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July 2007 Bulletin: Strengthening the Framework for Regulating Children's Advertising

The advertising industry is committed to helping children learn to make wise nutrition and healthy living choices. In keeping with this commitment, the framework for regulating children’s advertising is being strengthened and enhanced.

Effective September 2007

  1. New Interpretation Guidelines related to food advertising to children will augment Clause 11 of The Broadcast Code for Advertising to Children (Children’s Broadcast Code).
  2. ASC Clearance Services will extend clearance of children’s advertising on a voluntary basis to encompass all media, including Canadian print and Internet sites.
  3. New Interpretation Guidelines for advertising to children will augment Clause 12 of the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards (Canadian Code), and will provide the criteria for review and clearance of children’s advertising in non-broadcast media.

2008 and Beyond

  1. The Canadian Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, a voluntary commitment by 15 leading food advertisers, will launch in early 2008.

About the new framework:

  1. New Interpretation Guidelines related to food advertising to children will augment Clause 11 of The Broadcast Code for Advertising to Children (Children’s Broadcast Code).
    Currently, all children’s broadcast advertising must be reviewed and approved by ASC’s Children’s Clearance Committee under the provisions of the Children’s Broadcast Code before it can be broadcast. Each approved commercial is assigned an approval number, valid for one year. Beginning September 1, the Committee will use the new Interpretation Guidelines as additional criteria to evaluate each commercial submitted for review, as well as for renewals of previously approved commercials.
    1. ASC has created a checklist to help advertisers develop commercials that comply with the new Interpretation Guidelines to the Children’s Broadcast Code. Click here to access the checklist.
    2. For full details about Children’s Broadcast Advertising Clearance, including submission procedures and fee schedule, click here.
    3. Food commercials directed to children also must comply with the pertinent Canadian food regulations and should receive a separate clearance number, available from ASC Clearance Services. For details about Food Advertising Clearance, including submission procedures and fee schedule, click here.

  2. ASC Clearance Services will extend clearance of children’s advertising on a voluntary basis to encompass all media, including Canadian print and Internet sites.
    At the request of industry, effective September 1, ASC Clearance Services will expand its clearance complement to include review of children’s advertising in non-broadcast media, in addition to broadcast media. While not required, this voluntary review mechanism will help advertisers ensure that child-directed advertising in non-broadcast media (both food and non-food) complies with the provisions of the Interpretation Guidelines to Clause 12 of the Canadian Code. This clearance service will be provided by ASC analysts on a fee basis and will include, but not be limited to, children’s advertising appearing in magazines and on the Internet.
    For details about this new Children’s Non-broadcast Advertising Clearance service click here.
    Beginning in January 2008, upon request of the participating companies, ASC will also review advertisements to evaluate compliance with the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (see #4 below).

  3. New Interpretation Guidelines for advertising to children will augment Clause 12 of the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards (Canadian Code), and will provide the criteria for review and clearance of children’s advertising in non-broadcast media.
    New Interpretation Guidelines have been developed to augment Clause 12 of the Canadian Code and will take effect on September 1, 2007. These Interpretation Guidelines will provide the criteria for the review of children’s advertising in non-broadcast media (see #2 above).
    These Interpretation Guidelines were developed to help ensure that advertising to children in all media encourages responsible product use and that the amount of food shown being consumed in an advertisement does not exceed an appropriate single serving size.
    In addition, these Interpretation Guidelines will be used by ASC’s independent National and Regional Consumer Response Councils to adjudicate complaints from consumers about advertising to children in all media which allegedly contravenes any provision of the Canadian Code and/or the Children’s Code.
    ASC has created a checklist to help advertisers develop commercials that comply with the new Interpretation Guidelines. Click here to access the checklist.

  4. The Canadian Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, a voluntary commitment by 15 leading food advertisers, will launch in early 2008.
    The food and beverage industry plays a significant role in supporting the health of Canadians, especially children. Under the new Canadian Children’s Food & Beverage Advertising Initiative, 15 leading Canadian food and beverage companies will devote at least 50 per cent of their ads directed to children under 12 toward the promotion of healthy dietary choices and/or healthy active living messages. To ensure transparency and accountability, ASC has been asked to administer the process. ASC will publish the commitments made by the participating companies, audit their compliance and publicly report on the results on an annual basis. To learn more about this initiative click here.