AFGC: Responsible Children’s Marketing Initiative

Core Principles

Companies participating in the Responsible Children’s Marketing Initiative publicly commit to marketing communications to children under 12, only when it will further the goal of promoting healthy dietary choices and healthy lifestyles.

Each participant is required to develop an individual company action plan that outlines how they will meet the following core principles:

Advertising Messaging

Participants will not advertise food and beverage products to children under 12 in media unless:

1. those products represent healthy dietary choices, consistent with established scientific or Australian government standards.

AND

2. the advertising and/or marketing communication activities reference, or are in the context of, a healthy lifestyle, designed to appeal to the intended audience through messaging that encourages:

  • good dietary habits, consistent with established scientific or government criteria
  • physical activity.

Use of Popular Personalities and Licensed Characters

Participants will not use Popular Personalities or Licensed characters’ in advertising primarily directed to children under 12 unless such advertising complies with the messaging options set out above and the specific requirements of the Children’s Television Standards in relation promotions and endorsement by Program Characters (CTS section 22).

Product Placement

Participants will commit to not paying for or actively seeking to place their food or beverage products in the program/editorial content of any medium primarily directed to children under 12 for the purpose of promoting the sale of those products unless those products are consistent with healthy dietary choices under #1 above.

Use of Products in Interactive Games

Participants will commit that, in any interactive game primarily directed to children under 12 where the company’s food or beverage products are incorporated into the game, the interactive game must incorporate or be consistent with healthy dietary choices under #1 above and healthy lifestyle messaging under #2 above.

Advertising in Schools

Participants will refrain from product-related communications in primary schools, except where specifically requested by, or agreed with, the school administration for educational or informational purposes, or related to healthy lifestyle activities under the supervision of the school administration or appropriate adults.

Use of Premium Offers

Participants will commit to not advertising premium offers unless the reference to the premium is merely incidental to product being advertised in accordance with the AANA codes and in the Children’s Television Standards (CTS Section 20).

Complaints Process

This initiative is supported by a public complaints program, which is managed by the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB).
Complaints may be made about:

  • The placement of the advertisement – whether it appropriate in programs directed to children under 12?
  • The appropriateness of the product – does it represent a healthy choice?
  • The appropriateness of the messaging – does it promote good dietary habits?

The complaints process follows similar guidelines to those for other Codes administered by the ASB:

  • All complaints about ads must be submitted in writing to the ASB – this can be done online at www.adstandards.com.au
  • Complaints about different ads must be submitted separately and must include sufficient details to allow for identification of the ad in question.

The George Institute for International Health, will assist in arbitrating issues surrounding the compliance of the advertisement with the Company Action Plans put forward by the participating food companies.

The AFGC and the AANA, in consultation with the participants, will periodically review the procedures and the overall impact of this initiative. The first such review shall be started after the new program has been operational for at least 1 year.

It is recognised that some marketing activity has been arranged in advance of this initiative becoming operational. Where companies have pre-existing contractual arrangements that cannot be changed, those arrangements will be exempt from the initiative until 30 June 2009. However, participating companies will agree not to renew such arrangements unless they specifically comply with the core principles of this initiative.

Company Action Plans

Companies sign up to this initiative as a minimum commitment and are required to develop and publish individual Company Action Plans that outline how they will meet the core principles of this initiative.

Because companies and their product lines vary, the way companies comply with this framework will differ. However, all commitments must be consistent with the core principles outlined in this initiative. This initiative outlines the minimum commitments required by signatories. Companies may choose to go further if they wish to.

Currently there are 16 companies participating in this initiative: Nestle, Kraft, Cereal Partners, George Weston. Coca-Cola, Pepsico, Cadbury, Patties, Campbell Arnott’s, Unilever, Mars, Kellogg, Fonterra, Simplot, Ferrero, and Sanitarium.

For further information go to www.afgc.org.au