Back to school, follow the rules

It’s that time of year again! As kids and parents prepare for the start of another school year, our screens are flooded with ads for everything from lunchbox snacks to sneakers. If your advertising is directed primarily to children, it’s important to be aware of the rules.  

The rule books

Advertisers are expected to maintain a high sense of social responsibility when advertising to children. There are two codes that detail the strict rules in place, they are the AANA Code for Advertising and Marketing Communications to Children and AANA Food and Beverages Advertising and Marketing Communications Code.

Advertising to children, can you expand?

An ad will be assessed under the Children’s Code if the theme, visuals and language are directed primarily to children, and it is for a product which has the most appeal to children.
Marketing communication which is directed to parents or adults is not subject to the restrictions. For more information about what factors are taken into account when deciding if an ad is directed primarily to children, take a look at the Practice Note

Pester power won’t pass

Advertising must not undermine the authority, responsibility or judgment of parents or carers. This means an ad should not contain appeal to get children to urge their parents, carers, or other person to buy a product or service for them. Ads should not state or imply that a product or service owned by a child makes them superior to their peers.

Use the Wiggles wisely

Advertising must not use popular personalities or celebrities (live or animated) to endorse, recommend, promote or advertise or market products to children in way that obscures the distinction between advertising and program or editorial content. This is because it can be difficult for a child to distinguish if something is an ad.

Be careful what you feed your audience

Ads for food or beverages primarily directed at children must not encourage or promote an inactive lifestyle or unhealthy eating or drinking habits.

In line with the new Food and Beverages Code, advertising (including sponsorship advertising) of food or beverages products which do not meet the Food Standards Australia Nutrient Profile Scoring Criterion (also known as occasional food and beverage products) must not target children. 

Advertisers need to be aware that any food or beverage product featuring a promotion that is targeted to children cannot create a sense of urgency or encourage purchase or consumption of an excessive amount.
Advertisers must also not give awards or prizes of occasional food or beverage products, or vouchers that can be used on these products, to children.

Raise your hand if you need help

The fastest and most cost-effective way to check whether a campaign is likely to pass the test is to use our Ad Standards Copy Advice Service.