Fast food companies have come under fire in Britain for targeting children on their web sites.
That might seem like nothing new, but rules set by the Advertising Standards Authority don’t allow online and offline advertising of fast food to children. However, magazine New Media Age has said that fast food and candy brands are using videos, cartoons and games on their sites to entice kids.
They identified brands such as McDonald’s, Hubba Bubba, Kinder and Haribo as culprits finding a loophole in the rules and exploiting it.
“The brands might be sticking to the letter of the law but they’re clearly in breach of the spirit of the latest Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) code,” said Nic Howell, deputyeditor of New Media Age. The companies deny the accusation. McDonald’s spokesperson said, “We clearly state on our website that under-16s should seek permission from anadult before entering the Kids Zone. However, the focus of each of the games is on fun play rather than the menu choices we offer.” Although there have been calls for the AdvertisingStandards Authority to close the loophole that lets the companies draw in kids with entertainment on their sites, but the ASA has said it wants the industry to police itself on the issue.