Ferrero UK has come under criticism from the UK’s Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) for targeting high fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) products at children.
The company’s websites (kinder.co.uk, kindernauts.co.uk and magic.kinder), an app and a YouTube channel promoting Kinder chocolate and toys have been banned in the UK after the ASA rapped the company following a complaint from the Children’s Food Campaign (CFC).
Ferrero UK responded by stating it was policy to direct all Kinder-related advertising and marketing communications at adults. The brand’s main website, for instance, featured an age gate that required visitors to be over 12 years old or have the permission of a parent.
A Ferrero Spokesperson said: “Ferrero has been working with the ASA in the UK on this issue to understand the concerns raised. Ferrero is committed to acting responsibly, which is why we aim all advertising and marketing communications for our products at adults not children. We firmly believe in parental choice and the role that parents play in choosing what is suitable for their own children.
“Magic Kinder was designed by a team of experts as a fun and educational app for families to use together. We have clear guidelines in place that ensure that there are no food products visible or referred to throughout the app.
But the ASA sided with CFC and ruled Ferrero had violated rules against advertising HFSS products to children in all instances except that of kinder.co.uk. The offending content must not appear again in the form complained about, said the watchdog. It instructed Ferrero to “ensure that HFSS product ads were not directed at children through the selection of media or the context in which they appeared”.
Ferrero’s spokesperson said: “As a consequence of the ruling, Ferrero regrets that it has had to make the decision to temporarily suspend the app in the UK. We believe this highlights the need for further guidance and consultation on marketing across the UK industry.
“Ferrero can confirm the decision to suspend the app only applies to the UK and does not affect any other countries.”
The Kindernauts website is also offline at the time of writing this article.