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ANZA supports Advertising Standards Authority’s new Codes

The Association of New Zealand Advertisers (ANZA) welcomes the release of the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) new Food & Beverage Code and revisions to the Children’s Code today.

The new Food & Beverage Code aims to lessen the impact and exposure of advertisements promoting occasional food and/or drinks (treats) on children by imposing more stringent requirements on the industry.

ANZA CEO Lindsay Mouat said, “The ASA has conducted an extensive consultative process seeking a wide range of views and looking at good practice in many other countries. It has resulted in contemporary codes that strike the right balance between advertisers’ right to advertise responsibly and community expectations.”

For advertisers operating in both Australia and New Zealand, the new Codes align closely with the latest Australian Codes, with only minor differences.

“This provides certainty for advertisers, with Codes not a barrier to market alignment,” said Mouat.

“Brand owners will easily be able to understand their obligations for compliance across both countries”.

The new Food & Beverage Code is explicit that advertising for occasional food and beverages should be directed to adult audiences.

“Responsible food companies have already evolved their advertising messages and placement markedly in recent years to ensure they target adults, not children,” said Mouat.

“The Code reflects best practice and will ensure that all advertisers reach that same high standard of social responsibility.”

The existing Children’s Code included rules about not targeting children with advertising for treat foods.

The Code was then used by critics to complain about food brands who were reaching adults with their advertising.

Including the rules for advertising OFBs within the new food code clearly signals to the public that these products are to be advertised to adults not children.

The new ASA rules for occasional food and beverages are now amongst the toughest in the world. Changes include:

  • The age of a child has been lifted to under 16 (previously under 14). This is now the same standard as in the UK and higher than in Australia, Canada and most other countries.

    “The new age definition fits with important legal rights in this country, such as being able to leave school or get a driver’s licence,” said Mouat.

    “Defining children as sixteen or older would create the ridiculous anomaly that older teenagers could be working in a fast-food outlet, for example, but not be exposed to advertising for the same company.”

  • The definition of ‘occasional’ foods will now be determined by the application of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Nutrient Profiling Scoring Criterion.

    “Using the FSANZ criterion aligns with Australia, so companies operating in both countries have consistent rules to comply with,” said Mouat.

    “FSANZ provides a credible, independent definition that can be understood by both the industry and community.”

  • While not new, the code more clearly spells out that the rules apply to all advertising in all media – that includes online, social, influences, advergaming etc.

    “Unfortunately, the breadth of coverage of the ASA’s Codes has not always been well understood by critics,” said Mouat.

    “Having the same standard in all media is important for public trust in responsible self-regulation.”
  • The Code has been expanded to cover sponsorships.

    “The public understand that commercial sponsorship is important for many sports and cultural activities, especially at grassroots,” said Mouat.

    “Equally industry understand that sponsorships should be undertaken in the same responsible way as advertising. Having this requirement embedded in the Codes will be welcomed.”

To assist advertisers, comply with the new Codes, both the ASA and ANZA will be providing webinars and other support material to educate marketing teams and their advertising agencies on the requirements under the new codes.

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