Obesity Policy Coalition Loses Advertising Standards Battle With Cadbury

Obesity Policy Coalition Loses Advertising Standards Battle With Cadbury
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The Advertising Standards Board (ASB) has received a lengthy complaint from the Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) about an animated advert for the new Dairy Milk Oreo chocolate bar claiming the ad breaches the Responsible Children’s Marketing Initiative (RCMI).

The social media campaign, which has been viewed one million times on YouTube, depicts a story of friendship and adventure between a square of Cadbury chocolate and an Oreo biscuit. Check out the 80 second and 15 second versions:

The OPC claims the ads are directed primarily to children for six reasons:

1. Although use of animation is not, of itself, determinative on the issue of whether an advertisement is directed to children, the advertisement uses a simple, playful and whimsical animation style that would have primary appeal to children

2. The theme of the advertisement is a childlike story of “best friends” going on fun and exciting adventures together, and shows the characters engaging in typical children’s activities, including building sandcastles at the beach, watching sport and talking by torchlight while sharing a tent with a friend.

3. The scenes are depicted from the point of view of the childlike characters looking onto the adults’ world, for example watching the football game from under the bench, travelling along a car dashboard and sneaking along the kitchen bench. There is a sense of children conspiring to defy authority as they whisper conspiratorially in the tent. This depiction is likely to appeal to children who see the world from a different perspective to adults, similar to the perspective experienced by the characters in the advertisement.

4. The advertisement clearly encourages child viewers to imagine themselves participating in fantastic, magical adventures such as climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, associating fun and imagination with the consumption of the product.

5. The advertisement is presented as a reading of a children’s story with narrator speaking very slowly and simply, and beginning the story with the opening words “Here’s a little story about two best friends.” It is a story with a simple uncomplicated plot structure that would appeal to children.

6. The language used in the product tagline is simplistic language that would appeal to children: ‘Double the yum! Double the fun!’.

The OPC wanted to Mondelez to withdraw the Cadbury Daily Milk with Oreo advertisement immediately on the basis that it breaches the Children’s Code.

A Mondelez representative argued that children weren’t the main target; because of the use of an adult, male narrator, the use of emojis which is an “adult communication form” and that the detailed animation style appeals to adults.

It also argued that social media approach is targeted at adults not children because of the age restrictions on Facebook. “An accompanying Facebook competition had clearly communicated terms and conditions restricting the age of entrants; the minimum age for entry was 13, with entrants under 18 needing parent/guardian permission to enter.

“On YouTube, we targeted the main grocery buyer using behavioural and demographic targeting, and excluded all games and kids channels on the channel.”

The Advertising Standards Board (ASB) agreed with Mondelez. “The Board determined that as the advertisement is not directed primarily to children under 12, does not appear in media directed primarily to children and does not appear in media where Children represent 35 per cent or more of the audience, the advertisement does not come within the RCMI.”

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