If you’re wondering what to get the ASA for Christmas this year, look no further. There is nothing that would make the Authority happier than a sledge full of compliant advertising and we’re here to show you how.

Families across the country are putting up Christmas trees and snuggling down into their Christmas jumpers, whilst kids busy themselves behaving like angels and writing Christmas lists. Finding inspiration for those lists isn’t hard, but making sure that kids aren’t misled about the gifts they’ve been dreaming of is crucial.

Ads targeting children aren’t necessarily a problem, but children aren’t as savvy as adults and special care must be taken to ensure that they aren’t misled, encouraged to copy behaviour that could harm them, or encouraged to make a nuisance of themselves.

Pre and Post Christmas sales are big business and advertisers need to ensure that all offers are clearly presented, sales promotions don’t mislead and children aren’t encouraged to pester their parents for toys. Direct exhortation to children is prohibited and claims such as “Quick – ask your mum to buy me now!” are unlikely to be acceptable. Less overt claims or images can also be problematic (Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc, 26 October 2011). Equally, claims that suggest children won’t be as popular as their peers for not owning the latest gadget are also likely to be a problem. (Weetabix Ltd, 13 February 2013)

Encouragingly, advertisers clearly take their responsibilities seriously because ads targeting children rarely fall foul of the Codes. The Copy Advice team has a wealth of guidance on advertising to children on their website. We would remind advertisers to consult the Food Rules when preparing food ads that may appeal to children, as specific rules apply.

If you require bespoke advice on your non-broadcast promotions, contact the CAP Copy Advice team on 020 7492 2100 or submit your enquiry via our website.

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