UK advertising authority bans first online sweet ads under new junk food rules

Objections against ads for a Cadbury egg hunt and ads for Chewits and Squashies sweets were upheld

UK advertising authority bans first online sweet ads under new junk food rules

Picture by: Rui Vieira/PA Archive/PA Images

Ads for three major sweet companies have been banned in the UK under new rules to protect children from junk food advertising.

The British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found there was not enough effort to prevent kids seeing online campaigns by Cadbury, Chewits and Squashies sweets.

The Cadbury's campaign - run in conjunction with the National Trust for Scotland - focused on an Easter egg hunt promotion, with complaints about a downloadable storybook and activity pack upheld.

The ASA said the downloads "were directed at children through the selection of media".

Chewits put four posts on its Facebook page relating to school and children's books.

Regulators said the Cloetta confectionery company "had not used any of the tools available to them to restrict the audience of the posts and to target the posts to those aged 16 or over".

Squashies' maker Swizzels Matlow, meanwhile, drew challenges over an online advertising game, with the ASA finding that it was likely that "a significant percentage of its audience was aged under 16".

All the firms involved said the advertisements were aimed at older teenagers, adults or parents.

Guy Parker from the ASA explained that the aim is to protect children from products high in fat, salt or sugar.

He observed: "We will police non-broadcast advertising, including advertising online, just as rigorously as we police advertising on TV.

"Don't think you can get around the rules by using online media - you can't."