. The new Children and Young Person's Advertising Code came into effect on 03/07/17 for new advertisements and 02/10/17 for existing advertisements.

The Code is the result of an extensive public consultation process. In addition to drafting the new Code, the Review Panel made a number of other recommendations including that "Advertisers and media be encouraged to adopt a pre-vetting process for occasional food and beverage advertising to children and young people to support code compliance".

As a result of this recommendation, and to support the principles of responsible self-regulation of advertising, ANZA has established a voluntary pre-vetting service for advertisers to assist them with compliance with the new Code.

This service, the Children's Advertising Code Pre-vetting Service (CAPS) runs in parallel with ANZA's other pre-vetting services for alcohol products and promotions (LAPPS) and therapeutic products and services (TAPS).

Following is an introduction to CAPS and how CAPS works

Advertising Food to Children:

In the debate on obesity, a common refrain is that television is awash with advertising to children. This is far from reality, as New Zealand's self-regulatory model for advertising works extremely well. The facts are that there is no advertising allowable during pre-school programming. These outcomes reflect industry's willingness to adhere to agreed Codes of Practice, recognising the best interests of our future generations.

The unfortunate reality of our industry is that fears surrounding advertising food and beverages to children on television are grossly overplayed. By way of example, a recent study from the University of Otago claimed that 60% of preschoolers' parents are worried about the amount of targeted advertising their children are exposed to on television. While the research has not been published, its quality must be questioned, and is done so by Katherine Rich - Food and Grocery Council CEO. "It would be interesting to know what questions the parents in the survey were asked, because there is currently no advertising on television targeting preschoolers."

So what are the facts?

Under our self-regulatory approach, the "Getting it Right for Children" industry commitment allows for no advertising pre-school time zones. In fact no advertising, sponsorship or prize packs are allowed during pre-school television programming. Advertising in school-age children's programme times is also strictly limited. In addition, any foods or beverages advertised in this zone must be independently approved under a Children's Food (CF) classification against nutrient profiling standards.

The result is Nielsen reported that just 6% of advertising in children's time zones in 2012, were of food or beverages. This includes advertisements imbued with positive messages such as the 5+ a Day campaign and sponsored community safety and activity campaigns.

So what is the issue? With the responsible self-regulatory boundaries industry has committed to, ANZA believe the facts show that industry is taking its community responsibilities seriously. Regrettably those against advertising to children are prepared to ignore this reality.