Websites of Kinder Chocolate Banned over ads Targeting Children
A series of websites, an app and a YouTube channel promoting Kinder chocolate and toys have been banned in the UK for aiming junk food advertising at children.
The homepage of the Kindernauts website featured cartoons of a sun and rainbow, the promise of “fun activities” and prizes, a Kinder chocolate branded video showing children playing and a cartoon map leading to activities such as “becoming a bug detective” and “creating a butterfly feeder”.
The website magic.kinder/en also had Kinder branding alongside games and videos labelled as suitable for children aged three-plus, including short animations of Kinder Surprise toys.
But the ruling published on Wednesday by the Advertising Standards Authority agreed that the sites and “advergames” had broken rules set by the Committee of Advertising Practice on the promotion of high fat, salt or sugar products to the under-16s.
It sets a groundbreaking precedent for brand advertising and the use of cartoon characters and toys by confectionery, cereal and fast-food companies. The Kinder websites and advergames had created sub-brands that heavily featured the toys and characters associated with Kinder Surprise chocolate products.
The complaint was lodged with the ASA by the Children’s Food Campaign, which is lobbying for tighter rules to protect children from junk-food marketing.
Barbara Crowther, Children’s Food Campaign co-ordinator, said: “Kinder might be surprised at this ruling but we’re not.. These web and app-based games and videos were deliberately designed to encourage children as young as three years old to collect the toys associated with Kinder chocolate.
“In the midst of a rising child obesity crisis it’s about time the ASA called time on these irresponsible marketing tactics, and we’re delighted they upheld our complaint. However, the fact such campaigns are still being developed is further clear evidence that current rules and guidelines are still far from adequate in protecting children from constant exposure to junk-food marketing.”
Kinder’s parent company, Ferrero, said in a statement that it had been working with the ASA to understand the concerns raised. “Ferrero is committed to acting responsibly, which is why we aim all advertising and marketing communications for our products at adults not children. We firmly believe in parental choice and the role that parents play in choosing what is suitable for their own children.”