ASA bats out KP Snacks for aiming HFSS ads at children
KP Snacks’ sponsorship of The Hundred cricket tournament has come unstuck after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the promotion of products high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) had directly targeted children.
Both a cartoon email displaying the McCoys logo (ad (a)) and a paid-for Instagram post (ad (h)) were considered to be in contravention of the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Code for promoting unhealthy food to underage audiences.
The intervention followed complaints by Sustain’s Children’s Food Campaign and Food Active, which argued that both elements of the campaign were directed at children due to the choice of media and the context in which they appeared.
The ECB and KP Snacks have offered assurances that future HFSS products would not be communicated via email to under-16s
Upholding the first complaint, the ASA observed: “... we noted that ad (a), which featured exclusively HFSS products, had been sent to 326 recipients under the age of 16. We therefore considered that ad (a) had been directed at children through the selection of media in which it appeared, and therefore breached the code.”
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A separate Instagram post also fell foul of the ASA, which considered that insufficient precautions had been taken to ensure that the ad was not presented to audiences under the age of 16 by failing to employ any interest-based factors, which might have excluded groups more likely to contain underage members.