The Ethical code for food product advertising targeting children

Starting december 2015 the Romanian Advertising Council (RAC) updated the Ethical code for food product advertising targeting children. Therefore, intimations regarding problems handled by this code are within the remit of  RAC and ar reviewed by its ethical Committee.

Advertising directed to children represents  commercial communication adressed to children by means of theme, images and language used.

Child means any boy or girl, aged between 3 years and maximum 12 years.

Advertising for children means advertising broadcast within a program with an audience of at least 35% children under 12 years of age. Additionally, in the development of commercial communication for children aged between 3 and 12 we will take into account:

i) the channel where the message is placed and

ii) the general impression of the commercial communication

Media support represents the channel, the medium, the physical environment through which the message or information travels the distance from the source to the recipient. The code covers the following media: television, internet, print media, radio, cinema, DVD / CD-ROM, direct marketing, product placement, interactive games, mobile marketing and SMS marketing.

Internet refers to advertising on the Internet through third parties, but also to commercial communications on companies' websites, extensively covering online marketing.

Brand is the name and / or symbol whose intention is to identify perfectly with the product or service of a company.

Permission marketing refers to a marketing technique that provides the operator with key information regarding a consumer's profile, depending on the choices made.

 

Obesity, as well as the serious health problems associated with it, represent the negative effects of the lifestyle of advanced societies. Unfortunately, in recent years it has become characteristic of children.

The European Commission discussed through the Platform for Diet, Physical Activity and Health, which it realized, the problem of lack of physical activity, sport in the lives of Europeans in general: "European Union citizens make too little exercise and consume too much: too much energy, too many calories, too much fat, sugar and salt. The main consequence is the sustained and acute increase in the rate of overweight and obesity throughout the continent. This increase is severe, especially for children and adolescents. "

Through the Code of Ethics for advertising to children regarding food products, we undertake to act firmly in the direction of observing general ethical best practice of advertising addressed to children, regarding food. The above mentioned 
norms will be adopted voluntarily and at national level, by all those who are involved in the process of promoting food to children.

 

At present, the daily diet of children focuses mainly on a diet with excess calories, saturated fats, hydrogenated fats, sugar and salt. Also, children consume too few fruits, vegetables, grains and vitamins. Therefore, we face high rates of obesity, with specific complications, and diseases in general.

At present, the daily diet of children focuses mainly on a diet with excess calories, saturated fats, hydrogenated fats, sugar and salt. Also, children consume too few fruits, vegetables, grains and vitamins. Therefore, we face high rates of obesity, with specific complications, and diseases in general.

The companies that have signed this code have dedicated themselves to the responsible advertising of non-alcoholic foods and beverages to support parents' efforts to promote healthy lifestyles.

As such, these companies agree to adhere to these commitments in Romania, which comply with the following minimum criteria:
* We will not advertise food to children under 12 years of age, except for products that meet specific nutritional criteria based on accepted scientific evidence and / or national and international nutritional guidelines. For the purposes of this initiative, "advertising to children under 12 years of age" means advertising in a program with an audience of at least 30% of children up to 12 years of age.

* Consumers have the right to confidentiality of their personal information, which requires for personal information collection and disclosing, as well as permission marketing  practices, to be performed in compliance with the national laws and regulations, as well as with the internal practice regulations.

We shall not advertise in primary schools, unless specifically requested or managed with the school administration for educational purposes.

The signatory companies will publish their commitments on a website (www.ro-pledge.ro) in November 2008, which will include details of the specific nutritional criteria of the companies based on accepted scientific evidence and / or national and international nutrition guidelines.

- We shall allow children under 12  to be targeted by advertising only int he case of ads for products that are in full compliance with the specific nutritional criteria, based on accepted scientific proofs and / or valid national and international nutritional  guides, applicable for each and every company, in the form published by the said company on the website www.eu-pledge.eu

- We acknowledge that parents play the key role in relation to their children’s decisions, and this is the reason why we will not undermine their authority with our advertising practices. We will not encourage or influence children to impose their wishes and options in buying food or non-alcoholic beverages.

- We will not pledge to sponsor television or radio programs or shows for products that do not comply with the minimum nutritional criteria based on accepted scientific proofs and /or national and international nutritional guides, if they have audience ratings of 50% or more among the “under 12” age group.

- We will not post ads and /or promotions of products that do not comply with the minimum nutritional criteria based on accepted scientific proofs and /or national and international nutritional guides, on websites or blogs targeting children or user groups where more than 50% of the users are children under the age of 12.

- Well known characters and celebrities in TV, movies, cartoons, sports, music and history shall only be used in order to advertise products that comply with the minimum nutritional criteria based on accepted scientific proof and /or national and international nutritional guides, whenever 50% or more of their targeted audience includes children under the age of 12.

- We shall not communicate any products in primary schools, except for the case when the communication is specifically requested by, or mutually agreed with the school management, for educational purposes.

- There shall be no advertising of products containing a fun or entertainment component, targeting children under 12, if these products do not comply with the minimum nutritional criteria based on accepted scientific proofs and /or national and international nutritional guides.

- We shall not post ads targeting children under 12, promoting products that do not comply with the minimum nutritional criteria based on accepted scientific proofs and / or national and international nutritional guides, in any segments of the print media mainly targeting children under 12.

- We shall implement direct promotional activities targeting children under 12 only in the presence of adults, and only for products that comply with the minimum nutritional criteria based on accepted scientific proofs and / or national and international nutritional guides.

- We shall not run outdoor advertising at a distance under 50 meters away fro kindergartens and primary schools, targeting children under 12, if these products do not comply with the minimum nutritional criteria based on accepted scientific proofs and /or national and international nutritional guides.

For advertising purposes:

* Communication shall always be done in the spirit of truth and will avoid misleading the consumer.

* Advertising practices will be carried out only in compliance with national legislation, that of the European Union, as well as the decisions of national and local authorities.

* Advertising practices will be carried out in the spirit of respect for the ethical values ​​of society.

* Advertising and advertising will not undermine in any way human dignity by diminishing and discrediting certain persons or groups of persons due to social, racial, ethnic, religious, sex, age, physical or mental traits, personality traits.

* Advertising practices will not be used to benefit from unfortunate circumstances and situations that may occur in the life of each person.

* Advertising will not use vulgarity, verbal violence or offensive and inappropriate behavior in communication.

* Advertising will encourage proper portioning and discourage overconsumption, including through proper display of portioning.

* Advertising will try to promote an active lifestyle and a balanced diet and will never encourage, in any way, a sedentary lifestyle or habits that are not in line with a balanced diet.

* All statements regarding the characteristics of taste, composition, nutritional qualities or health benefits, will be in accordance with reality, and their presentation will be made in compliance with legislation.

* The consumer has the right to the confidentiality of information about himself, which is why the collection of personal information, their disclosure practices and permission marketing practices will be carried out in accordance with national laws, regulations and internal practice regulations.