Nutella has ducked an ad ban from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), following complaints about a series of paid social posts from YouTubers Zoe Sugg and Alfie Deyes promoting the hazelnut spread.
The watchdog investigated the promotions using new rules governing advertising for products high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS), after receiving complaints that the ads targeted children.
The ads included a YouTube video called 'Nutella Breakfast Party', two tweets from Deye's Pointless Blog Twitter account and an Instagram post from Zoella (Sugg).
Zoella's Instagram post featured an array of cakes and pastries alongside three jars of Nutella, and was posted to celebrate ‘#WorldNutellaDay’.
Although the complainants suggested that the ads would fall foul of new Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) guidelines on HFSS foods, the ASA ruled that the social channels of Zoella and PointlessBlog didn't contain content or themes likely to appeal to under 16s.
New CAP rules state: “HFSS product ads must not be directed at children through the selection of media or the context in which they appeared and that no medium should be used to advertise HFSS products if more than 25% of its audience was under the age of 16”.
However the watchdog said that “less than 25% of PointlessBlog’s registered UK subscriber base… were registered as being under 18 and an even smaller proportion were under 16.”
Ferrero UK, which owns the Nutella brand, said that it only picked vloggers and influencers for World Nutella Day whose audience demographic did not exceed the amount of under-16s permitted by CAP rules. It said that it had provided “clear guidelines” stated in their contracts “to proactively guide them” to create content that did not violate advertising rules.
The ASA said that Ferrero, and its association with PointlessBlog and Zoella, did not breach the advertising Code. It said: “We considered that Ferrero, in association with PointlessBlog and Zoella, had taken reasonable steps to target the ads appropriately.”
Meanwhile, the ASA banned ads from Cadbury's and Chewits which fell foul of the updated HFSS rules.