An online promotion campaign by lollipop brand Chupa Chups has been found not to be in breach of regulations targeting to children high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
A complaint to the ASA against Perfetti Van Melle UK Ltd, the manufacturer of Chupa Chups, was made by The Children’s Food Campaign (Sustain) alleging the ‘ads were for a product that was high in fat, salt or sugar, that were appropriately targeted; through their content ‘directly at pre-school or primary school children and included licensed characters or celebrities popular with children’.
In the ASA assessment, it said the complaint was not upheld because ‘the CAP Code required that HFSS product ads must not be directed at people under 16 years of age 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.'
CAP Advertising Guidance titled “Identifying brand advertising that has the effect of promoting an HFSS product” laid out that the promotion of HFSS products might occur both directly (where an ad featured an HFSS product), and indirectly through the use of branding that was synonymous with a specific HFSS product; that could be through product related branding or company or corporate branding more broadly, said the ASA.
The ads were distributed across Chupa Chups’ website, Facebook and YouTube channels.
The ASA said the page called “Promotions” featured three videos. One video titled “Lick Lick” was a parody of a pop song featuring vloggers Luke Cutforth and Noodlerella. Another video featured a cover of the song “Candy” by singer-songwriter Dodie. The accompanying text stated “Chupa Chups sponsors Dodie’s debut tour! … We are proud to sponsor Dodie’s debut tour and have given her and her fans over 4,000 lollipops! She made a great video in which she creatively used the lollipop in her work. Check it out below!”
It found that the website required visitors to enter their age on their first visit. Text stated “Are you 13 years or over?” Two boxes underneath allowed visitors to enter ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Clicking ‘yes’ allowed the user to proceed into the website. If the user clicked ‘no’, they were then asked “Do you have permission to visit www.chupachups.co.uk?” with a box underneath which said “Yes”. Clicking “Yes” allowed the user to proceed into the website.
A video on Emma Blackery’s YouTube channel featuring Noodlerella was published on November 4 2017. ‘The video included them reading out facts about the Chupa Chups brand whilst doing impressions, and featured sugar free Chupa Chups,’ said the ASA
Perfetti Van Melle said that they had run an influencer campaign, which included the videos in ads to advertise their Chupa Chups Sugar Free products, which were not HFSS products. In reference to ad (e) [YouTube video], they said that sugar-free messaging was evident throughout the dialogue between the two influencers including phrases like “Sugar free lollipops are kinder to your teeth”.
The company said they provided the overall audience demographic data for the YouTube channels of the four influencers who appeared in the videos ads. The data provided showed that all four influencers were viewed most overall by viewers aged 18 to 24 and 25 to 34.
Emma Blackery, who responded in relation to the YouTube ad, said that the only Chupa Chups products featured in the video were the Chupa Chups Sugar Free products. She provided information to show that only a small percentage of her following was aged under 18.