'Irresponsible marketing to children' complaint forces Kellogg Australia to pull TV ads

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Kellogg has created 'pester power' with its adverts, says the Obesity Policy Coalition
Kellogg has created 'pester power' with its adverts, says the Obesity Policy Coalition

Related tags Coco pops Advertising

Kellogg has pulled LCMs and Coco Pops television adverts in Australia after the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) upheld a complaint from the Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) that the marketing irresponsibly promoted high sugar products to children.

The cereal major has been forced to pull two of its LCM cereal bar TV adverts just two weeks after it took a Coco Pops advert off air following a similar complaint from the OPC.

On both occasions, the ASB upheld the OPC’s complaint that Kellogg was promoting products very high in sugar to children and therefore breaching the Responsible Children’s Marketing Initiative.

The LCM adverts featured ‘fun facts’ with animated dinosaurs, snails, children’s voices and fantasy themes and the Coco Pops advert cartoons.

“We know the power and influence of advertisements using cartoon characters and fantasy on children, as do parents,”​ said Jane Martin, executive manager of the OPC.

“These ads create pester power, something which undermines the efforts of parents and educators. This flagrant marketing to children is irresponsible at a time when children’s diets are so poor, leading to increasing rates of overweight and obesity,”​ she said.

Kellogg has pulled two LCMs adverts and one Coco Pops ad
Kellogg has pulled two LCMs adverts and one Coco Pops ad

Kellogg ‘disappointed’ with the outcome

Speaking to BakeryandSnacks.com, Gareth Lucy, public relations manager for Asia Pacific at Kellogg, said it was important to note that there were “absolutely no complaints”​ from consumers, just one from the OPC.

“We understand that there are opposing views when it comes to products like LCMs, therefore whilst we are disappointed with the outcome, we respect and accept the role of the ASB and its decision,”​ Lucy said.

“We take our role as a responsible marketer very seriously and that is supported by our exceptional record of advertising targeted firmly at the main grocery buyer,” ​he added.

The adverts target grocery buyers, not kids, says Kellogg

Kellogg said the adverts for its LCM bars were not directed at kids but at the main grocery buyer given the adult voiceover and lunchbox shots.

“We strongly contend that this is not an advertisement that falls within the meaning of Advertising or Marketing Communication to Children under the RMCI,”​ Kellogg said in its response filed to the ASB.

“Clearly there’s a difference of opinion with regards to what constitutes marketing to children,”​ Lucy added. 

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