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Unilever Marketing

Unilever takes action to prevent ads from targeting kids under 12


By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

February 12, 2020 | 3 min read

Unilever has vowed to stop advertising its food and beverage products to kids under the age of 12.



The FMCG-giant has been on a mission for the past year to ensure the content and placement of its adverts meet conditions set under a ‘Responsibility Framework’ established with now-departed chief marketing officer Keith Weed.

To date, it has established a network of global, regional and local online publishers as well as platforms it’s willing to advertise on in to get “more control and greater visibility” over where its ads are placed. It has also invested in experiments with ethical ad platform Good Loop which donates to charity every time someone watches a full advert online.

This latest step, which comes under the guidance of new brand boss Conny Braams, will see Unilever stop advertising its food and beverages to children under the age of 12 on traditional and social media.

It will also stop working with any influencers and celebrities who primarily appeal to children and would also limit its use of cartoon characters to promote products. However, this does not extend to advertising on in-store displays, though Unilever said it will only promote products in supermarkets that have a certain “nutritional profile”.

The new approach will begin with its ice cream business which counts Magnum and Wall’s among the biggest brands.

Wall’s – the parent company for brands such as Max, Paddle Pop, Twister – will now run with a ‘Responsibly Made for Kids’ logo on its point-of sale communications, product packs and price cards.

“We at Wall’s believe that everyone deserves a little joyous treat from time to time and we strive to offer something for everyone. Our promise is a genuine commitment to make and market products to children responsibly. It is the promise of better ice cream and healthier, happier children. Both now and in the future,” said Matt Close, executive vice president for the global ice cream category.

The deadline for compliance with these new principles is the end of this year.

Unilever said the move was in response to estimates from the World Health Organization which estimated that 124 million children between the ages of 5 and 19 suffered from obesity worldwide, while 213 million were overweight.

Last year, chief executive Alan Jope said the business would "dispose" of any brands that lack purposeful messaging.

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