Facebook provides great opportunities for businesses of all sizes, with over half the UK population accessing the site every month. You do need to be careful what you post, though, as new rules have just come in which ban advertising of junk food to children.
What are the rules?
The rules ban advertising of food or drink which is high in fat, salt or sugar across all non-broadcast media targeted at under 16’s. With nearly two million users under 17, Facebook ads can certainly count. Technically the rules only apply to ads where children make up 25% of the audience, but given the difficulty in controlling who sees what, its best to be cautious.
The restrictions also apply to TV-like content such as online videos and “advergames” if they are likely to appeal especially to children.
For content targeting under 12’s, the rules are even stricter. Ads for unhealthy food won’t be allowed to use promotions, licenced characters or celebrities popular with children. Although under 12’s are not allowed to use Facebook, these rules will impact other parts of a campaign, such as printed ads.
Why have they been brought in?
Chairman of the Committee of Advertising Practice, James Best, described the move as “a significant and positive change” which “demonstrate the advertising industry’s continuing commitment” to protecting children.
Mr. Best believes “the new rules will alter the nature and balance of food advertising seen by children and play a meaningful part in helping change their relationship with less healthy foods.”
What should you do?
So how should you avoid breaking the new rules? Social media campaigning is now essential for any business, so not using sites such as Facebook isn’t really an option.
Any ads promoting unhealthy foods must make it clear from their style that they are aimed at adults rather than children. It’s also important to be careful with where you share any ads.
The rules came into effect on the 1st of July 2017.
July 11, 2017 - This article was written by April Manning