Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated, both of which were Not upheld.
A website for a Cadburys Peter Rabbit promotion, www.cadburypeterrabbit.co.uk, seen on 3 April 2018 showed an image of the Peter Rabbit character from the film "Peter Rabbit" alongside a board on which text stated "Chance to WIN a family holiday - Plus 1000 Peter Rabbit (TM) Prizes".
Text underneath the image stated "This Easter, we're pairing up with a special bunny to give you the chance to win a fun family holiday or one of over 1000 Peter Rabbit (TM) prizes! ... Found a unique code in one of our tasty Easter Egg packs? Enter it below to see what you've won". Pack shots of Cadburys Dairy Milk Daim Bar mini eggs, a Cadbury's Buttons egg and a box of "Egg 'n' spoon" were shown, alongside further images of characters from the film.
The Children’s Food Campaign (Sustain) challenged whether the ad was:
1. an ad for a product that was high in fat, salt or sugar (an HFSS product ad) that was directed at children through the media or context in which it appeared; and
2. targeted through its content directly at pre-school or primary school children and included licensed characters popular with children.
1. & 2. Mondelez UK Ltd t/a Cadburys said the web page and its address were advertised only on the coupons that were found in the winning packs, and that therefore only those who had found a winning coupon would know the web address needed to access the page. They said the promotional product packs in which coupons were found included Cadburys' Easter range, which had an appeal to families and not just children. They said the products were purchased predominantly by adults and that the web page and the winning coupons made it clear that entrants needed to be over 18 years of age. They said winners were asked to submit their date of birth and if it did not show that they were 18 or over, an error page would show.
Cadburys supplied details of the traffic to the web page broken down into age bands, the youngest of which was for 18- to 24-year-olds. They believed the web page to be a functional page only, through which winners could redeem their prize, and not an ad. They nevertheless believed they had shown that neither the web page nor the information directing winners to it or the use of characters and images from the film "Peter Rabbit" were appealing to children.
1. Not upheld
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.
Cadburys believed the web page was not an ad and did not fall within the remit of the Code. The ASA noted that the web page explained how to participate in the promotion and how to redeem prizes. We considered that, because promotions in non-broadcast media were within the remit of the Code, the content of the web page was therefore within its remit.
The web page featured images of Cadbury chocolate products, all of which were HFSS. We considered that the ad was therefore an HFSS product ad.
We then needed to assess whether it was directed at children. The advertised competition involved purchasing promotional packs of Cadbury Easter-themed chocolate products, such as chocolate eggs and bags of mini creme eggs and Daim-flavoured eggs. Participants were directed to the website via winning coupons found inside promotional packs and to enter a code to find out whether they had won. The web page included information about how to enter the competition and the competition prizes, as well as images of characters from the Peter Rabbit film and Cadbury Easter-themed chocolate products. We considered children under 16 would be likely to find the Peter Rabbit characters appealing, but the website did not use language that was particularly aimed at under-16s. We considered it was directed at adults through its presentation and content and therefore concluded it was not directed at children through the selection of media or the context in which it appeared.
We then considered whether its audience, therefore, was comprised of over 25% under-16s. We considered it was unlikely that consumers would visit the web page other than to enter the competition, because the only place the web page and its address were advertised was on winning coupons found in promotional packs. We acknowledged that such products were of appeal to adults, but considered it was likely that a high proportion of children under 16 would have been given the products and seen winning coupons.
The winning coupons stated that the competition was open only to those aged 18 and over, and competition participants must enter an age over 18 in order to access the web page. Notwithstanding our concerns that age-gates were not necessarily a deterrent to children, because only those aged 18 or over could enter the competition and that information was stated on the winning coupons, we considered it was likely that adults would visit the website in order to enter the competition on children’s behalf. In that context we considered it unlikely that over 25% of visitors to the website were under the age of 16.
Because the web page was not directed at children under 16 and it was unlikely that over 25% of its audience was under 16, we concluded that the ad did not breach the Code.
On that point, we investigated the ad 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.
2. Not upheld
The Code required that HFSS product ads that were targeted through their content directly at pre-school or primary school children must not include licensed characters popular with children. As referenced above, we considered the web page was an HFSS product ad. Peter Rabbit was a character we considered was likely to be popular both with children under 12 and older children, as well as having broad appeal to other age groups. We considered the web page featured a licensed character popular with children.
We then assessed whether the web page was targeted directly at pre-school or primary school children through its content. We considered that the wording "WIN a family holiday," and the opportunity to do that, was directed at adults, and that the remainder of the web page, most of which dealt with answering questions and providing information about the workings of the promotion in a detailed and factual way, was also directed at adults.
We therefore concluded that the ad was not targeted through its content directly at pre-school or primary school-aged children and was not in breach of the Code.
On that point we investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rule
Licensed characters and celebrities popular with children must be used with a due sense of responsibility. HFSS product advertisements that are targeted directly at pre-school or primary school children through their content must not include licensed characters or celebrities popular with children. For the avoidance of doubt, that prohibition applies to food or drink advertisements only.
The prohibition does not apply to advertiser-created equity brand characters (puppets, persons or characters), which may be used by advertisers to sell the products they were designed to sell.
Licensed characters and celebrities popular with children may present factual and relevant generic statements about nutrition, safety, education or similar.
(Food - licensed characters and celebrities), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.