Children's Food Campaign Calls For Online Marketing Reforms

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The Children's Food Campaign has accused UK advertising regulators of failing to protect kids against the Internet marketing campaigns conducted by food companies.

Created with the intentions of improving the health of children across the country, the campaign has called on ministers to respond to what it's described as the exploitation of loopholes.

It wants them to introduce a statutory regulation that would prevent companies from displaying TV-style adverts, banned from children's television slots, on their own websites - aimed at children. This means putting limits on amounts of embedded promotional games, like Chewits Taste Adventure - in which kids have to guide the firm's mascot, Chewie, round a number of British landmarks to find the chewy sweets - and the Haribo Super Mix challenge being featured on sites.

The campaign also criticised the sites of a number of other confectionery manufacturers, including Swizzels Matlow - known for Love Hearts and Parma Violets - Oreos, and Cadbury.

Malcolm Clarke, the co-ordinator of the campaign, stated: "Food companies continue to exploit loopholes and advertise junk foods to children online, even though stronger broadcasting regulations prevent such advertising on children's television."

He added: "The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is struggling to get to grips with its new role and is failing."

However, a spokesman for the ASA stated that it did not believe change was needed; but did add that a review of controls had been launched.

Matt Wilson, said: "After two years we can look back and ask what we could do better and it is being looked at seriously"

"This industry has a 50-year history of making sure the rules remain relevant and appropriate. The advertising codes are robust around protecting children and the rules are based on the best available evidence about potential harms to children," Mr Wilson finished.

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