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Doritos ad avoids ASA ban for marketing crisps to kids

A Doritos ad has escaped an ASA ban for targeting viewers under 16.

A pre-roll YouTube ad for Doritos has escaped a ban from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after the Obesity Health Alliance complained about the spot’s targeting of viewers under 16.

The ad, seen before a YouTube video reviewing new Nintendo Switch games, featured a man seizing the hand of a colleague so that he could suck Doritos crumbs off his fingers. In another scene, the man ripped the trousers off another man so that he could sniff crumbs from the garment. A voice-over told viewers: ‘Doritos. For the bold.’ The ads were produced by OMD.

Walkers Snacks Ltd said that it had taken steps to ensure that the ad was not targered to children or viewers under 16, using age restrictions so that the ad would only be served to users over 18. Walkers said that it “had been particularly cautious by targeting the ads to those aged 18 and over rather than those aged 16 and over.” The ad was excluded from being embedded on third-party websites, so that it could not be embedded on sites that appealed to children.

In addition, Walkers applied exclusion lists to the ad, to minimise the risk of it being served to users under 16. This included a list of 13,00 channels, users and videos, as well as 9,000 specific videos that were noted as having appeal to the under 16s. Walkers said that it “had demonstrated that it had taken reasonable steps to appropriately target the ad.”

The ASA did not uphold the Obesity Health Alliance’s complaint. The watchdog said that “Walkers Snacks had taken reasonable steps to appropriately target the ad,” and that “the ad had not been directed at those under 16.”

The Obesity Health Alliance, a coalition of health and education charities including the British Medical Association and Cancer Research UK, recently made successful complaints about KFC and Coco Pops ads.