Leading food and beverage companies release commitments on children's advertising



    TORONTO, Feb. 6 /CNW Telbec/ - Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) today
released the details on how leading Canadian food and beverage companies are
shifting the landscape of advertising directed to children under 12.
    Under the terms of the Canadian Children's Food and Beverage Advertising
Initiative (Children's Advertising Initiative), first announced in April 2007,
16 leading food and beverage companies committed to shift their advertising
directed to children under 12 to the promotion of healthier dietary choices
and healthy active living.
    Advertising by the participants represents an overwhelming majority of
the food and beverage advertising in children's programming today.
    "To have received the 2004 statistic that childhood obesity rates had
tripled over the past twenty-five years was just appalling to me," said Health
Minister Tony Clement, who attended last year's launch of the Children's
Advertising Initiative. "Clearly it's time for a new way of thinking and
acting, and I commend responsible industry members who are preparing to help
tackle this issue."
    "The Children's Advertising Initiative strengthens Canada's already
rigorous framework for regulating children's advertising. The system includes
preclearance of all children's commercials, a strict code of advertising
standards and a robust consumer complaint mechanism," said Linda J. Nagel,
ASC President and CEO. "The participants are committed to the principles of
accountability and transparency. As the Children's Advertising Initiative
administrator, ASC will audit their compliance and publish annual reports on
the results."

    The Commitments

    Today's announcement sets out each participant's Commitment for the
first year of the Canadian Advertising Initiative. The comprehensive
Commitments cover advertising in print, on television, radio and the Internet.

    
    - Campbell Company of Canada, General Mills Canada Corporation,
      Kellogg Canada Inc, Kraft Canada Inc, McDonald's Restaurants of
      Canada Ltd, Nestlé Canada Inc, Parmalat Canada Inc., and Weston
      Bakeries Limited will direct 100 per cent of their children's
      advertising to healthier dietary choices in accordance with standards
      that are consistent with scientific and/or government nutrition
      standards.
    - Cadbury Adams Canada Inc, Coca-Cola Canada, Hershey Canada Inc,
      Janes Family Foods Ltd, Mars Canada Inc, McCain Foods Canada,
      PepsiCo Canada, and Unilever Canada Inc. will not direct advertising to
      children under 12.

    Participating companies have also committed to:

    - incorporate only products that meet the Children's Advertising
      Initiative criteria for healthier dietary choices in interactive games
      primarily directed to children under 12 years of age;
    - restrict the use of third party licensed characters in children's
      advertising to products that meet the Children's Advertising Initiative
      criteria for healthier dietary choices;
    - not pay for or seek to place food and beverage products in
      program/editorial content of any medium primarily directed to children;
      and
    - not advertise food or beverage products in elementary schools.

    Since the launch last April, the majority of companies have begun
implementing their Commitments. Eleven companies have already implemented
their Commitments and every company will have completed implementation by the
end of 2008.
    Under the terms of the Children's Advertising Initiative ASC, the national
advertising self-regulatory body, will:

    - publish the participant Commitments;
    - audit compliance; and
    - issue annual compliance reports to the public.
    

    Participant Commitments can be found at
http://www.adstandards.com/childrensinitiative

    Canadian Framework for Regulating Children's Advertising

    Canada has one of the strongest frameworks in the world for regulating
advertising to children. Canada's system for regulating children's food and
beverage commercials starts with government regulations under the Food and
Drugs Act. Additionally, children's food and beverage commercials are subject
to the requirements of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' Broadcast
Code for Advertising to Children. Adherence to this broadcast code, including
preclearance of each children's commercial by a committee that includes
industry and parent representatives, is a condition of broadcast license by
the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. Canada's
self-regulatory system also includes a rigorous system for responding to
consumer complaints about advertisements under the provisions of Canadian Code
of Advertising Standards, which covers all media.

    Advertising Standards Canada

    Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) is the national advertising industry
self-regulatory body committed to creating and maintaining community
confidence in advertising. ASC members include leading advertisers,
advertising agencies, media and suppliers to the advertising industry who are
committed to supporting responsible and effective advertising self-regulation.
A not-for-profit organization, ASC administers the Canadian Code of
Advertising Standards, the principal instrument of advertising self-regulation
in Canada, and a national mechanism for accepting and responding to consumers'
complaints about advertising. Complaints are adjudicated by independent
volunteer councils, and ASC reports to the community on upheld complaints in
its quarterly Ad Complaints Report. Through ASC Clearance Services, ASC
provides advertising copy review to ensure compliance in five regulated
categories. ASC celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2007.




For further information:

For further information: David Rodier, NATIONAL Public Relations, (613)
233-1699, x243, drodier@national.ca

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