US confectionery firm Cadbury Adams yesterday pledged to stop advertising Bubblicious Gum to children under 12, the last product in its portfolio to come under a nationwide initiative.
The company, a subsidiary of Cadbury Schweppes, first promised to stop advertising most of its products to children in July 2007, as part of the Better Business Bureau's (BBB) Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative.
At that time, Cadbury Adams said it would perhaps decide to direct 50 per cent of its advertising for Bubblicious gum to a better-for-you product - such as a sugar-free version - instead of stopping promotion altogether.
However, a spokesperson told ConfectioneryNews.com that the company has now made the "responsible decision" in stopping all promotion to children in the US and Canada, despite the fact that the product is "generally low in calories and fat."
"This is a good move for Cadbury Adams both ethically and financially," she said. "The impetus will now be on focusing on other age brackets such as the 18 - 24 group."
The spokesperson also claimed that Cadbury Adams is taking measures beyond its parent company, as the pledge covers all advertising to consumers under 12 through the mediums of television, print, video games, the internet and radio.
In the UK, however, Cadbury Schweppes only promises not to advertise where children under the age of eight are likely to be the majority of the audience, she said.
In the EU, Cadbury has a policy of not advertising to children under eight, but also promises to "exercise special care" with consumers under the age of 12.
In its marketing code, the company says: "We will always take into account the level of knowledge, sophistication and maturity of the people we are advertising to. Younger children have a limited capacity for evaluating the credibility of information they receive. They also may lack the ability to understand the nature of the personal information they disclose on the internet."
In December last year, the company also signed an EU-wide pledge to reduce the number of adverts for 'junk' food - products high in fat, sugar and salt - along with companies such as Coca-Cola, Danone, Ferrero, General Mills and Kraft.
The companies signed up after the EU health and consumer affairs commissioner Markos Kyprianou warned the food industry in 2005 that they must restrict this kind of advertising or face legislation.
Better Business Bureau
In its latest initiative, US-based Cadbury Adams will be independently audited by the BBB, a non-profit organisation established in 1912 to uphold fair business behaviour.
Cadbury Adams therefore joins the likes of confectionery firms Hershey and Mars, and beverage giant PepsiCo, all of whom have promised to cease all advertising to children under 12.
"Cadbury Adams' decision to stop advertising Bubblicious to kids under 12, and its long-standing policy under its Marketing Code of Practice to not advertise any of its products to children under the age of eight, shows its commitment to the health and welfare of children and self-regulation," said director of the initiative Elaine Kolish in a statement.