Anti-junk food marketing campaigners 'thank' CAP for keeping Tony the Tiger in work

Protesters dressed as Barny, the Mondelez biscuit brand mascot, and Red, the leader of the M&M characters
Protesters dressed as Barny, the Mondelez biscuit brand mascot, and Red, the leader of the M&M characters

Tony the Tiger and the Coco Pops monkey are among the brand foods characters that have "thanked" regulators for keeping them in their jobs in an ironic protest.

The Children’s Food Campaign presented a "thank you" card to the Committee of Advertising Practice yesterday to highlight that brand characters should be part of the proposed tightening of rules on marketing less healthy food and drink to children, which the body is currently consulting on.

The campaigners said characters like Peppa Pig, Olaf from Frozen and a Storm Trooper were "celebrating their continued ability to earn millions of pounds from licensing deals with sugary food and drink brands and to keep on using their image to make these products particularly appealing to children."

The CAP’s consultation was launched in May and is looking at rules on non-broadcast advertising to children of foods high in fat, salt or sugar.

Three proposals are being considered:

  • Introduce a rule to the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Direct and Promotional Marketing to limit where HFSS can be placed in all non-broadcast media, including online;
  • Explore through consultation whether the new rule should prohibit HFSS product advertising in media targeted at or of particular appeal to children under 12, or under 16;
  • Apply the existing rules, prohibiting the use of promotions and licensed characters and celebrities popular with children, to HFSS product advertising only – allowing more creative ways for healthier foods to be advertised to children.

Malcolm Clark, co-ordinator of Children’s Food Campaign, said: "It is hard to resist the pester power when your child is swept up in the latest children’s animation or film craze, or spots an appealing cartoon character on a sugary product’s packaging or online marketing.

"Film and character licensing has become a £250m vehicle for encouraging excessive sugar consumption in children, and that needs to stop, along with the use of child-friendly brand characters on less healthy products."

The CAP is inviting responses from individuals and organisations until the consultation closes at 5pm on 22 July.

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