Burger King and McDonald's pulled up by ASA for advertising HFSS products near schools

McFlurry ads removed for close proximity to primary school

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has slapped both Burger King and McDonald's on the wrist after the fast food chains failed to comply with rules that ban brands from marketing foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) to kids.

In both cases, JCDecaux was responsible for placing the posters near schools.

The bans come in the wake of the watchdog’s adoption of a tougher regime to limit advertising of ‘junk food’ to kids.

Both fast foods chains came under fire for inappropriately targeting children, with posters advertising their HFSS products popping up within 100 metres of primary schools.

The CAP Code requires that no medium should be used to advertise HFSS products if more than 25% of the audience is under the age of 16.

The standard approach taken by the outdoor ad industry is halt placing ads for HFSS products within 100 metres of a primary or secondary school during term time. In both cases, JCDecaux admitted responsibility for erroneously breaching this rule.

The company said a poster ad for Burger King's Whopper Jr meal deal was placed within 96 metres of a school, due to a data conflict in JCDecaux's booking system.

The ASA also highlighted JCDecaux placing a McDonald's ad advertising McFlurry ice creams 47 metres from the boundary of a primary school. The fast-food chain had instructed it to comply with its own policy not to place HFSS advertising within 200 metres of a school.

Despite this, McDonald's took full responsibility for the misplaced ad.

On both accounts, the ASA told both fast food chains that ads must not be displayed again in close proximity to a primary or secondary school and encouraged them to take measures in future to ensure that HFSS product ads do not target children under 16.

McDonald's also received a complaint about another poster advertising Iced Frappes, which was displayed 95 metres from a nursery.

JCDecaux argued that the site was not within 100 metres of a primary or secondary school, and that day nurseries fell outside the database of Outsmart, the marketing body for the out-of-home advertising industry.

The ASA concluded that this poster, therefore, did not breach the code.

It has also let Kellogg's off the hook after the cereal brand showed a TV ad for Coco Pops Granola during the children's programme 'Mr Bean.'

Kellogg's was challenged by The Obesity Health Alliance, which claimed the ad was for an HFSS product, and its placement during children's programmes meant it beached the code.

The ASA decided to not take action, given the fact that Coco Pops Granola is a non-HFSS product.

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