Kellogg’s – the owner of Pringles – has pulled all advertising from the PE With Joe YouTube channel, after being accused of advertising to children.
PE With Joe has grown hugely popular during the lockdown period, as people look for ways to exercise from home.
The popularity has meant the workout, which were originally targeted at adults, have been extended to children.
Kellogg’s had placed pre-programme ads for Pringles in the videos.
And with this brings certain legal concerns in the UK, where the advertising watchdog does not allow food and drink bands to promote “less healthy” products on children’s TV, or any media channel, with an audience of more than 25 per cent under-16s.
It is part of the Government’s childhood obesity plan measures.
However, there are certain loopholes which allow brands to advertise such products on digital platforms like YouTube.
And while this means the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) will not pursue formal charges against Kellogg’s, the company is still under fire from advocate groups.
A Children’s Food Campaign spokeswoman told The Guardian: “A pop, skip and a jump is a misleading and counterproductive message for industry to be pushing. Placing this ad directly before Joe’s hugely popular children’s daily PE class is a total betrayal of his work, and highly insensitive, irresponsible marketing. Children don’t need more salt, more saturated fat, more sugar, more excess calories being pushed to them during a pandemic, or indeed at any time.
“Children are even more of a captive audience during this lockdown, and we are hugely concerned they are still being subjected to unhealthy food advertising like this. The food industry and government focus should be on building up people’s health and resilience, not undermining it.”
Kellogg’s has responded to the criticism, confirming it removed the ads as soon as it was notified children were now being targeted by the fitness channel.
“It was not our intention to advertise Pringles to a younger audience. We are careful about where we place our advertising as we know we have a responsibility to act in the right way,” the company said in a statement.
“Joe’s fitness channel has historically been aimed at adults which was the case when we placed our advert on it (booked on 18 March). His audience shifted recently with the launch of ‘PE With Joe’.
“As soon as we were made aware that the audience of his channel had changed, we took steps to remove our advertising and we have put measures in place to prevent a repeat.’’