Over the past few years, there has been increasing attention on how children are marketed to, particularly with the rise in social media, ‘kidfluencers’ and influencer advertising.
We tuned into the recent webinar from the Australian Associated of National Advertiser’s (AANA) Director of Policy and Regulatory Affairs, Megan McEwin, to get the latest on best practice when advertising to children as well as a rundown of the important changes.
What is the Code and why is it important to marketers?
The Children’s Advertising Code is set by the AANA to provide guidance for advertising and marketing self-regulation.
The code ensures that advertisers and marketers in Australia build and maintain a high level of social responsibility when advertising to children.
The new Code will come into effect on 1 December 2023 and complements AANA’s Food & Beverage Advertising Code, which already bans advertising of occasional food and beverages to children.
What are the key changes?
The new Children’s Advertising Code is no longer limited to just advertising children’s products and will now apply to any form of advertising that is directed towards children. This provides enhanced protections and a definitive ban on targeting children when advertising products such as vapes, zero per cent alcohol, as well as highly caffeinated drinks.
Key things to watch in your brand’s advertising and marketing activities
Under the Code, a child is considered fourteen years of age or younger. Here are three key factors to consider if your campaign will be reaching this audience:
1. Accurate representation – To avoid misleading and deceptive content when advertising to children, ensuring all the facts and relevant disclaimers can be clearly understood by the audience is a must.
Make sure the language is age appropriate and elements, such as pricing and competition terms and conditions are explained.
2. Influencer marketing- Popular personalities, such as influencers and influencers, need to clearly disclaim promotions, endorsements, and advertising – including gifted products.
If their audience is more than 25 per cent children, the promotional content must abide to the Code. This means influencers must have a significant and immediate disclosure of advertisement that is comprehensible to children.
Using techniques, such as voiceovers and larger font sizes, can often help communicate the relevant disclaimers to a younger audience.
3. Inappropriate content – Most importantly, advertising and marketing content aimed at children must not employ sexual appeal, include sexual imagery or imply that children are sexual beings.
Advertising of underwear or swimwear products for children will not necessarily breach this section of the Code. However, care should be taken when photographing children in underwear or swimwear to ensure poses are natural and not sexualised.
How to check if your advertising and marketing is targeting children:
- How is the advert executed? Check what themes, colours and language are included in the content.
- Who is the expected average audience? Children are likely to be a ‘significant proportion’ of the expected average audience if they account to 25 per cent of the predicted audience.
- Have you checked the Code? For the new Children’s Advertising Code and more information to support self-regulation, visit the AANA website here.
Does your brand market to children? To discuss how this might affect your marketing communications strategy, contact firstname.lastname@example.org