A website for a joint promotion between Cadbury and the National Trust for Scotland, and downloadable content for Cadbury, seen on 22 March 2018:
a. The website for the joint promotion https://easter.cadbury.co.uk, featured the heading “Enjoy Easter Fun” and an image of a rabbit holding an Easter egg wrapped in purple foil with the words “Join the Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt” written on it, using the Cadbury logo. Smaller Cadbury-branded purple foil wrapped chocolate eggs and Easter bunnies were alongside. Text underneath stated “Looking for a way to make Easter magical? You’ve found it! Read on for tips, treats and fun things to make and do”. Further down the page, website visitors could download a storybook and an activity pack.
b. The storybook, titled “The Tale of the Great Easter Bunny”, featured an image on its cover of the Easter bunny wearing a purple waistcoat and holding a purple egg. The story featured children on an Easter egg hunt looking for purple Easter eggs that were hidden by the Easter bunny, who lived in a purple warren where he kept a chest full of purple Easter eggs. The final page featured the text “Cadbury wishes you a Happy Easter” on a purple background.
c. The activity pack, titled “Eggciting activities”, featured an image of a rabbit holding a Cadbury-branded purple egg on its first page, with smaller Cadbury-branded purple chocolate eggs and Easter bunnies alongside. A similar image appeared at the bottom of each page.
The Obesity Health Alliance challenged whether the ads were for products that were high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS product ads) that were directed at children.
Mondelez UK Ltd t/a Cadbury said that all their promotional campaigns were targeted at parents and adults rather than children. The ad was part of the Cadbury website and advertised their partnership with the National Trust for Scotland, specifically the Cadbury Easter Egg Hunts and trails that took place at National Trust for Scotland’s properties. They said the website was advertised only in media targeted to adults: Facebook and Instagram ads targeted to users registered as over 18 and categorised as a ‘Parent’; ads on a parent-targeted section of a news website; and in a TV ad which had not been shown around programmes for under 16s or programmes likely to appeal particularly to under 16s. They therefore believed that only adults were likely to have visited the website. They provided data showing the route by which consumers had visited the website, and Google Analytics data relating to the demographic profile of website visitors, but noted that Google was not able to track users below the age of 18 and the data therefore only related to website visitors aged 18 or over.
Cadbury said the website and the content on it were aimed at parents and adults as inspiration and tools for them to use with their families in the lead up to, and over, the Easter weekend. They said the website and its content were not of particular appeal to children and the call to action was for adult family members to consider whether they would like to take their families to one of Cadbury’s Easter Egg Hunts. For example, wording such as “The Tale of the Great Easter Bunny tells the story of the Easter Bunny and encourages families across the nation to take part in their own magical Easter Egg Hunts together”, “Keep your family busy during the Easter holidays with our eggciting activity pack” and “Have some fun in the kitchen? With a little help from Cadbury (and your own little helpers!)” was specifically directed to parents to engage the whole family in the activities.
Cadbury said the downloadable storybook was designed as a book for the whole family to enjoy together. The author was a personality known by parents rather than children, and the book did not include any Cadbury branding to ensure that no direct links would be made between Cadbury, Cadbury products and the story told in the book. While the book was downloadable from the website, children would be listening to it as told by adults and so would not make any connection with Cadbury or any of their products.
They said the Easter Egg Hunt depicted in the story was positioned as a family activity to mark a key seasonal occasion in which the Easter Egg Hunt was led by the parents, with the children in the story hunting for clues and never being shown interacting with the chocolate on their own. The book did not feature any unwrapped chocolate either in the artwork or the story and the chocolate was shown in moderation for sharing amongst the family. They said they were also careful to ensure the artwork and graphics (for example the font size) was more graphic and adult in style to appeal to the intended family audience. They added that the Great Easter Bunny was not a new character devised by Cadbury; it was a historical Cadbury character and “The Tale of the Great Easter Bunny” had featured on TV, in print advertising and on point of sale materials in the past.
Cadbury acknowledged that the activity pack included Cadbury branding but they said it would not be visible to children unless their parents or an adult provided it to them; the pack contained fun activities for parents/adults to enjoy with children. They said the messaging about the pack on the website and in the pack itself was directed at adults and the content was drafted in such a way that adults would be required to help their children.
Cadbury also explained that other downloadable content on the website – an egg hunt pack and recipes – were also designed for adults to share with children and the content did not appeal to children in their downloadable formats. They said that the medium for promoting the downloadable content was carefully selected and limited to the website. They believed that the content should not be assessed as a separate medium from the website without taking into account the platform on which they had been made available, and the overall context in which they had been promoted; as content directed to parents on a platform targeted to adults.
The National Trust for Scotland said they were a charity established for the purpose of promoting access to and enjoyment of places of historic interest and natural beauty in Scotland, amongst people of all ages. In recent years they had placed emphasis on promoting those spaces to families and had carried out improvements to provide better family amenities such as play parks, play equipment and family spaces. One of the ways in which they had promoted their properties to families was through Easter events such as the Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt.
The Easter Egg Hunts involved a series of activities for the whole family which aimed to get families to be more active, enjoy outside play and engage with nature. All hunts and trails were designed to be educational and active and introduce families to the nature, history and significance of the properties. The trails took between 30 and 60 minutes to complete and families tended to stay in the properties afterwards to enjoy the outdoor spaces and other facilities on offer. They said the key promotional message for the Trust in the ad was to encourage families to visit the properties and enjoy an active and educational experience in safe open spaces.
The National Trust for Scotland highlighted that while the website related to their joint promotion with Cadbury – the Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt – the downloadable content (ads (b) and (c)) did not contain reference to their name, logo or events and therefore did not promote the National Trust for Scotland.
Upheld in relation to ads (b) and (c) only
The CAP Code required that HFSS product ads must not be directed at children through the selection of media or the context in which they appeared, and that no medium should be used to advertise HFSS products if more than 25% of its audience was under the age of 16. The ASA considered that marketers should take reasonable steps to target age-restricted ads appropriately.
Ad (a) was a section of the Cadbury website, which featured Cadbury branding (including the logo and use of Cadbury purple) and images of Cadbury Easter-themed chocolate products, which were all HFSS. The website was therefore an HFSS product ad for the purposes of the Code. Ad (c), the activity pack, also featured the Cadbury logo, Cadbury purple colouring and images of Cadbury Easter-themed HFSS products, and was therefore also an HFSS product ad for the purposes of the Code. Ad (b), the storybook, featured Cadbury purple colouring throughout the book, including a purple border with the Cadbury milk ‘splash’ on each page, the Easter bunny’s waistcoat and front door, and drawings of purple chocolate eggs. The final page featured the text “Cadbury wishes you a Happy Easter” on a purple background. We considered that in the context of a Cadbury-branded storybook, the purple chocolate eggs shown were identifiable as Cadbury products, and because those products were HFSS products we considered the storybook was also an HFSS product ad for the purposes of the Code.
The website was primarily focused on providing information about the Cadbury-sponsored Easter Egg Hunts at National Trust properties, including a search tool to find Hunts, and we understood that the majority of people who visited the website had engaged with it on that basis. We considered the website was directed at adults through its presentation and content and therefore concluded it was not directed at children through the selection of media or context in which it appeared. We therefore also considered whether its audience was comprised of over 25% under 16s. We noted that it had only been advertised in media targeted to adults (particularly parents), and that the data from Cadbury showed that just over a third of people visiting the website did so after following a link from the nationaltrust.org.uk website, a third did so through search engine organic search results, and just under a quarter arrived at the website directly. While Cadbury was not able to provide data showing the demographic profile of visitors to the website, we considered it was unlikely that over 25% of its visitors were under the age of 16.
We acknowledged that the downloadable content was accessed by visitors to the website, who we considered would be predominantly adults. However, we considered that while children might engage with the storybook and activity pack in the presence of, or under the supervision of, adults, both were specifically created as content for children under 16 years of age and would be given to children to use. We considered the storybook and activity pack were therefore directed at children through the selection of media.
We concluded that the website was not directed at children and that it was unlikely that over 25% of its audience was under 16, and that it therefore was not in breach of the Code. We concluded that the storybook and activity pack were HFSS product ads that were directed at children through the selection of media and that they therefore were in breach of the Code.
Ads (b) and (c) breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 15.18 15.18 HFSS product advertisements must not be directed at people under 16 through the selection of media or the context in which they appear. No medium should be used to advertise HFSS products, if more than 25% of its audience is under 16 years of age. (HFSS product ad placement).
We also investigated ad (a) under CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 15.18 15.18 HFSS product advertisements must not be directed at people under 16 through the selection of media or the context in which they appear. No medium should be used to advertise HFSS products, if more than 25% of its audience is under 16 years of age. (HFSS product ad placement), but did not find it in breach.
Ads (b) and (c) must not appear again in the form complained about. We told Mondelez UK Ltd t/a Cadbury to take reasonable steps in future to ensure that HFSS product ads were not directed at children through the selection of media or the context in which they appeared, and not to use any medium to advertise HFSS products if more than 25% of its audience was under the age of 16.