Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

No Curb on Junk-Food Ads; Fury as Year-Long Review Fails to Find Evidence Internet Advertising Targeting Children with Controversial ''Stealth'' Marketing Techniques Has Any Significant Impact on Their Eating Habits

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

No Curb on Junk-Food Ads; Fury as Year-Long Review Fails to Find Evidence Internet Advertising Targeting Children with Controversial ''Stealth'' Marketing Techniques Has Any Significant Impact on Their Eating Habits

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Green The Independent

CHILDREN will continue to be bombarded with online adverts for junk food ''every day'' after a report into the effects of internet marketing on the young failed to recommend any changes to the current rules, health campaigners warned.

A year-long review commissioned by the Committee of Advertising Practice, which is responsible for setting the rules governing the industry, concluded there was not enough evidence to suggest online food and drink marketing had an effect on children.

The decision leaves advertisers free to target children with controversial ''stealth'' marketing techniques such as ''advergames'' - addictive, heavily branded, free online games which often promote products high in saturated fat, salt and sugar.

Advertising junk-food products on television during children's programs has been banned. But restrictions governing online advertising remain weak. The Advertising Standards Authority is only able to take action against a retailer if its online game ''encourages poor nutritional habits, such as excessive consumption or unhealthy lifestyles''.

The review, carried out by market research agency Family Kids and Youth, said while there was ''considerable disquiet among campaigners and some academic researchers'' over how junk food was advertised to children online, ''the evidence in support of such concerns remains limited''.

It conceded that today's children may be exposed to more advertising for less healthy products, but said there was no evidence suggesting online advertising, including advergames, affected their eating habits.

In response, CAP said it would launch another review into the issue with the aim of publishing more guidance. It said retailers should ''review their online marketing'' to make sure it was easily identifiable to children. …

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