Statement of Elaine Kolish, VP and Director, BBB’s Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) on the report on candy advertising published in the journal Appetite (Sept. 2015)

September 10, 2015

CFBAI is pleased, but not surprised, that the authors of the study found that CFBAI’s members are keeping their commitments. Our six candy company participants voluntarily have pledged to not advertise their confections directly to children in child-directed media, such as Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. They and our other participants, who pledge to advertise to children only foods that meet strong nutrition criteria, have kept that commitment every year, not just in 2011 (the year the authors reported on).

It also comes as no surprise that children (and teens who are folded into this mix in this report) see ads for candy on other programming or networks, such as ABC Family, Adult Swim or MTV, that are aimed at teens or people aged 18-34. We recognize that children don’t necessarily watch just children’s networks. But, even on shows that are reportedly popular with children on non-children’s networks, their share of the audience is typically quite small. It was never CFBAI’s intent to affect advertising in programming aimed at teens or adults.

Looking at techniques such as animation or subjective factors, such as whether the ad includes fun/hip messaging, is a not a reliable way to determine that an ad is child-directed on such programming. Teens and even adults also find such techniques or messaging appealing and they are commonly used in ads for insurance and other prosaic products. CFBAI’s focus always has been on improving the children’s advertising landscape, and we’ve succeeded in doing that.