A poster ad for Subway’s “Sub of the Day”, seen on 20 July 2018, featured images of different sandwich options for each day of the week, along with the tagline “New Sub of the Day”. The poster was displayed on the side of a telephone box close to a children’s centre and school.
The complainant, who said they saw the ad placed close to a school and children’s centre, challenged whether the ad was for a product that was high in fat, salt or sugar (an HFSS product ad) that was directed at children.
Subway Realty Ltd said that out of the seven products that were featured as part of the Sub of the Day promotion, six were not classified as HFSS. The only item that was classified as HFSS was the ‘All Day Mega Melt’. They referred to the CAP guidance on HFSS Product and Brand Advertising and stated that in an ad where six of the seven products featured were non-HFSS they believed the ad should not be regarded as being for an HFSS product. They also considered their product range should not be classified as an HFSS range.
They stated that the ad was not within the outdoor ad industry’s 100-metre exclusion zone from schools and that Primesight were unable to identify whether or not more than 25% of the audience passing the site was under 16. They also said that the item that was classified as an HFSS product was only available on a Sunday when the volume of young people visiting the nearby community site was likely to be significantly lower than during the week.
Primesight confirmed that the panel was not within the 100-metre exclusion zone for schools and did not find any evidence that more than 25% of the audience was under 16.
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 ad featured several Subway sandwiches including the Mega Melt sandwich, which was an HFSS product. Although the other sandwiches shown in the ad were non-HFSS, because the poster featured an HFSS product we considered that the poster was a HFSS product ad for the purposes of the Code.
While the poster appeared within 100 metres of a children’s centre, it was not placed within 100 metres of a primary or secondary school. We noted that sites located near to children’s centres were not considered unsuitable to carry HFSS ads under the standard approach taken by the outdoor ad industry. We understood that in general children’s centres were attended by a smaller number of children than primary or secondary schools and that meant the audience for the ad was unlikely to be significantly skewed towards under-16s. We therefore considered that while the ad was an HFSS product ad, it did not directly target children under 16 through the context in which it appeared. We concluded the placement of the ad did not breach the Code.
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 of the Code.
No further action necessary.